Does the NHS need to be cut off from politics?

Short answer – yes. Seriously though, at times the NHS feels like a rare sports trading card or collector’s edition toy that political parties squabble over in the schoolyard, or even worse a bargaining chip.

Every election we hear the same promises, promises, promises and then the petty little arguments (sorry, I mean party election debates) – “you said this” “well you said that”. It’s getting a bit silly now, isn’t it? So does the NHS need to be an emancipated and uninhibited from politics… and could it actually happen?

Just a few months ago many predicted last winter was going to be the worst to date and many rolled out the old retort “You say that every year”. However, in the wake of doctors and consultants writing to Teresa May in fear of unnecessary deaths, nurses breaking down in stress and one of the worst outbreaks of flu in years, I think the critics have been silenced.

Many are quick to jump on the ‘lack of funding’ bandwagon and yes that is a very big bandwagon we desperately need, but we also need to re-evaluate how we handle things like winter pressures. 

For example, educating the public to not go to A&E for a cold or back pain and to visit a pharmacist instead is something that should be encouraged all year round. Furthermore, maybe flu vaccinations should be compulsory for some groups and begin in October?

Everyone will have different thoughts and my point is that many healthcare professionals will have great ideas on how to combat winter pressures and they need to be given a voice - then when they have that voice they should be given funding, not an empty promise.

I’d like to believe that each political party has a dedicated team that tirelessly and extensively researches funding methods for the NHS and listens to key members, healthcare professionals and subject matter leaders, but in recent times I think you’ll forgive me for feeling a little disenchanted.

My dream NHS translates to an independent body comprised of people who actually have some idea what is going on.

This translates right down to each level so we have a representative for each area; a nurse, a paramedic, a practice manager, a doctor, a pharmacist and – well, you can see were I’m going.  My dream NHS also wouldn’t have to wait on funding or have funding cut suddenly… and the workers of my dream NHS would be paid fairly. Yeah, I know, that’s why I’ve said ‘dream’ quite a lot.

My point is that the system is broken and needs fixing, I love the NHS as I know many others do - that’s why we work for it, alongside it and use it. Right now though, I think it needs us.

Overall what I want is a governing body that is actually in touch with the NHS and those it affects. Judging from recent opinion polls, it’s probably safe to say the public think that there are parties more in touch than others but maybe the lesson to be learnt from what has happened so far is that more can and should be done to realise this. 

Ultimately, thanks to the many hardworking people in our NHS, lives are saved and made better on a daily basis. It’s this unflappable dedication and commitment to others that makes the NHS, and it’s about time we had a governing body that wants to do the same.

We all have ideas about how to improve primary care and the wider NHS. Do these thoughts resonate with you, and what are your own feelings? With local elections this week, do you have faith in politicians to fix the NHS’s problems? Let us know in the comment section below.


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