Crisis means crisis, Theresa May – and it’s caused by underfunding and ignorance

Brexit means Brexit?

Fair enough, Mrs May. I’ll tell you something else though. Crisis means crisis.

There was widespread rebuttal from the Government when the British Red Cross described the current situation within the NHS as a ‘humanitarian crisis’.

One could debate the terminology used for hours, but the point remains that the NHS is in a deep crisis. And our political leaders won’t face up to it.

Many will brush this aside. “Every year we’re told there’s another crisis in the NHS’ they’ll say. ‘It doesn’t work anymore; the system was designed for a post-war era.”

I’d like to think we in the NHS have more of a can-do attitude, and would suggest the NHS will only fail if it is left to do so. The politics of healthcare is complex, and I am not a politician. But the problem really seems a rather straightforward one to grasp.

An ageing population brings with it more complex health needs. Many of these are best addressed in the community and not in an acute hospital bed. But most of our community beds have been closed, so as a GP there will be nowhere for me to send my frail 85 year old patient who has had a fall at home and can no longer cope.

Maybe, in Theresa May’s utopian ‘Shared Society’, she envisages these problems will just disappear. Perhaps she thinks others will shoulder the burden of a collapsing welfare state, so she can concentrate on how hard she intends to Brexit. I don’t know.

All I see, all any of us in healthcare see, are the effects of cuts in social care. Those corridors lined with trolleys are usually inhabited not by ‘blotto’ timewasters, but by the frail and increasingly elderly in our society who have reached a tipping point.

Many have complex health problems, but often they don’t need a long stay in hospital to sort out their immediate medical problems. The problem once they have been admitted (because there is a dearth of suitable community services) is that we then cannot safely discharge them home.

Full story in The Mirror 13 January 2017