Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Low Morale in the NHS - is this the real reason?

Evidence of low morale within the National Health Service is plain to see. Indeed it has been evident for many years, and it is undoubtedly increasing. The reasons given for this low morale are usually as follows:

  1. Lack of investment in the NHS.
  2. Staff salaries have been subject to pay freezes for the past decade.
  3. High and ever-increasing demand for medical services owing to an ageing population.
Yet each of these reasons, as the real cause of staff demoralization, needs to be seriously questioned if a solution is to be found. 
  • The New Labour government, between 1997 and 2010 increased spending on the NHS massively, by three-fold, from about £40 billion to about £110 billion. Since then the NHS has been 'protected' from the spending cuts imposed by Tory-led governments on other departments. The NHS is not underfunded.
  • Staff salaries have been frozen to 1% annually, but salaries in other parts of the public sector have been similarly frozen, and generally within the private sector wages have been stagnant. And doctor's are amongst the highest paid public employees, and nurses, although not brilliantly paid, once argued that their profession was more about vocation than remuneration.
  • The demand for health services have increased rapidly, as they have increased ever since the NHS was established in 1948. In recent years increased demand has been demonstrated in two sectors in particular, GP surgeries and hospital accident and emergency (A&E) departments. But it also apparent in lengthening waiting times for treatment and operations, and the many treatment 'targets' that are now being missed. Blame for this increased demand is routinely placed on 'an ageing population', but do elderly people really constitute the main reason for health service demands? It seems unlikely, and I have never seen statistics to prove it.
There is another reason for low morale, but it is one that is never mentioned within the conventional medical establishment, the government, the NHS, or indeed the mainstream media. And this is that the NHS medical system, based as it is on pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines, is failing. There is little confidence, even amongst the conventional medical profession, that these drugs are working, or that vaccines are preventing illness. 

The froth of conventional medical confidence may still be heard at the surface, but it is clear that the inner confidence has gone. 

And there is a growing realisation that pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines not only offer sick people ineffective treatment, but treatments that actually produce increasing levels and seriousness of sickness through their so-called 'side effects' and 'adverse reactions'. In other words, doctors are nurses are not making patients better, they are making them sicker. Is there anything more demoralising than such a realisation. 
  • Consider a football or cricket team who, hard as they tried, always lost; who were constantly beaten by teams (bacteria and viruses) that they once believed they could beat. 
  • Think of the tennis player who, however hard he/she works to return the ball (the patient) back safely over the net - only to find it return, even harder, even more difficult to return successfully.
Being a medical professional, working with treatments that, at best, ameliorates sick patients, and, at worst, exacerbates sickness (and cause death too) must be a deeply frustrating experience. Is there any wonder that morale is low, that staff are becoming increasingly demoralised, and leaving the profession, often for lower paid, lower status jobs. And what about the suggested solutions?
  • More money for the NHS will only be spent on the same old, failed treatments, and so will do nothing to improve the morale of staff.
  • Increased salaries will see staff doing the same old things, and with no greater success.
  • The population will continue to age for many years to come; but so too will the illnesses and diseases that are striking patients at younger and younger ages.
Staff morale, and the problems of funding the NHS, will only improve when money is spent on more effective medical therapies, and treatments that do not cause additional disease, and are capable of actually making patients better. It would be a win for government funding, a win for the NHS, a win for doctors and nurses, and most certainly a win for patients.