So here I am, three weeks into my recovery. All seems well. Regular readers will hopefully be pleased to hear that in terms of side effects, all is looking OK. But today I feel I simply have to speak about the current dispute between the NHS "junior doctors" and the government and specifically the health minister Jeremy Hunt. The issue is all about a seven day a week NHS. It is pretty clear that some NHS functions are 24x7. A&E being the classic example. It is also clear that many departments are not. My HIFU procedure is a typical example. That was done as a day procedure. I can think of nothing worse than having it at 3am on a Saturday morning. Such departments are perfectly Ok running on a 9-5 Mon-Fri basis. The same is true of the outpatients and the follow up.
Whilst Mr Hunt talks about a 24x7 service, this is not what the debate is about. It is about the government not wishing to fund it. Doctors have every right to expect a decent rate of pay, given their training and their expertise. As someone who has benefitted hugey from their efforts, I want to see the best people employed by the NHS, not the cheapest. When bankers received a huge taxpayer backed bale out, the argument was that they should still get bonuses and perks so that the uk didn't see a drain on our talent. The same should apply to the NHS.
Another myth is that NHS spending would grow beyond sustainable levels. This is another myth. In terms of GDP the NHS is one of the cheapest and most efficient health services in the world. the USA pays nerly twice as much per GDP as the UK on health, yet millions are deprived of treatment duet to the privatised nature of the service. It is true that there are always new treatments and some of these are expensive, but it is equally true that some treatments fix problems that previously required long term expensive treatments. One example of this was the treatment my mother had for a crumbling spine and small fractures. They injected cement and she was able to get on with her life and come off long term pain relief. With some of these payback is over several years, but there is a payback.
If you listened to some government commontators, you'd think everyone was ill and everyone simply wanted to malinger for weeks on end in hospital. This is of course nonsense as they kick you out as soon as they can. The procedure I had used to require an overnight stay. Now you go home.
As a health service user, I have simple message for Mr Hunt . Treat doctors with respect and pay them a wage that reflects their training and expertise. It is as simple s that.