Our wonderful health service has been all over the news for the last few weeks. Love or hate the reality of it, as a nation we’re all behind the idea of a national health service “free at the point of delivery”, as politicians repeat almost robotically on programmes like Question Time (other political platforms are available). But the reason the NHS has been all over the media is because, once again, it’s in trouble. There just don’t seem to be enough beds, doctors, nurses, funds, etc. But what is the reason for all this and what can be done about it?
The simple answer is that this is too complex an issue for a brief article like this and quite frankly I’ve not got the advanced degree in pre-election political spin doctoring to even attempt to get into the nitty-gritty. But those on TV keep pointing to the elderly.
Now don’t worry, they’re not blaming everyone over a certain age for purposely blocking up our health service. What they are doing is blaming a system that has cut elderly care funding to such a degree that when someone of advanced years is admitted to hospital they are likely to have to remain there for longer than necessary because there just are not the elderly care facilities for dealing with them when they are ready to leave. This domino effect of spending cuts in elderly care services is creating a crisis in the NHS as hospital beds become filled with perfectly healthy elderly people unable to leave while the newly sick and ill have to wait longer and longer in A&E to be seen. And it’s just crazy short-sightedness by someone!
The NHS for their part have come up with a number of initiatives, including:
- GPs in A&E. The simple fact of the matter is that many people who turn up at A&E don’t need to be there because they could have been adequately cared for by their local GP. Bringing GPs into the A&E serves a dual purpose of educating the public about what their GP can do for them, and helping emergency staff to filter those in real need of hospital care.
- Treating people more from home so routine hospital appointments for certain conditions with long-term care needs are minimised.
- Better coordination between NHS and elderly care facilities. This is still in the fledgling stage, but there does need to be more communication between these services to minimise unnecessarily long hospital stays for the elderly.
But, did you know that there is private home care for the elderly available for almost any condition, no matter how temporary or permanent. Carers and nurses, visiting, staying overnight or living in, can help with recuperation, medicines, housework, company and general elderly care. Why wait around in a dreary hospital bed when you could be tucked up in your own with the right home care set up to support you or someone you love.