So it is 10 days post NHS White Paper: Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS. The question is who will be liberated by Andrew Lansley’s document?
It is 3 1/2 years since the last whole sale NHS reconfiguration kicked me out of the job I had then and lured me into the dark world of commissioning. I have spent the last 3 years or so learning about the world of the commissioner, I have learned about the pathways of maternity and child health and illness and I have applied myself whole heartedly to making healthcare a safer and more effective place for the people of the county within which I reside. As a nurse I have been well placed to challenge practitioners about the work they do, to listen to the needs and views of the patient (including the professional service user activist). I have often wondered at the target driven world created by the last government, but actually I saw real improvement in services so went with it (mind you as an employee you do have to play the game to a great extent),
The NHS was not a big election issue. Choice about the type of healthcare you can access has improved along with waiting times, infection rates, cleanliness and the general feeling within the NHS. A particular group was unhappy of course but even though they had been given a greater role in health care it was quite possible to ignore some of the views of the GP.
No longer. Our CEO told us just days after the coalition was formed that GP was now king. And so it seems. The new white paper appears to allow GP consortia to be formed in place of the soon to be defunct PCTs and Strategic Health Authorities. So what of us the humble nurse turned commissioner types inhabiting the offices of the PCT?
Over recent weeks politicians have lined up to describe us, the hard working people working in the offices behind healthcare as faceless bureaucrats. We earn more money than anyone can believe, we have pensions which will make us rich and of course we do nothing for patient care.
Well Mr Cameron and Mr Lansley. I am still a registered nurse. My work is about improving patient care and the outcomes of that care. I have worked for the NHS for 30 years this year and each month I have contributed 6% of my income to a pension scheme. I have been on protected pay for over 3 years which means I have had no pay rise. That pay is reasonable, but as the main breadwinner in my household it is important and necessary. I have a face and I would like you to pop round for tea one day soon and tell me why it is you continue to maintain that I am not worthy of my job!
More to come….. much more!