'Matching the Best in the World' - Well, that was what the title of the Slide Show Summary was called, but I think that 'Side Show to Deception' would have been more apt. I attended this public meeting at Llandough hospital last week ( with only six members of the public present ) to be treated to a talk by Dr Graham Shortland, Medical Director NHS Wales, that was subtitled 'What is the South Wales Programme all about ?' The four items were just the usual empty rhetoric that precedes a document of problems in five specific services as discussed and agreed by 300 clinicians ( we are reliably informed ). These are :
Accident and Emergency
Apparently, all of these services cannot continue as they are and consequently they are to be based at 4/5 specialist centres - most of these are currently being delivered from 'seven or so' sites. Now "they need to be concentrated on fewer sites, if we are to ensure that everyone has the best care and the best possible outcomes, whatever time of day or year". Where have I heard that silly and insincere crap before ? Oh - I remember - it was on every occasion over the past decade that the NHS and Local Health Boards wanted to centralise services in order to cut costs. Needless to say, consultations resulting in public opinion opposing these changes, were completely ignored by every organisation ( led by the ridiculously incoherent Community Health Councils, who hadn't read any of the proposals or understood the implications of their unfathomable reason for supporting the proposals as put forward by the LHBs ).
The same farce continues today with Dr Shortland announcing that the 'Engagement' phase ends December the 19th with 12 week ( not the statutory 16 weeks ) 'Consultations' scheduled to commence end January 2013. The CHC pantomime will pretend that that they give a toss about public opinion, before they vote the Preferred Option through, in support of th LHB,s proposal, as-per-bloody-usual. ( Lord, doesn't this completely false and meaningless process make even a Billy goat puke ? ). Yet, the Health Autocrat of the Decade - Lesley Griffiths - still says that "we don't need public forums as the Community Health Councils are the voice of the people". What an arrogant, ignorant declaration ! No hope then that any democratic process will enter the NHS protocol, then.
Anyway, the talk ended with we ( the public ) making the obvious comments that Access to centralised services would be a problem, as would implementation ( a logistical nightmare ), to say nothing about the consequences to us of being able to access yet further reduced services. Given the impossible timescale, intelligent reasoning will be inconceivable, with the inevitable result being as I have indicated, above. Try not to have nightmares about the 'Front Door' to the NHS i.e. A & E being log-jammed by queueing ambulances and a critical shortage of beds. And God help those Major Trauma patients. At least there will be a bountiful future for all Funeral Parlours ! R.W.