From time to time the blogosphere has the ability to restore one’s faith in the capacity of social media to provide contributions of immense value. One such contribution can be found on Cranmer’s website today, written by Rev’d Dr Peter Mullen.
It is a piece that speaks truth to sentimental delusion.
This blog rarely ventures onto the subject of the NHS. My personal experience of the health service’s impacts on my family and friends is far more negative than positive and as Rev Mullen points out in his piece, the NHS has the same status in Britain as that of a cow among Hindu devotees.
The NHS cannot be criticised in any way without a legion of those devotees hurling bile filled invective at the person offering the criticism. Never mind that among other failings, the poor and declining standard of care in the NHS resulted in the death of my mother, came within a whisker of ending the life of my wife moments after she gave birth to our precious son, and made the final days of her step-father’s life undignified and needlessly painful.
I have done battle with the Nursing Directors, Consultants and Managers, each of whom attempted to defend clear failings to the point of saying black was white, all because their primary concern was worry about a possible legal case for compensation, rather than a desire to correct the problems at source. As I found, when all else fails and their argument has been comprehensively destroyed, the next things to be destroyed are the incriminating medical notes and ability to recall conversations held in front of witnesses. All that could remain is blind faith in the NHS, which is why Rev’d Mullen’s description of the service as the National Health Church is so apt.
The NHS is not fit for purpose. It is a bureaucratic behemoth, violently resistant to change, and imbued with and unwarranted self belief that is fuelled by those cheerleaders inside and outside it – many of whom have political motives for supporting what has been little more than a charnel house for tens of thousands of people in recent years, whose conditions would not and should not have resulted in death or long term suffering.
The people and businesses of this country are forking over £95.6 billion pounds of our money this year to fund the NHS in England – an organisation that has an unjustified sense of entitlement and expectation. Entitlement to operate in its own interests rather than that of patients and expectation that people should not criticise it, because it comprises, as Rev’d Mullen so incisively observes, those who are described as ‘angels…wonderful…caring…tireless…salt of the earth’.
There are still NHS staff who don’t feel the job of providing care and comfort and affording dignity to patients is beneath them. There are still doctors and consultants who recognise their job role is trying to heal patients by treating them for their ailments, rather than constructing departmental fiefdoms and playing politics. There are even managers who add value to the NHS by trying to administer the hospital effectively so patients get the care they need and the taxpayer gets value for money. But there are too few of each of them in the ‘modern NHS’.
There are better options for the use of our money to achieve the better medical outcomes. But all the while the political class, media and National Health Church faithful continue to prop up this broken socialised construct, we will all be stuck with it or be forced to pay more of our money to go private in order to get the standards of care and treatment the NHS is supposed to provide but all too often fails to deliver – with far too many casualties paying the ultimate price in this pseudo-religious war.