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The State of the NHS: Andrew Lansley’s Bill, and Care of the Elderly

Posted on the 14 October 2011 by Periscope @periscopepost
The state of the NHS: Andrew Lansley’s bill, and care of the elderly

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley. Photocredit: NHS Confederation http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/5915249142/sizes/m/in/photostream/

The National Health Service (NHS) is in a parlous state, with many hopsitals not giving basic care to eldery patients, according to the Care Quality Commission, which identified 55 cases it saw as “alarming,” according to the BBC.  This comes at the same time as a new health and social care bill (headed by Andrew Lansley, the Health Secretary) has reached the House of Lords, which tables a reorganisation of the entire system, based on the idea that competition and private enterprise are the future.

“We saw elderly patients spoken over and not spoken to, people left without call bells and ignored for hours, people not given help to do the basics — to eat, drink and go to the toilet,” said Dame Jo Williams, chairman of the Care Quality Commission, in a piece on The Sun.

We don’t need reform. Jonathan Paige on The Guardian broke down how the new system would work. Hospitals would become foundation trusts that functioned on a payment by results system – which will been that healthcare providers will probably choose to do fast treatments for “maximum return.” The current commissioners will be replaced with “consortiums” of GPs, which could see “competitive commissioning” between them as they have “fixed geographical area.” How they’re going to make sure conflicts of interest don’t happen, with consortiums buying from providers because they have a stake in them, is “unclear.” This new system adds “layers of bureaucracy”; also GPs will probably want to prefer actually being doctors. How all this will affect “healthcare remains to be seen.”

But the NHS is barbaric. When will the government “stop wringing its hands?” asked The Daily Mail , which tore its hair out over the Care Quality Commission report into treatment of the elderly.  This is an ongoing issue, it said, but even despite “massive increases to the NHS budget” hospitals seem to be getting worse. First off, “staff who behave inhumanely” should be prosecutued.

We do need reform. With staff paying more attention to paperwork than patients, said The Daily Telegraph View, reform is needed more than ever. The NHS “seems impervious” to any attempt to change it. It’s “depressing” that the Labour and Liberal Democrat peers in the House of Lords are digging in their heels against this bill – the NHS needs “clarity and certainty about its future.” The Lib Dem’s amendments make it more bureaucratic – the House of Lords should do its job as a revising chamber and get rid of all that. They’re stupid if they want to scupper the Bill’s real desire – “to create a more effective and better-managed NHS.”

An issue that affects us all. And it’s not just about the elderly, said Stephen Pollard in The Daily Express. It’s about all patients, and about society’s lack of veneration for the elderly. Elderly parents are now “a problem”, and people are unwilling to step in and care for them. Today, 58 percent of deaths a year are in hospital; in 2030, the figure will be much more – only 10 per cent will die at home. For people to spend their last years in squalor is unthinkable. Andrew Lansley is “fatuous.” Nursing needs to remember that its primary focus is care of the individual, not acting as a sort of under-qualified doctor. Though the elderly are most affected, simply because there are more of them in the system, “the cause affects us all.”

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