EXCLUSIVE: Suzy Elneil, based at University College London Hospital, is one of just a handful of surgeons trained to remove mesh from women, such as Julie Gilsenan, 41 (pictured).
Hospitals are increasingly encouraging the elderly and others affected to pay for the procedure out of their own pocket as it is being rationed by the National Health Service.
I agree with all of this, but in the end, unfortunately, it is just a wish list, mores the pity.
What an eventful political week.
Who could have predicted the momentous turn of events we have just witnessed only one, short month ago. Not me, for one. Saying goodbye to David Cameron and his team and hello to Theresa May and her’s is going to change so many things, long-term, for us all.
But, what do I as a disabled person, want to see delivered by the new regime?
Well, for a kick off I want to see an end to all Welfare Benefits sanctions, in particular sanctions which mean that disabled people are left without sufficient money to pay for food and medication and rent and energy costs and transport costs. I would like to see proper Welfare Benefits for disabled people where we didn’t have to continually justify our existence or prove how ill we are at every turn. Applying for Disability Benefits and attending never-ending face-to-face assessments…
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This is following a debate I’ve recently had with a critic, who stated that the National Health Service had its origins in the Beveridge Report of 1942, and was endorsed by Winston Churchill and the Conservatives. This is true, up to a point, though Churchill was initially very cautious about the foundation of a National Health Service. After the War he made a radio speech denouncing the Labour party’s plans for a complete reconstruction of Britain as ‘a Gestapo for England’. However, Michael Sullivan in his book, The Development of the British Welfare State (Hemel Hempstead: Prentice Hall/Harvester Wheatsheaf 1996) also points out that before the publication of the Beveridge, there had been a long process of negotiation and demand for some kind of comprehensive, free healthcare for working people, and that this had become official Labour party policy in the 1934. He writes
Discussions about the reform of British…
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‘…………..By Andrew Lee, Senior Clinical University Teacher & Consultant in Communicable Disease Control at University of Sheffield
Thousands of foreign nurses could be forced out of the UKunder new immigration rules, the Royal College of Nursing has warned. Changes to immigration policy under the government’s attempt to drive down migrant numbers mean that those earning less than £35,000 a year will have to leave the UK after 6 years. This means up to 3,365 nurses currently working in the UK, whose recruitment cost more than £20m in total, could be affected.
The Royal College has warned the consequences of an exodus of foreign nurses would be serious and could jeopardise the ability of the country’s National Health Service (NHS) to function. In London alone, nearly a quarter of doctors and half of nurses are from abroad.
This comes at a time when the NHS needs to change to meet the healthcare needs of a growing, ageing population and when the government is pushing for seven-day primary care services. Researchers estimate the demand for nurses is already outstripping supply by nearly 50,000 for the period between 2010 and 2016.
This problem is made worse by nursing’s high rate of turnover. An estimated 10% of the nursing workforce are seriously contemplating leaving for various reasons including burn-out. Nurse turnover rates tend to be higher in teaching trusts, in specialisms such as mental health and elderly care, and in inner cities – especially in London, where turnover rates can be as high as 38%.
This high turnover can reduce the quality of patient care and affect the ability of the NHS to meet demand. But it also costs the NHS a significant amount of money as turnover costs can cost up to double the salary of the nurse that left.
There has been at times unfair tabloid reporting that foreign healthcare workers take local jobs, draw on local benefits, offer substandard practice and take money out of the system. The reality is that many do jobs in areas that home-grown healthcare workers do not want. Many face a degree of discrimination and career glass ceilings, despite often being highly skilled. The fact of the matter is that foreign healthcare workers help keep the NHS going.
But there is also a much wider issue: that of the globalised trade of healthcare workers. It is estimated that around 53% of Indian medical graduates and up to half of South Africanmedical graduates emigrate to developed countries. Similarly, more than 150,000 Filipino nurses and 18,000 Zimbabwean nurses emigrate to countries where pay and conditions are significantly better.
This is not a new phenomenon. Indeed, a previous survey carried out by the British General Medical Council in 2002 reported that 58% of newly registered doctors in the UK were trained abroad. This situation has improved somewhat, according to 2015 statistics which show that international medical graduates account for just over a quarter of all newly registered doctors. That said, the overall number of international medical graduates in the UK has been fairly static in the past decade.
There is also an issue of global inequity. Many of the countries that export doctors and nurses to high-income countries themselves face staffing shortages in the health sector and can ill afford to lose them. For example, India has just 171 registered nurses per 100,000 people and yet it exports many of the nurses it trains to the UK, which has nearly five times as many nurses(880) per 100,000 population. The healthcare brain drain deskills the donor health systems of other countries and threatens their viability. Ultimately this contributes to global health inequalities.
What’s more, not only are the countries of origin losing a valued and skilled human resource, but they are also losing the upfront investment costs required for training them. For example, each emigrating African doctor represents a loss of more than US$184,000 (£116,000) to the continent.
In the UK it costs around £70,000 to train a nurse from scratch, £479,000 for a general practitioner, and £725,000 to train a hospital consultant. It is therefore not surprising that the UK health economy makes a considerable saving in recruiting foreign staff that are already trained. But there is an ethical dimension to international health worker recruitment and migration. It could be argued from a moral standpoint that high-income countries which recruit international healthcare workers – such as the UK – should recompense the countries of origin.
The NHS relies heavily on foreign staff and it is unlikely that it can wean itself off this need in the near future. Undoubtedly, the long-term solution will be to train more home-grown health care staff. But this strategy will come with significantly long lead times and require considerable investment in health education and training.
Careful cross-departmental planning by the government is essential to ensure a smooth and safe transition. Until such a time is reached when the UK is self-sufficient in healthcare staff, foreign workers will continue to be needed. This creates problems for an immigration policy that aims to prevent their arrival and might even send them home. …………’
‘……………By: Sue Learner
Social care funding was ‘strikingly absent’ from the Queen’s Speech which set out the Government’s intention to secure the future of the National Health Service by increasing the health budget, integrating healthcare and social care and ensuring thNatioe NHS works on a seven day basis.
There were also measures to improve access to general practitioners and to mental healthcare, with plans to introduce waiting time standards for mental health services, talking therapies and specialist care for people experiencing their first episode of psychosis.
George McNamara, head of policy at Alzheimer’s Society, expressed disappointment in the Government’s failure to mention how social care will be funded saying: “Integration of health and social care is vital to providing personalised care fit for an ageing population with increasingly complex needs.
“Yet strikingly absent from the speech is any reference to social care funding. If the Government continues to treat social care as the poor cousin to the NHS, genuine integration can only remain an aspiration. It must be acknowledged that you cannot secure the future of the NHS without investment in social care.
“By the end of the next parliament nearly one million people will be living with dementia. Bold action is necessary to deliver a health and care system designed around people, not rigid, silo-based institutions.”
Government silent on issues older people care about
Independent Age also criticised the Government for ‘being silent on the issues older people most care about.
Janet Morrison, its chief executive, said: “Some of the measures in today’s Queen’s Speech could herald a new approach to how we deliver local services for older people, so for example in the City Devolution Bill. But to truly deliver on its promise of security and dignity in retirement, older people need the Government to act much more boldly over the next five years.
“To meet the aspirations of an ageing population, the Housing Bill needs to prioritise new house building for people in later life. Homes built specifically for older people have decreased from 30,000 per year in the 1980s to 8,000 per year today. The Government also needs to be much clearer about what action it will take to arrest the decline in the council help and local care services older people need to remain independent at home. These challenges must not be ducked, but the Government risks being silent on some of the issues older people care about most.”
Barriers facing disabled people seeking employment
Mencap would have liked to have seen the Government doing more to help people with disabilities into work.
Ismail Kaji, a spokesperson at Mencap, who has a learning disability, said: “I have job, but I am one of only seven per cent of people with a learning disability to be in paid work. I want to see the Government meeting their commitment to halve the employment gap for disabled people. Getting more people with a learning disability into paid employment is important — having a job makes you feel valued, respected and part of a team. Unfortunately, there is many barriers faced by people with a learning disability when trying to get into employment, such as employers who don’t understand what a learning disability is, or see the disability and do not recognise what the person can do with the right support.”
“I did not choose to have a learning disability. I have no choice about paying the extra costs that come with getting the vital support that I need. So I am very worried about the likely £12 billion of cuts to benefits, as I know are many other people with a learning disability. Whether I am working or not, my disability will always be there.”
As well as the issue of social care funding being left up in the air, cuts on council budgets are set to continue which will undoubtedly impact on local public services, particularly relied on by people with disabilities and mental health problems and older people. ……..’