Thursday, 28 July 2011

NHS - The engine's idling but the meter is still running

There’s a great scene in ‘Bridget Jones – The edge of reason’ where Bridget is en route to declare her undying love for the gorgeous Mr D’Arcy. A taxi is stationery outside her apartment, engine ticking over, meter running as our heroine tries out various outfits for her big moment.

It’s a dilemma many of my female readers can identify with – the ‘wardrobe on the bed’ syndrome where everything you plan on wearing just doesn’t seem right and the panic rises as the clock ticks.

It’s a pretty far stretch to liken Andrew Lansley, UK Secretary of State for Health, to Renee Zelwegger, but where the NHS is concerned, the dilemma bears some similarities.

The Health Service Journal ( this week divulged that the cost of Lansley’s reforms to the NHS are already ‘near a quarter of a billion’. The bill includes redundancies, payments to GPs for commissioning work and attendance fees for transition meetings. That’s £250 million to keep the engine running while we go nowhere.

Murdoch-watching as ‘Hackgate’ continues to unfold, the tragedy in Norway, and other headline-grabbing events do not detract from the fact that there is a major news story that will have a huge impact on the UK still unresolved.

Two of my contacts in the NHS independently used the word ‘stagnation’ to describe where they are in their particular roles. Others - clinicians and administrators alike, have mentioned frantic activity with no discernable goal or defined outcome. The meter continues to run, the bills mount up and we still have no clear vision of how the NHS is actually going to work. Or how the planned restructure will deliver higher quality care at lower cost. The only theme that appears to be constant is ‘cuts’.

A friend of mine attended a skin clinic to have a cancerous growth removed the other day to be told the minor op couldn’t take place because, according to the consultant ‘we are pretty thin on the ground’.

If only it were as simple as choosing an outfit for a big date. At least Bridget got her happy ending.


Post a Comment