I will describe the manufactured changes in the service, note fragments of the chaos, the public mind and how we might turn the tide. There will be plenty of time for questions and for contributions from you. You know that OUR NHS is in the ICU and that many want it dead.
My background helps
Qualified 1964 St Mary's. Came to the old RD&E, just down Southernhay, in 1969. After 11 years of training I became a Consultant Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgeon at Torbay and the very good Princess Elizabeth Orthopaedic Hospital which the politicians bulldozed.
I have seen frequent and mostly harmful convulsions in the service arising from political dogma. Remind me to speak of a solution I have seen for 20 years. I have almost always spoken up; sadly that sets me apart from a large majority of doctors.
1988 was a good example. That most vicious leaderene was pushing for the 'Internal Market', a hospital dog eats hospital dog. Professor Enthoven, formerly of the Rand Corporation, had been flown over. I briefed myself and could see harm in at least 3 directions, but especially the cost of a swollen bureaucracy. All Torbay consultants turned up for a presentation by the unpleasant Regional General Manager, Ms Kathreen Hawkins. I stood and said – 'with the cost of administration now being 5%, is it not likely that it will double with these plans?'. '7% at the most'. I stood again and was told to SIT DOWN' by the surgeon chairman. That still hurts. No support from my fellows. The Internal Market, which was opposed by the BMA and colleges was rammed through. £1.3+ billion of administration costs were added to a budget of £30 billion – 5% to at least 10% in the first year. I was alone amongst the consultant staff at Torbay in fighting it. That set the pattern – of being alone in this most vital of things.
>Talks. Videos. Interviews. Letters to the press and damned MPs. And no slackening.
My summary for about 10 years has been destabilise>demoralise>dismantle and now >distribute that which the taxpayer has accumulated. Every tactic has been used to bring the NHS to its knees, especially complexity, constant change, bed closures, PFIs, massive compensation sums, and battalions of 'inserts' to harass the professionals. No constancy. Fear instilled – so silence; professional views go unsaid.
Staff member Torbay – could not imagine morale sinking lower + non-medical staff now outnumber the professionals. I attended a Board Meeting and Governor's Meeting to take the pulse 2 years ago. 250 pages of minutes.
'They have made their minds up'. - Asinine resignation
'They will never destroy the NHS. 3 generations of us have been borne by NHS midwives'. - Dull naivety.
'The NHS is wonderful' – but I will do little or nothing to preserve it. Sentiment alone.
Many have been soaked in consumerism. Blair's CHOICE. They do not know how it arose from the post-war consensus or deeply respect its spirit. Many have NHS funded operations in private hospitals. Impressed by the ash veneer, the NHS is blurred and reduced – as planned. 'Not too worried if it goes down'.
And at dinner parties and Tory Associations 'We can no longer afford the NHS.' But we can afford two attack weapons, Elizabeth and Charles plus the ridiculous HS2. And they stand with glistered chains at memorials for workers slain.
Philosophy and Politics
The text of 4 slides from the talk I have given – on Youtube - <youtube Halpin NHS>
And if we let OUR NHS die throughlack of will and through lying supine in the face of wicked changes, we betray the vision and sacrifice of that WW2 generation.
At rock bottom, it is 'love thy neighbour'.
“ROLL BACK THE STATE”
Belief in capital only
“The profit motive was the onlydriver of individual energy and ingenuity.”
Private good, public bad.
Dogma again - massive sale of state monopolies – gas – 'Don't tell Sid', electricity, water, trains etc. The family silver as Harold MacMillan called it.
Look to the MOTIVATION of POLITICIANS
“The NHS is vitally important to every family in this country. It certainly is to my family. For me, it’s not a question of saying the NHS is safe in my hands. Tony Blair once explained his priority in three words: education, education, education. I can do it in three letters. NHS.”
No mention of a Health Bill. Promised 'No top down reorganisation.'
We have quickly had the bill, and the reorganisation +++
This is an elemental struggle between rabid capital and the common good, where the fit care for the sick. Many would rejoice in seeing this socialist success story dismantled as Lansley and his predecessors have planned.
Some people are complacent because the NHS has always been there for them. They believe that if it was to lie pulseless a fairy god mother would bring it back to life. If it is destroyed, it will never be restored to life. NEVER. NEVER NEVER EVER
This is a fight for the life of the NHS
Are we winning? What of our weapons? The majority is confused and put off. They did not know what CCG stood for, and even less STP and now ACO. Marches in red will not sway them, now pleas to vicious reactionaries in County Hall. I note the good film on Care at Home from SOHS has so far had only 2000 views – apparently. However, demonstrations should be used to point people to the facts. These need to be posted and spoken of in every ward and parish.I recall Tony Benn saying that people no longer speak in village halls and community centres. He was right. Now is the time.
Facts like this –
ACOs WILL lead to a privatised health care and NO NHS. Bigger dictatorial bureaucracies
In 2013 67% of all bankruptcies in the US were down to medical bills. And some of those insured to a level. Some lost their houses. That will happen in the UK with big mortgage debts and 70% without assets
Average cost of NORMAL childbirth in the US about $12,000. Caesar – think of a number
'They' have been to and fro the US. They are going for its dogs breakfast. It costs twice ours and it is way down the rankings for efficiency and 'access'.