NHS – The end of an era?

The New World beckons

 Today was the last day of business for the NHS’s Strategic Health Authorities. As part of the re organisation of the hierarchical beaurocracy of the NHS, the government have abolished the SHAs the PCTs (Primary Care Trusts) the HPA (Health Protection Agency) and a quite a few other Quangos. So far so good, we can save some dosh then can we? Well, not exactly. Although it is perfectly true that the government have got rid of quite a few organisations, it has, in its all-powerful wisdom, created even more new ones to replace them. Dave and his side kicks have created –  The Commissioning Board (changed its name yesterday to NHS England) Public Health England, Health Education England, the Trust Development Authority, Healthwatch, Health and Wellbeing Boards, 50 Area teams and 212 Clinical Commissioning Groups. This is not an exhaustive list. Are you keeping up? If the public understood little of how their precious healthcare was administered beyond their GP and the local hospital before these spaghetti junction changes- the chances of them figuring it out now are about as likely as a politician admitting that they got their wife to take speeding points for them.
At the SHA today staff were either retiring, moving on, being made redundant or moving into new uncertain roles.

The future’s flowery!

One of the more senior staff Joyce, was retiring after 41 years in the NHS. She joined in 1971 as a clerk and worked her way up to a commissioning Programme Manager post. Joyce is old school NHS. Hard working and dedicated to NHS core principles. The SHA’s loss is the Girl Guide’s gain however, as Joyce has been a Brown Owl for many years. Many national figures at the Department of Health also seem to moving on rather rapidly (apart from David Nicholson of course) – do they fear the worst from the changes? At the somewhat subdued office party to say ‘goodbye’ to the old organisation, limp samosas and orange juice were being consumed in a lack lustre fashion.

Enthusiasm abounds

 Stephen Singleton the acting CEO was also retiring. When he joined the NHS as a doctor he explained, people were offered Mackeson or brandy in hospital to help them sleep. People smoked under the covers in hospital beds and regularly set fire to their paper nighties. The waiting list for heart bypass surgery was five years in some parts of the country. He remembered signing a contract for a hospital doctor for a 112 hour week!

The NHS is a very large and complex organisation and the biggest changes are about who makes decisions and who spends the money. We can only hope that for the moment patients going to see their GP or going into hospital will not suffer as the behemoth settles into its new shape. The price we pay for a heath service free at the point of entry to everyone is that the politicians get to meddle with it on a regular basis. That’s just how it is here. Try HEALTHCARE EXPO

Kenny puts a brave face on the changes

Is it ok to be old?

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