Friday, October 29, 2004

Who Cares?

In case anyone in Scotland who lives outside a city has failed to notice, NHS Scotland is disintegrating---and under a so-called Labour government too! Even under the Tories' divisive Internal Market Sog saw his local hospital develop, and the Trust kept close to its budget.

In the last few years Sog has seen the same local hospital steadily declining through chronic lack of investment as a larger hospital, miles away, basically bled it dry. People in the area who have no cars now face an extremely difficult journey in order to access the services that they helped pay for. We have already lost acute surgery and our accident & emergency department. Today we find that we are losing the psychiatric ward in the hospital, a facility that transformed the care of patients in the area with mental health problems. The proposed "service" provided by a Glasgow psychiatric hospital sounds totally unsatisfactory.

We are told that all this centralisation is necessary because of increased specialisation, and other factors including the improvements in junior doctors' hours and the European Working Time Directive. So-called "consultation exercises" gather the views of the public then totally ignore them. The bottom line is the Health Board's large deficit, and the basic unfairness of offering a completely inadequate service to a large proportion of the population doesn't seem to matter.

The scandalous lack of imagination shown in tackling these issues, and blindly applying models that only work well in areas of high population density, will cause years of misery to many of the most vulnerable people in our communities, but who cares?