Monday, 20 October 2014

NHS Wales: Problems either side of the divide

So a certain paper has in their eternal wisdom decided to do a week long “investigation” into lets bash NHS Wales for a laugh.

In my honest opinion I can’t see that this is going to be anything more than cheap political point scoring & an attempt to imply that similar issues can’t be seen within NHS England.

This however isn’t to say that there aren’t issues within the Welsh NHS system, I live through these issues & use many different services. Just one issue is not being able to rely on appointments & procedures to be scheduled when they should be & having to constantly chase things up which adds additional stress that could be avoided. And this is just one of the problems I have encountered & myself & my partner will be contacting those who need to know further to try & address these failings.

However, throughout the whole of the NHS there are failings but there are also services that are under the most intense strain in modern times, are struggling to provide the best for their patients & often succeed by relying most often on the dedication of the staff in those departments. So often we condem a whole hospital or a whole system on the parts that are failing instead of acknowledging the good parts & correcting the failings. In so doing we will only manage to further alienate staff that are doing a great job, in difficult circumstances, that the NHS desperately needs to keep hold of.

I also can not see nor believe that the failings within NHS Wales would be fixed by wasting billions in top down reorganisation which even senior tory party heads have agreed was a bad decision. There is also no mention about the continued underfunding to the Welsh Assembly, the difference in demographic, geography or that patients have been sent across the border for specialist treatment for years & NHS Wales funds them.

Usually NHS Wales patients have been sent across the border because of the intensive resources needed for a specialist centre would have made it a much more expensive option for a centre to run in Wales. For example if a minority need the specialist service it can be more viable to share facilities. However there are cases where a specialist centre has been put off when a need has been identified.

This isn’t however just seen in Wales. Specialist centers are highly resource intensive so centres can often serve people from outside the hospital’s trust with patients having to travel to other trusts for specialist treatment.

The simple fact is that parties are using the NHS for political point scoring as they have done for many years. That by looking at reports from the Welsh Assembly & other media coverage, the Data actually says Wales fared better than the English NHS system whereas other data contradicts this. So often data can be taken out of context or isn’t extensive.

In my honest opinion the only reason that the NHS Wales system has been attacked is because the Welsh Assembly has a minority Labour government & Westminster wants to "prove" that the Welsh NHS system has fared worse than the English. By bashing Wales it only stands to harm England as well as it attempts to brush over the major failings in NHS England.

 Inherently the Welsh & English systems face different challenges. Both systems have issues & political point scoring is damaging & serves nothing more than to detract from real productive changes being made within the NHS. Its time that parties took a step back, looked for a longer term strategy for the NHS & that patients where the core focus. At the end of the day patients deal with the problems & use the service. These patients know what they truly need, what is wasteful & what works. I also urge MPs & AMs not to pander to the papers or create spin because this isn’t going to help your constituents. Instead talk to people in your constituencies that use these services & understand what needs to be put right in each hospital.

When a AM is turning to Google to get information & opinion about the NHS in Wales instead of talking to the patients that use the system, there is something fundamentally wrong.

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