NHS Crisis – what is the solution?

I’ve posted before that the NHS crisis is not due to lack of investment, a false message propagated by some, including the local Lib Dems.

See details here of the ‘fake news’ and how NHS investment has increased by more than twice as much as the alleged ‘lies’ on the Vote Leave Bus since 2016.

The current crisis is the result of multiple problems, all of which have crept up on us over a period of years, but been pushed over the edge by COVID, inflation largely driven by Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, and the underlying trends of people living longer and more expensive interventions becoming available.

At an event in Westminster in the summer about what we needed from the next Prime Minister, it was refreshing to hear Charles Moore, ex-editor of The Daily Telegraph, discussing what he described as ‘kitchen-sinking’, the thinking through of issues, that is a trait of good leaders who can link ideas to form a coherent story about the issues we face and what we are going through.

He specifically called out how politicians were unwilling to publicly confront how bad NHS is/public services are, which reminded him of the 1960s-70s when politicians were aware but unwilling to discuss how bad the Union problem was, something that Margaret Thatcher was willing to confront.

Michael Gove, who shared the platform, also pointed out that some of the core functions that the state should perform were not working well.

Recently the politician who has been leading this conversation seems to have been Wes Streeting, who gave a keynote speech to Policy Exchange before Christmas. I had an invitation but had food poisoning so didn’t make it.

New Years Day 2023 The Sunday Times had a good article about key ares for reform. One of these is the increased shift of using Pharmacists as the first port of call rather than GPs.

When you think about this it makes sense as Pharmacists are very highly trained but only use a fraction of their skills in a typical high street chemists, and there is a chronic shortage of GPs.

Dr Ferrars, the lead GP at Bartlett Group Practice at Frimley Green Medical Centre, has told me that when they last placed an advert for a GP, they got zero responses; compared with 30+ in the past.

There’s a long way to go, but if Government can ‘kitchen sink’ the issues, identify the root causes, and address them we can be optimistic there is a way out of the current crisis.

Here’s The Sunday Times article:

Stuart Black, January 2023.