Who Needs Doctors Anyway?

Nursing shortages

In February this year, the Guardian carried a story entitled, “NHS nurse shortages ‘to last another four years’,” which outlined the severe lack of qualified nursing staff within the U.K. National Health Service:

Ian Cumming, chief executive of Health Education England, said there would be a shortfall in nurses until at least 2020.”[1]

Today, three months later, the BBC website has this headline, “‘Train NHS staff’ to plug doctor gaps, bosses say,”:

Nurses, paramedics and pharmacists should be trained to fill in for doctors and help the NHS in England cope with demand, bosses say.
Management body NHS Employers has given the plan the green light after advisers said there were a range of extra tasks they could do with more training.”[2]

Presumably the “Management body” deftly known as, “NHS Employers” are the group of overly-well paid, brandy-swilling, elites who’ve landed the plum job of doing very little while their minions slave away beneath them and carry the can when things go awry. It’s doubtful said elites could distinguish a bed-pan from a set of artery forceps.

This idea is reminiscent of the workings of the U.S. health system, which over the years has seen the introduction of unskilled labour filling in for qualified doctors. There are, ‘doctor’s assistants’, ‘nurse practitioners’ and various other fancifully named job descriptions that can all be grouped together under the heading, ‘unqualified doctor substitute’.

It became increasingly difficult to arrange an appointment with a genuine doctor in the United States as hedge fund owned medical practices squeezed the last ounce out of overworked health employees in their effort to save money and increase profits.

“I’d like an appointment to see a doctor, please.”

“I’m sorry, Doctor So-and-so is very busy. His next available appointment isn’t until three weeks on Friday. I can get you in tomorrow at ten with our nurse practitioner.”

But, I need to see a doctor.”

“It will be three weeks. If it’s urgent you can always go to the emergency room.” (A&E)

The above conversation is fairly typical of how to arrange an appointment at the doctor’s office in the United States. It varies depending on whether your medical practice is run by the city, or a private hedge fund. The latter are rapidly expanding their tentacles throughout the American heath service. After all, sickness can be a nice little earner provided expensive, qualified, medical staff are kept to an absolute minimum.

The problem with Britain’s health service has nothing to do with the working staff. A finer, more dedicated, bunch of individuals it would be hard to find anywhere. As always, the problem lies with the top echelons of elite, silver-spooned, ‘jobs-for-the-boys’, parasites that exist under the cloaked heading of, ‘NHS Employers’.

Boss man of this sanctimonious club is the Health Minister, Jeremy Hunt, who would dearly love to see U.S. hedge funds financing the U.K.’s health service.

Meanwhile, he’ll save money by using unqualified staff, who are already in short supply and grossly overworked, to take on the work of doctors, just as they do in America.

And if that doesn’t work out it’ll just become another reason to privatise the British NHS.

[1] “‘Worrying shortage of senior NHS nurses'” Guardian February 29th 2016

[2] “‘Train NHS staff’ to plug doctor gaps, bosses say” BBC, May 17th 2016