Recent headlines say the NHS is in crisis, with the increased waiting times for people in A&E, spiralling finances and staff shortages, the media have drummed up the impression that the NHS is in a crisis. Well it’s not new and it’s not the NHS in crisis. It’s the underfunding and privatisation from the Conservative party that has caused the on going problem of the NHS.
I have worked for over 10 years in the NHS as a mental health nurse, this was both in A&E, psychiatric wards and in community teams, it has got worse in the last 7 years and unbearable in the last 4 years. Many problems are ongoing and unaddressed and the current Tory government has made things worse.
A recurrent theme whilst I was a community nurse, was one person having two different care agencies. If there was a problem I had to ring both agencies, they both had different standards which made this was very time consuming and not person centred. Regulated NHS community care services and an increase in social care beds is needed to help alleviate this problem and the burden on the hospitals. Labour’s National Care Service, is an answer to this.
Funding the health system correctly and alignment of services is a step forward for the health of the nation. Co ordination and standards would be set and a lot of paperwork could be avoided. This governments defence is that spending has increased year on year. However no significant increase on spending on social care has been made. With social workers and nurses having to justify themselves with six page reports just to get nursing home placements, to then have their patient be put on a waiting list. This is what’s causing the hold up for beds in hospitals. State run social care homes and long term wards are needed again, cut the bureaucracy and fund them properly.
If community services were to have better funding, then specialist community doctors and nurses would be able to help avoid unnecessary hospital admissions and practice more preventive care. However with the outsourcing of community care services, carers with limited experience, are struggling, trying to look after the elderly and vulnerable. When these carers have been stretched to their limits, patients often end up in the hospital. This could be avoided by coordination between health and social care services and better trained carers. The easiest way to do this is by having everyone working for the same employer and having the same standards and training.