The NHS is the largest public sector employer in Europe. With over 149,000 doctors working within it the level of specialism and expertise that it holds would seemingly make it invincible, but has it reached breaking point?
Crisis emerged as the government released plans for the future to cut spending on the health service. In the last few months, hospitals have been crying out for help, with almost half of them sending out a warning that they were unable to provide an adequate number of beds in response to public need over winter. As we hear more updates and stories on the news, it seems as if the Westminster won’t budge and refuse to address the serious underfunding within the health service.
As blockages in the number of beds continue to punish the sick and older people, statistics tell us that 13,882 beds have been cut since 2010. Service provided within the NHS currently might leave much to be desired, but how much can we blame the staff? As pressure within the service increases, there is growing concern that training and qualification periods for nurses are not being observed fully, and as such there are undertrained staff members being expected to undertake responsibilities that they are not prepared for. This leaves us managing longer term issues such as misdiagnoses and, in some cases, even unnecessary deaths.
There has been overall a cut of £150 million in funding to the health service, and the implications of this cannot be understated. It is easy to blame everything on the government, but should we ask the service itself…where is all the money going? One could argue that the health service itself could be partially to blame because of the inability to spend its money efficiently. Maybe we need to think not just about the government, but the health service and review their commissioning and spending pattern. It may seem controversial to put forward an argument like this, but where has the £117billion gone that was spent within the service last year? So many questions yet to be pondered.
This article is, in my opinion, simply a reflection of the two sides of the debate surrounding saving our NHS.