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By 999callfornhs, Jan 15 2017 08:00AM

by a passionate nurse

who walked 300 miles from Jarrow to London

Earlier today I posted about the programme Hospital that aired on BBC last night and it's good to see that I'm not the only one who is horrified by what it showed. We all seem to be in agreement that the NHS is in crisis but, after spending the day working in the NHS on a programme to reduce the incidence of preventable disease, I do feel the need to refute some of the responses made to the post.

The NHS is in crisis due to underfunding

The NHS is in crisis due to funding being siphoned off to the private sector & not reinvested in patient care

The NHS is in crisis due to the political ideology of the current government where everything has to respond to market forces - even the care of the sick and care of the vulnerable amongst us.

It's not Foreigners

Most people who come to the UK do so to get work. They pay their taxes and contribute financially to the NHS, so are perfectly entitled to use it. For those who have come here seeking safety, whether that be from war, oppression or poverty, I am proud to offer them sanctuary and hope that the NHS can lessen their suffering in some way.

It's not people who harm themselves

Those whose mental health has deteriorated to this point deserve treatment and support from the NHS in exactly the same way as people with physical pain and other symptoms.

It's not because people attend A&E with minor illnesses & injuries

They are probably there because they can't get a GP appointment or their local urgent care centre has been closed.

It's not people with a dependence on alcohol or drugs

For people whose lives are so difficult that they have an increasing dependence on something that alters their mood deserve treatment and support as much as anyone else. Apart from anything else it will cost the NHS less in the long run if they get help.

It's not overseas health workers taking our jobs

Those with highly sought after skills are enticed to come and work here to fill the gap left by the government's lack of investment in education and training for our young people. Today I have worked with staff from the Phillipines, India, Hungary and Egypt and feel privileged to share the care of our patients with them.

It's not people who are obese

There are a multitude of reasons why people become overweight, many linked to stress and poverty as well as disease. Judging them harshly or withdrawing their access to care won't resolve the physical or psychological issues they may have.

It's not greedy doctors

Why shouldnt they expect to earn a good wage and still have time to spend with their families like normal people? The junior doctors dispute has highlighted the dangers of doctors having to make life changing decisions whilst tired and overworked. And it seems completely illogical to me that someone with the skills to save your life can't earn as much as someone who has the skills to work in a merchant bank or manage a hedge fund.

It's not people living longer with complex medical needs

People are living longer with complex needs thanks to the NHS, not despite it.

Sorry if I've gone on a bit (or even a lot) but please, don't be drawn into the politics of hate and division. Those of us who work in the NHS don't judge those who need treatment. We just get on and treat them, because that's what the NHS is for. The only way to save it is to stand together, oppose the privatisation of services and support each other. Target your anger and ire at the right people.

Those making the policies that are passing the NHS into the hands of global corporations, not the victims of those policies. Become an activist, join a local NHS campaign and stop being a bystander.


By 999callfornhs, Apr 30 2016 09:46AM

I am struggling to write my blog this week, hence the delay. This is because my feelings about the NHS and what is happening within it are all over the place.

As a practicing nurse, for me some of the issues within the NHS that I face every shift are about funding, resourcing, and patient safety. These issues are all interconnected and deciphering them into an understandable collection of sentences and arguments is a difficult job. In the words of many a person in a difficult relationship: it is complicated! And this week I’ve struggled to find my place in all of the arguments, the issues, the demands, and the politics.

Firstly, I need to just say that I believe recent struggles to save the NHS ARE political. This will not make me popular amongst some people, lots of who try to keep politics out of the NHS. I don’t think this is possible and a couple of my reasons are these: some political parties appear to be more protective and supportive of the NHS – all political parties have neglected the NHS in some measure – but some are downright obstructive, preferring instead to invite the heads of multi-national private health providers to debate which bits of the NHS they would like to buy; and the NHS is rife with ‘politics’ – I’ve lost count of the number of nursing colleagues who have told me ‘I left because I couldn’t stand the ‘politics”. The NHS is embroiled in politics in both minor and major ways.

However, I always struggle to write my blog. I have a professional code of conduct that means I have a responsibility towards my profession, amongst other things, and I cannot just write in an irresponsible way, no matter how tired or disillusioned I might sometimes feel. However, like my colleagues, I work in the reality that has become the NHS and it can be a very challenging environment. It sometimes seems monolithic, it is an immovable object that will sometimes not countenance change, and its disciples sometimes seem locked in ways of working that have become obsolete. It has its faults.

As a nurse, I see that change is an inevitable part of progress and I want to embrace it and see it impact in a good way on my practice – I am not a nurse who will always just do something that way because ‘that’s the way it’s done’. But the current issues and challenges being faced by the NHS are not about change for good – they are not about unpalatable truths, necessary improvements or cutting wastage. These issues are about castigating and dismantling our NHS. Be under no illusions.

As a nurse, my professional ‘place’ within any of these issues is always to keep my patients safe and advocate for them. Within the context of increasing pressure, this is not as easy as it sounds. In the NHS, I feel under almost constant pressure to see more patients, to do more, to work harder. And, put simply, I cannot do more than I am. Not only is the NHS taking its dying breaths but, I believe, the goodwill of the staff is running out too. Last week I was offered a new job and I turned it down. I turned it down because I couldn’t bear the thought that, by seeing patients, I would be earning money for someone. But I considered it.

This week I witnessed the junior doctors withdraw emergency cover. I worked one of the strike days so I saw first hand what resulted from their action: senior doctors saw patients, assessed, cannulated, monitored and made decisions; they developed plans of care, did take-home prescriptions, and liaised with other practitioners. They cared for our patients. They ensured patient safety was of the highest standard. They went that extra mile. This is not unusual. As a team, our NHS does this daily – reduce the numbers and we will just fight harder for our patients.

Because this is where we are today – we are in a fight for the NHS. We are shouting to be heard amongst the detritus that is now journalism in this country. We are struggling to be heard because there seems to be an apathy towards the NHS, a certain belief that it will always be around and a part of our lives. A lot of the public do not seem to believe that a prescription for an antibiotic could cost them much more than a prescription charge currently does and they do not seem to believe that they could be paying that in the coming years. Without the NHS, the public will be paying for the care they are currently freely given. That’s why I believe this is everyone’s fight, the NHS belongs to us all, and I cannot understand why all the public are not shouting from the rooftops that the NHS is theirs and they are taking it back.

In my blog I have tried to convey a number of things: my love of nursing, some of the current issues surrounding the NHS, and the danger the NHS is in. This danger is current and real – the NHS is dying. It is gasping for air. The shouting of some of the public, the marches, the lobbying, these things are what the NHS needs to continue breathing. Without us, it will die. As a nurse, I love the NHS. Yes, I love it; I hope I have conveyed this. Put simply, I love it because it helps people and, as a nurse, this is always my aim too. The NHS and I are therefore good friends.

I am doing my bit. I am shouting, if not from the rooftops!

I am marching.

I am organising.

I am delivering last breaths.

Are you?

Read more at #nursesroar and #twitternurse

Follow @NursesRoar

By 999callfornhs, Jan 7 2016 09:18AM

Veronika Wagner makes it easy to understand

How many hospital visits can you remember where the ward or department was fully staffed with nurses, nurses got their breaks and had time for patients?

We have a shortage of nurses in the UK (just for starters 1200 matrons/ very senior nurse posts were cut as was reported recently). So one would think that the government would do their best to attract more nurses and get more people to train as nurses.

If you or I wanted to get people to choose a particular job or career, would we treat them well and make them feel welcome? Or would we – like the government—effectively block a lot of nurse recruitment from abroad, make those from outside the EU leave if they earn less than £35,000 per year, and scrap student nurses’ bursaries, making it financially impossible for many people to train as nurses, especially for mature students with families?

To anyone with common sense, these measures seem like a sure fire way to make sure as few people as possible train as nurses.

Now this is where government spin comes in: these policies are being sold to us as “recruiting more nurses and student nurses”, as having a lot more nurses than we used to have, and as all being well with the NHS. NewSpeak rules supreme, Black is White, nurse shortages are more nurses, financial hardship for student nurses will attract more people to become nurses.

Clear as mud?

If you and your loved ones wish to be cared for and treated in a publicly owned and funded and accountable NHS now and in the future then please get behind the student nurses’ bursary marches which are happening all over the country this coming weekend 9th and 10th January 2016.

In London (the main march and UK info page) Facebook Event Page

Newcastle Facebook Event Page

Middlesborough Facebook Event Page

Manchester Facebook Event Page

See you on the streets!

By 999callfornhs, Jan 5 2016 08:23AM

Having promised myself that 2016 I would find some balance in my life when every waking moment wasn't filled with dread about losing the NHS to a bunch of nasty vicious greedy corporations, about why the public isn't in the streets screaming for justice, why our political system is a mess... you know the sort of casual stuff that floats round your head... and what am I doing? Sitting at my bloody desk answering emails, Facebook messages and writing a bloody blog at 6am in the morning! FFS! (modern acronyms dont ya love em!)

There is something in the water though. I notice there's a whole gang of us online. Who posts things on Facebook at 6am!!! Idiots who are fighting for the NHS that's who. Fighting because they've seen the awful betrayal by our political system - MPs, local councillors, Dept. of Health and Jeremy Hunt, NHS England itself - steamrolling ahead with an agenda of of privatisation that the general public have not agreed to, not been informed about and are only just beginning to realise is well underway.

This weekend is the Nurses, next week the Doctors. But we mustn't let them fight alone. They should not be divided. It's the same fight to stop the destruction of our NHS. 999 has always said we support all levels of the NHS, every skill level is important and vital to the public service we have lived with for 68yrs. A public service we must see brought back into public hands.

It has never been a perfect institution. No campaigner would ever state that was the case. It has moved with the times, the shape and nature of our society, the ever-changing political pressures and ideals and has been faced with attacks from all manner of organisations and individuals who are opposed to the idea of a public health system that does not make a profit for shareholders (I mean what would be the point of that?)

One argument and attitude we've come across time and time again is

"oh you want to go back to the 70's?"

"you can't live in the past you know, got to look forward"

"the world has changed since 1948"

Yes it has. Corporations have taken control not only of our physical economic assets but our political and cultural assets too.

They've managed to convince the world that private companies will be better at running countries than democratic governments. Akin to much of the current business world propaganda that is now spouted by (American again) modern motivational business trainers - They want us "live in the now" and keep looking to the future with no reference to the past.

(WARNING: vomit inducing - http://www.talkbusinesswithhoward.com/business/live-in-the-now-not-in-the-past-for-business-success/ )

So... Don't look back, think about the future. Well that needs changing. We can and should look back to learn and realise where we went wrong. 1948 - amidst the rubble of World War II, the fierce opposition of a dying upper class Tory party - if a group of (some would say mad) visionaries like Bevan and the MPs who supported him could build something as profound and honest as the National Health Service then we in 2016 can rescue it, rebuild it and renationalise it.

Looking back and discovering what that group of idiots in 1948 set out to do - create a fairer, more equal, better society. http://www.bbc.co.uk/archive/nhs/

We can reclaim and rebuild it with that agenda in mind. Not profit. Not greed. Not health insurance. Looking back to those incredible high values and implementing them for the world ahead, the future of our kids and grandkids. The NHS can take full advantage of the hi-tech innovations, the digital universe but it must not sacrifice A&E wards, maternity wards, mental halth beds in place of phone apps. Above all it must not lose it's fundamental core value - a national public service owned, managed and funded by the nation for all our general safety, health and wellbeing.

We're going Beyond Bevan.

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