"We need to train more doctors" screamed the Times headline yesterday as an exercise in stating the bleeding obvious.
Amanda Pritchard, the chief executive of NHS England, said more medical school places were needed to stop "excellent" British candidates failing to get a place and choosing an alternative career.
She then says she wants to stop spending £3bn annually on agency staff and their use should be an exception rather than the rule. It is a number being exacerbated by the rates the NHS are prepared to pay nursing agencies for staff who have, most likely, left the NHS and find they can earn a higher rate of pay working for an agency doing their old job at times to suit themselves. Apart from the loss of the gold-plated pension, what’s not to like?
Imagine even half of that figure being saved and used to provide opportunities for more young students to achieve their desired. Meanwhile, families keep seeing loved ones dying on trollies before even getting a bed. Current estimates suggest that between 40 and 60 lives are lost every week as a direct result of the crisis within the NHS.
How many more must die before the politicians that are failing the citizens of this country look to more successful hybrid healthcare such as used in Holland, Belgium and Germany? This party argues that health should be under the control of healthcare professionals, not politicians, many of whom have never had a job in the real world.
Systems abroad see private clinics thrive, covering specific areas of healthcare, rather than relying on “super hospitals” which can often be a good distance away. Private insurance would be offset by a significant drop in National Insurance paid and the government would provide insurance for those in society unable to afford their own.
It leaves medical institutions free to compete for business, knowing that they have to provide the best in care and affordability. Most of all, it means that the health of the nation can no longer be used as a political football for the two major parties to squabble over while people are dying.
Martin Day – Party Secretary