Letter: Healing the NHS

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The Independent Culture
Sir: The hypocrisy of the opposition party, repeatedly maligning the present government's efforts to right the devastation wreaked upon the NHS by that very opposition party, takes the breath away.

I experienced nursing and the NHS during the period of the Conservative Party's reforms.

The whole ethos of nurse training had been centred on the welfare of the patients, their needs, medical, physical and psychological and their rights as individual members of the human race. This is not to say that the NHS was perfect. Finances were never plentiful and care was exercised over expenditure.

As the then government's policies started to take hold the ethos started to change. Patient care became a password, covering glossy leaflets dotted around waiting rooms, GP surgeries and the like, while the old caring NHS now found itself overrun by men and women of commerce, whose brief was to drag it into the market place.

It would be impossible not to be saddened by the erosion of the caring principle. Managers increased and nurses decreased, leaving exhausted, frustrated nursing staff trying to make up the shortfall and fulfil their caring duties with situations quite often on the very brink of safety margins.

What was the hidden agenda? Private health care? It certainly looked that way. The running-down of units, closing hospitals, closing wards, selling off hospitals. Shortage of beds, and facilities, patients being hawked from hospital to hospital in the hope of finding a bed and lifesaving treatment. Is it really surprising that men and women are now reluctant to enter the profession?

The present government will turn this sorry situation around. It will take years to redress the wrongs and put the heart back into nursing.

Mrs J DAVIES RGN (RETIRED)

Maidstone, Kent

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