Category: NHS


Jeremy Hunt’s #NHS. The end of the beginning?


There is a very good reason why heads of very large organisations command such obscenely huge salaries. They tend to be highly qualified and extremely experienced individuals whose grasp of both finance and organisational dynamics is truly mind-blowing. In addition, there are comparatively few of them….and although we may or may not agree with their vast incomes, they do have responsibility not only to shareholders but for the futures of thousands of employees.

Therefore, it is astounding as well is wrong on so many levels, that a ‘here today gone tomorrow’ politician who commands a salary of about £135,000 is given the responsibility of running an organisation as vast and complex as the National Health Service. If that individual’s qualifications and experience are no more than having been a teacher of English as a foreign language, with a couple of years in public relations, preceded by a Cambridge degree in politics, then the appointment is not only troubling but potentially destructive.

The fact that Jeremy Hunt was a contemporary of David Cameron’s at Cambridge compounds the problem because it is extremely difficult to rid oneself of family or friends that one has hired to do a job which is incontrovertibly so utterly above their competence level.

Being briefed by advisers and devouring the contents of ministerial red boxes is no substitute for the hard slog of a ‘big company’ career.

Secretary of State Hunt is clearly demonstrating his boundless ineptitude by his total inability to deal with the NHS junior doctors. If he does not manage some sort of settlement with them very soon, permanent damage will be done to the NHS.

It is now being suggested that the junior doctors’ strike is a manifestation of them trying to bring down the government! Whether that is true or not, doesn’t matter because the doctors have a great deal of support , whatever their motivation. However, I would tend to believe that they are looking for no more than fairness and understanding from an increasingly confused Secretary of State and unbending dogma-fired Tory High Command.

There is a solution to the problem….. and it is a solution with only one opening move.

The hapless Hunt, who has now completed the journey from promising politician to Cockney rhyming slang, should be asked to participate in an exit interview as soon as possible.

The #NHS Job Creation Scheme.


Very soon, the UK’s National Health Service will collapse under the burden of an impossible workload coupled to chronic government underfunding.

Unfortunately the Conservative mantra of “We have invested far more in the NHS than the last Labour government…..blah…blah…blah…”  has become not only an absolutely meaningless slogan but a very bad joke.

Here are TWO straightforward numbers: As at 30th September 2014, there were 1,387,692 NHS employees. That figure included 701,872  clinically-trained staff. In one year, the growth of the first figure was nearly TWICE that of the lower figure.

Many years ago, I began my career in the Scientific Civil Service. There were barely 200 of us researching, with nearly 500 admin staff looking after us… nothing has really changed in at least 30 years.

The NHS has undergone far too many changes – many of them based on the amateurish whims of a procession of unqualified Ministers. Luckily, the current Secretary of State seems to be more competent than many of his predecessors, but nevertheless, he is BOUND to be allowing his judgement to be clouded by politics, dogma, ambition and the Treasury. That automatically disqualifies him from making major strategic decisions.

Those pompous medical fatcats – the Consultants…. who use the NHS as a ‘feeder’ for their private practices in order to line their own pockets, also need to be audited and controlled.

An all-embracing  Management Audit needs to be undertaken as soon as possible – with only one aim…..To take a very wide “horizontal slice” out of the organisation so that the NHS administrative burden is brought DOWN to a sustainable level.

Yes, it IS very easy to justify layers of bureaucracy within a large organisation but NOT when they are killing the patient.

NHS – the beginning of the end? It doesn’t have to be.


The issues which the NHS is currently experiencing have a  lot to do with a fundamental change in its ethos. When it was formed in 1948, its organisational foresight was totally focused on improving the health of a patient. The needs were the needs of the sick. Fast forward to 2015 and we see an amplifying obsession with expenditure and management.

The organisation no longer asks the question “How do we improve the health of a patient?” or “What are the patient’s needs?”  The fundamental 2015 question is: “What patient needs does the capital allow?”

Patient needs are no longer an absolute. They are a function of cash available. Too many NEEDS and you’re dead!

It may sound counter-intuitive but the government can only solve the current NHS issues of underpaid Junior Doctors, the shortgage of beds, overpriced drugs, GPs becoming an endangered species etc. through a massive investment programme coupled to a gradual dismantling of the management structure which is weighing down what could once again become a great British institution.

NHS problems are mirrored in what has happened to the UK’s Education system. They have both been ‘broken’ by a lack of continuity, caused by interference by successive governments, ‘management’ by incompetent dogma-fuelled Ministers with their little ‘pet’ schemes –  as well as the installation of massive administrative systems.

The reason why Private Schools and Private Healthcare are both cost-effective and thriving is NOT because they are private but because they are FREE of government interference and the sort of management and admin structures which would frighten the Indian Railway.








#NHS and the #GP Lottery

Worried or embarrassed about your GP examining you ?

About two months ago, my brother-in-law went to see his G.P about a back pain. The doctor examined him, told him that he’d strained his back and prescribed mild painkillers. He told George that his back would get better but that at his age, it might take some time.

A couple of weeks after that, George went to the doctor again. The pain was not improving and he was beginning to walk with quite a pronounced stoop. As a surveyor, there were occasions when he needed to climb ladders and he was naturally worried that his back might “give way” when he was up a ladder.

Needless to say, the G.P made the customary reassuring noises, examined George again and prescribed slightly stronger painkillers and a cream.

George began the course of painkillers and finally imagined that he was feeling some improvement.

Two weeks ago, he was climbing down a loft-ladder at home when the heavy trap door fell on his head, cutting a deep gash in his forehead. The following day, rather embarrassed, he visited his G.P again…..purely as a precaution.

The doctor examined him yet again, suggested that he finish his course of painkillers but that it might be a good idea for George to cal 111 and arrange an MRI scan…”just to be on the safe side”….. He thought that he would have the scan within two months.

Several days later, George’s family noticed that his head was permanently bent forward but said nothing….they thought that it was all part of the last few months’ back pain.

Last week George woke up in the night but found that he could not move and was feeling a tingling sensation in one arm.

His wife immediately called 999 because she was unable to move him.

In hospital, he was properly immobilised and put into a neck brace. The following day, he had X-rays and a scan.

The X-Rays and scan revealed that he has a broken neck and shadows which appear to be lymphomas around his spine. The hospital doctor asked for a biopsy.

It has now been confirmed that George has prostate cancer which has spread to his lymph glands and his bones have been weakened to the extent that they are so brittle that they are in danger of breaking with only a medium impact.

The prognosis is NOT great but it’s all still treatable……..

STILL worried about your GP examining you?

I’m only worried about THAT GP examining me and if I thought that it would do any good, I would publish his name.

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