Health: Why city patients should be listened to before committing to change

There are plenty of reasons to be proud of our local NHS – as well as plenty of good suggestions for improvement. But now it is in trouble.
Our NHS is caught between austerity budgeting and hostile ideology. The Coalition and Conservative governments since 2010 have squeezed the NHS between a hugely complex, expensive and ongoing reorganisation intended to put healthcare on a more commercial footing and continued reductions to healthcare spending while pretending to ringfence it.

Nobody denies the need to reduce waste of increasingly scarce resources. The NHS, like all large organisations, definitely has its share of waste. But when cost reductions are combined with a continuing rise in public expectations, the pressure increasingly lands on frontline staff whose levels of stress manifest in high levels of sick leave and increasing numbers who quit. So-called efficiency savings become counterproductive when they create new inefficiencies and costs, while service quality and availability are put at risk. For the first time, the NHS Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group, which holds the main budget for the city, has to find £30 million savings this year.