Thursday, 28 June 2012

Passing the buck, but hospitals are NOT to blame

'We need NHS reform...' - ( 'i' news 27.06.2012 ) '.... just not like this.'

Master of understatement in the words "Aneurin Bevan wouldn't be too thrilled..... he might be cross" - this at the news that three South London hospitals might be forced to close. Also - to add insult to injury - a further twenty might be in the same position.

No laughing matter, this. In fact, it would appear that the death nell tolls for the entire NHS, if we are dumb enough to miss an important and extremely unfair and unjust point - their insolvency, and impending bancruptcy ( it would seem) is due principally to the fact that all of these hospitals were built under the Labour Government's completely incomprehensible P.F.I. scheme, otherwise known as the Brown/Blair 'Off the balance sheet' pantomime whereby, for instance, a hospital that could be built for a capital expenditure of £16m, is actually handed over to a private, profit-making developer for £60m+ . Further, these developers would take over the overall management of (their hospital's ) services. Let me remind you, this 'put-off-today-the financial-liability' was spread over thirty - that's THIRTY years - in order to dupe us all into believing that this was the only way to get more hospitals built.

Now - suddenly - these unacheivable liabilities are placed onto the hospital budgets which - surprise, surprise - causes them to become insolvent ( not having enough cash to pay normal bills PLUS the added repayment costs of the P.F.I. scheme ). So, a private profiteer takes of the build and management costs - at a profit - but unfortunately, the article misses the main point that the stupid Labour Government made the commitment that the hospital Trusts had absolutely no say in negotiating or agreeing, initially. Consequently, the private owner/managers increase management costs and, of course, their profits. So, how is it that the government abdicates its' responsibility in this shameful manner ? The answer ( In my opinion) is that a Labour Government made the commitment, and the current Conservative dominated coalition is using it as a gifted cost-cutting opportunity by claiming that the normally functioning hospitals are - somehow - to blame for a government-initiated scheme that they had no say, whatsoever, about accepting. It seems unbelievable ( to me ) that anyone would be daft enough to think that adding the mortgage costs and the commercial profits to the normal costs of running a hospital would create a financially viable entity. Even more incredible, is that such a daft scheme could be the product of national government and its' Treasury department imagining that any of their idea was a sane solution of the problem of idadequate inpatient care.

Clearly this is 'dirty pool', or modern-day politics, that makes damaging decisions based on deliberate misinformation. Now, the deceivers will cut these NHS 'liability' hospitals, claiming that they are merely correcting the mistakes of the former government ( of course !). And be warned that Welsh hospitals, such as Port Talbot ( a £400m+ 'liability') will inevitably face the same unearned financial knockout blows from our equally dishonest government. And, while they wait their cruel fate, the poor patients are finding smaller, centrally located health services almost impossible to access. Poorly staffed Accident and Emergency, and Midwifery services make their patients suffer longer waits for treatment of immediate symptoms only. Worse still, patients awaiting urgent operations, are told that "there are no beds" for their hospital-scheduled surgical procedures. And this situation continues to worsen - more cuts based on lies from NHS Wales and their inept Health Boards. So, as the blame approaches 'ground zero', patients suffer, with the most vulnerable ( eg The Elderly Mentally Infirm ) facing a situation where there are very few community-based services available to provide the care they most need. R. W.

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