Thursday, 24 January 2013

Cutting the cloth does not a slimmer NHS make

The NHS in England is undergoing a fundamental change  It's driven by the need to cut the cloth - to cut the expenditure. The trouble is, if the body of the organisation is still fat, then trimming the clothes will neither a pretty picture nor a happy organisation. The body needs some work.

It's a little like telling someone who is used to living a life where they can buy designer clothes  shop for the best cut in steaks and live in the best areas - that they have to buy from Primark and live in a less desirable area.  Obviously this is not an ideal situation. But it is one where the person starts to live within their means. Yes, it means life will never be the same, but if the person doesn't make the shift then they may face bankruptcy and lose everything. Surely it's better to take control and create a new life that is sustainable.

The NHS has a lot of fat in it. There is waste, despite the doomsayers who tell of the end of the NHS due to budget cuts (cloth cutting). This fat often isn't obvious (it is hidden deep within the organs of the organisational body, often in small streaks, but there nonetheless. When I can buy a ream of paper cheaper than an NHS organisation - there is waste. When I or a member of my family has difficulty in getting discharged from outpatients - there is waste.

I'm on my personal mission not to become part of the obesity epidemic. I am pleased to have got through a number of (healthcare...) events without resorting to the biscuits and pastries. Maintaining an exercise regime in the snow is difficult - but not impossible  I know that buying clothes two sizes smaller will not cure what's lying beneath them.  A radical shift in behaviour is required from me.  And so for the NHS - a radical shift in how services are designed to meet the future needs of future patients is necessary. While I commiserate with the pain staff in the NHS are going through, I do hold out hope, as a patient, that eventually the cloth cutting will move on from losing staff to rethinking the way care is delivered.

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