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NHS Targets

First of all I would like to say there are many great people who work tirelessly within the NHS; without much reward or thanks. The people who I have met within the health service; who practice ‘skill mixing’ ;and do many jobs within their health trust without extra pay and thanks; I salute you; without these remarkable people, the NHS institution would not exist. The NHS is the envy of the modern western world; and therefore should be cherished; alas it looks as if Westminster ‘flyby night’ reforms are seriously damaging the UK publics’ health. The introduction of all target schemes within a health-care system; is heart-breaking and sole destroying, for both care-workers and patients. Funding is determined by these target measures; forget patient care and caring ethics. I’ve seen how these ideologies have taken hold of 21st century society; you don’t have to look very far into the psyche of Westminster’s think-tank to see where they get these ideas. – Yea, it’s UK’s interactive game-shows; except it’s a post-code lottery instead. By having these implemented health-care targets, determines whether you live or die. Sounds harsh, but that is how it is. Why do we have this target method? Well, it is correct to claim that the individual target system makes Westminster completely blameless.

The government also believes in ‘skill mixing’. For a couple of years now health-care trusts have implementing this scheme and there has been some successes, but the government also has been incredibly devious to, making a mockery out of the hospital worker’s contractual terms and also pay. By having hospital workers doing other types of work apart from what they specialise in, means they are doing two/three jobs extra each. Whereby this saves money overall, the quality of professionalism suffers; such as patient care. In one hand these caring individuals mean-well but are in many ways letting the government ‘off the hook’. The same individuals get themselves into situations whereby they become professionally inept rather than being of any help. What I also found was that many unskilled workers have been sent to local hospitals for employment experience; all of these individuals are unpaid, on benefits, and working long shifts, yet still trusts are paying out huge amounts of money on an

This double standard mismanagement is typical of the NHS today.It’s nearly 2008 and the NHS is still getting re-vamped. I do believe it is possible for a great functional NHS, the possibilities in the NHS is endless; yet still basic fundamental problems such as work ethics in a caring profession is being ignored. One of the problem lies is governmental ‘Cabinet swapping’ ; health ministers have come and gone in recent years without actually doing anything of purpose; sounds familiar doesn’t it with many cabinet posts The difference is of course is that the NHS affects real lives every second. The statistics are getting confused with targets with many briefings across the UK. Health management teams are being governed by Westminster; when Westminster is questioned they ‘pass the buck’ to all the health management teams. All this has been highlighted by the media for over 14 months now, and this review is not going to re-iterate it again at great length; but I was astonished that C Diff infections is a target that is set by health ministers and their back-room staff who know zilch about super-bug infections. Instead of it being a big fat ‘0 cases’ (like it should be without questions asked). The government actually allows a double digit figure as a nominal target for NHS hospitals. The Health minister collaborates with the Health management teams in setting a C Diff target that is the number allowed in hospitals per year. This in my view is totally immoral. How can anyone decide an allowable rate of C Diff or super-bug infections? There has to be a zero tolerance within any health-care trust. How can these ministers sleep at night? It goes completely against Florence Nightingales’ hospital ‘caring’ work ethics. This proves to me that setting targets is a ‘get out of jail card’ for the present government.

The back-bone to this review started about two months ago, I witnessed a short health-care report from a health management head in Kent; claiming that funding had been limited within their NHS trust due to missing their target of ’12’ cases of super-bug infection; apparently he claimed it being ’13’ instead. This was on prime time television. – Personally, having lost 2 grandparents in June 2000 and Jan 2001; due to C Diff – super-bug infections (when it was running strive amongst the weak and elderly) and when at the time hospitals kept information away from immediate relatives, it has proven that nothing has changed over ‘7’ years of supposedly ‘unrelenting’ health-care reforms. The media report in my view was a back-handed slap in the face for the victim’s families. What astounds me is that with my 2 grandparent cases; both of them had very different health-care requirements, yet both passed away with very similar causes of death; alarm bells start to ring. Infections that do not clear up; and that drain away life from its victim; making them too weak to have urgent operations caused by the ever present health-trusts super-bugs.

My Nan suffered with a chronic bladder infection that did not clear up. She had it for months; making her so weak her poor body couldn’t with-stand the infection any-more. The super-bug strain she had was lethal. My granddad whose brain was 100% active right till a couple of days of his passing, purposefully wanted to talk to my Mother about something important, but was too weak to do so, by which time the super-bug had engulfed his system and filled his lungs up with liquid, making every breathe a huge effort. He had no chance. Again, doctors claimed he was too weak to operate on him. At the time, nervous doctors were afraid to relate information that could put blame to themselves or the care centre; even though they were to blame; and knew they were to blame. Actual credible information was sketchy. Consultants didn’t look you in the eye when relaying information to you about your loved one. You grasped every word they said, digest it the best you can, then try to make sense of it all; harder still it then has to be related to your family waiting patiently. We all had to make sense of it all, to except it; and except the personal losses. What was impossible is to start any compensation claims of mal-treatment; not only is it incredibly emotionally draining but most of the facts on both files did not make sense. My grandparents trusted doctors and the health system, they did not complain at anytime, even when they were in desperate pain. It is the same for many unfortunate families in the UK.

Of course, it must be said that there are many dedicated and caring people in the health profession, whom Nightingale would have been proud of; but through the meddling of government reform systems and poor insight the whole ‘nightingale ethic’ has been put to rest. In 1860 Nightingale wrote that ‘the greater part of nursing consists in preserving cleanliness’. Yet after more than 140 years on, with all the advancements in technology and medicine, we in the UK still forget the basics of simply ‘washing hands’. It is outrageous that patients should be subjected to more worse conditions than soldiers did in the Crimean War. What’s happened in our health-care surely has reflected to a much wider social breakdown. It looks as if the fittest prosper mightily while the old and weak are tossed aside without a care or a thought. The elderly should be rewarded and treasured in society. They have contributed the most within a deluded UK tax system. Many elders are too proud to ask for help, but most would take help if it was presented to them with dignity and with thanks for all of their contributions through-out their working years.

Wake-up and smell the coffee Westminster. The NHS is failing; yet the Labour Party sees the letters NHS as a ultimate symbol of its own superior social consciousness. Reports in the media show that there is a big lack of care within the service. Now it appears UK doctors have to re-apply for their own jobs – Why can’t they just get on with doing their job? – UK’s bureaucratic system has gone totally bananas. Everyone is pulling in different ways. Lives are being lost due to this everyday- more of the diligent caring individuals are leaving the profession.

I could not do anything to help my wonderful grandparents – I feel saddened that they are now seen as just statistics from years gone by. One thing that doesn’t become a governmental statistic, are the great memories I have of both of them; strong, vibrant, happy visions. My grandad’s immaculate polished shoes and strong steadfast attitude and not forgetting his amazing mashed potato and my Nan’s energy and fantastic zest for life that enriched everyone’s life who knew her. These were only two people, just two people; the best two people you could ever meet. Now that is something to think about when you are in your high-powered Westminster suites, slurping your coffee deciding on the yearly super-bug or C Diff health-care target.

It is completely true that the NHS has lost its’ moral compass along with its heart and soul – taken away by the Westminster men in pin-striped suites and left in its place a cold corporate target sheet.