LETTER: When NHS is in a mess, people die

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I WISH to make my contribution to the NHS reform debate.

My wife has had an illness over the last two years. After a preliminary examination, she was given medication and informed she would be appraised every six months and everything happened as agreed. Then the coalition changes started to take effect. The last time she was seen was July, 2011. After several phone calls we have just received an appointment for May 28th. Heaven only knows when it would have been if I had not been a nuisance.

This is happening when, every Prime Minister’s Question Time, Mr Cameron states waiting times are reducing, we have more nurses and 4,000 more doctors (these must have been in training under the Labour Government).

There are many doubts among his MPs and Ministers, but Mr Cameron is certain he knows best. It is the Coalition’s aim to reduce the number of civil servants and this idea is admirable. The only problem is allowing this to be done on a voluntary basis. In private industry, companies strain every limb to keep their key workers.

The only volunteers ever are people who will be better off changing their jobs, such as well-qualified people or are near retiring age and the redundancy pay will more than cover their loss of wages. These people in office work are, in general, the most important due to their knowledge and experience.

When they are missed, it will be necessary to bring them in on a consultancy basis to sort things out. I read in the Daily Mail that several Ministries including finance are now being managed by almost completely new teams. There is also the Prime Minister’s families tsar (Emma Harrison) who has just banked £8.6 million for placing 120,000 families in work. She only succeeded in placing 9%. I would love to know how much has been paid out in redundancy and consultancy fees.

While this seems a long way from NHS business, my point is this. If the coalition can make such a mess of organising the civil service of which they are part, how possibly can they know better than the medical experts and the Royal College of Nurses how to run the Health Service. With offices, money and time can repair the mess.

With the NHS in a mess, people die.