NHS Reform – Scotsman Article – 7 October 2021


A billion pounds pledged to the NHS by Nicola Sturgeon, who could possibly disagree? We want the best health service we can possibly afford. Compounding that Covid has proven costly and not just in lives, with waiting times lengthening and delays increasing.

But is it all about the money? And with life expectancy increasing and pressures through the benefits of medical science growing, can we simply keep throwing money at it, or do we need some reform as well?

That doesn’t mean privatisation but structural reform and consideration of how we best achieve the outcomes we want. Isn’t it time we considered that as opposed to simply throwing ever more cash into the pot.

NHS has remained unreformed as other sectors whether Justice or Education have undergone significant change and for cost savings, as well as better service delivery. Yet I don’t know anyone in health, at whatever level or whatever part, that doesn’t bemoan waste and see options for savings and improvement.

Some aspects seem positively Soviet-esque in their bureaucracy, even if its essential we guard against fraud on the public purse. Do we need 14 Health Board and numerous other agencies? Is there a better way to allow local scrutiny whilst reducing the number of high paid bureaucrats?

Years ago when I first went for a jag for a holiday it was the GP who did it. No more and rightly so? But as we’ve seen improvisation with Covid to vaccinate a population, aren’t there other such changes that could be made.

I’ve had both family and friends require treatment that saw the pharmacist detail what was required but require a prescription. A cursory chat over the phone with the GP saw an e mail despatched and the problem solved. Shouldn’t pharmacists be allowed to dispense more, they’re well trained after all? If poverty’s a driver of ill health, is strategic funding targeting that not a better use of resource?

I’m hearing of folk now being told its go private or wait years. It’s not all about the money, we need reform to avoid privatisation by stealth