A few nights ago I met a man who was working for a charity which provides care for people with brain injuries. Before this, he worked for the NHS in an administrative role, and we got talking about the current state of the NHS.
Like almost everyone else I’ve spoken to who works or has worked for the NHS, his conclusion is that the NHS is in a fatal predicament. I asked him to explain what he meant and was expecting the usual (and often understandable) rant about Tory spending cuts and privatisation leading to trusts being unable to meet the demands of an ageing population.
I was surprised, however, as what was said to me did not follow these usual lines and instead put the blame on a long tradition of mismanagement in the NHS. I heard about consultants paying themselves £1000 per day (and claiming their parking on expenses to top it off) for a year or two before they headed elsewhere having milked the taxpayer cash-cow for all it was worth, making way for the next, equally expensive, consultant to take their turn on the teet.
I asked this liberal Brightonian if he thought that an extra £30 billion per year would keep the NHS afloat. He thought about it for a second, before telling me that it would merely delay the inevitable unless drastic changes were made to the management processes of the NHS. He worked at two different London trusts and told me he saw no difference between them in their wasteful spending habits. We solemnly agreed that we are in the final years of the National Health Service.
If you’re reading this, and think my friend has it wrong or would like to add something, please don’t hesitate to send me your thoughts. I’d really like to get this debate going!