by Peter Cook
It’s deeply troubling that the A&E department at Medway Maritime has been marked down as unfit for purpose by the CQC. The people of Medway deserve better.
I feel sorry for patients but also for staff, most of whom I am sure are caring and work hard to provide a good service against impossible odds.
What makes me angry is that all the problems that beset the NHS these days were foreseen donkeys’ years ago, but clearly never acted upon. People have been talking about the “demographic time bomb” – which predicted a population top heavy with us oldies – for at least a couple of decades. They knew damn well what problems this would pose.
Why are people surprised that it’s happening?
When I covered health for the Medway Messenger, two big things were happening in Medway.
The hospital governing body was being turned into a foundation trust, which was supposed to give the financial flexibility needed adequately to meet future demands. Clearly that’s not happening.
And the PCT – of blessed memory – was working on expansion of the community nursing service, so that elderly and chronically ill patients could be treated in their own homes, relieving pressure on the hospital, particularly A&E.
A hospital, in the brave new world of the NHS, was to be only for serious cases. Everyone else was to be treated in their homes or at medical centres. General practitioners were to take on more community healthcare, but as we all know by the time you get an appointment with your family doctor, you are either dead or it’s got better.
When things go badly wrong with an organisation, it’s either because of bad management or lack of resources. In the case of Medway Maritime it’s both.
The £6m being offered by the government is too little, too late. It’s a sticking plaster solution to a problem that the most junior of student nurses could see hurtling towards us.
The after-hours GP service for pensioners should have been in place years ago, together with out of hours minor injuries clinics.
Politicians of all parties mouth on about being massive supporters of the NHS and the need for high quality services. What they need to do is to put our money where their mouths are and to get things properly organised. After all its their constituents’ lives at stake.