KELLY HOLMES & DAME EDNA : Portrait of the NHS

Picture Dame Edna Everage and Kelly Holmes doing a three legged race and you’ve got the NHS in one. Half of it fleet of foot and pure of spirit; half a plodding, over-fed, over-padded behemoth that can barely walk never mind run.

There’s nothing wrong with the NHS that an efficiency expert couldn’t sort out in a tick. I know you don’t call them ‘efficiency experts’ here as efficiency is akin to a curse word in certain strata of UK culture. The concept of something working ‘to the best of its ability in a timely and effective fashion’ smacks of behavior most exhibited by those God-awful Germans or their even stranger bedfellows the Japanese.

Of course this is nonsense. Things are supposed to work or run properly or why have them in the first place. That is what efficiency is all about. And frankly if you were ever going to want to see efficiency somewhere the place you would most want to see it in is a hospital.

A few years ago Morag was stuck in the hospital (no it was not because she was fat) for the better part of 6 months. I spend all my time kissing the ground for the care I received there; it was in a Central London hospital in an ok-ish postcode. Except for one jumped-up little intern who said on the first day that he couldn’t understand why time and money was being wasted on my situation (Morag still chuckles when she remembers how she sorted out his bedside manner) – the care was impeccable. And yes this was before anyone might possibly have recognized Morag from out-and-about; this was just the care that was on offer.

I was once one of those dreaded ‘efficiency experts’ – went into businesses, highlighted plusses and minuses – upped one, eradicated the other. So I can tell you as someone proficient in sorting out operating systems; and someone who has also been inside the NHS and observed it at close quarters for an extended period of time – it is a mess. An absolute, unadulterated, Grade A MESS.

Being in the hospital for that length of time gave me an opportunity to observe how things are run in an average NHS hospital (and this one is rated as one of the best). The waste is indescribable. The slipshod monitoring systems, beyond the pale. What is killing the NHS is the beaurocracy not the lack of money.

Get some proper efficiency experts in there, not just a group of people who are friends of whichever government is currently in place – and sort it out. The last time I looked I think the figure was in the neighborhood of 7 to 1 for administrative to medical staff. In what sort of business would that make any kind of sense. And I have seen what these people get up to. Nurses and doctors working all the hours that God sends while the office staff are strolling around with clipboards and cups of coffee. Enough to make your blood boil. Yes you do need administrative staff, yes some of the currrent staff are excellent but there are too many of them and what the hell are they doing anyway.

So here’s the prescription: Give the NHS administration a high colonic and flush out all the unnecessary backroom staff. Update the systems so that it is run like a 21st century entity then take the newly-found surplus and update the facilities.

The NHS cannot continue to lumber on in the state it is now in – it will die, plain and simple. With the best will in the world Kelly can only drag Dame Edna a short distance before she just kerflapses. The NHS is something for this country to be proud of. If the Conservative Party wants to solidify its position as the party that gets the job done it could do worse than sort out the NHS .



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3 responses to “KELLY HOLMES & DAME EDNA : Portrait of the NHS

  1. Ray

    I agree. However, it is precisely this sort of talk that frightens the horses. Labour have deceived the electorate into thinking that more money means better services.

    Cameron would have to use much softer rhetoric to get this message across.

    But I agree with you here.

  2. Morag is humbled, she knows she tends to get a bit overexcited sometimes… BUT……maybe it is about just quietly going about instituiting changes in one or two small areas that we can get our hands on and then when we have the positive results to show THEN we bring it out as a major platform. So for now keep relatively soft, do a wee bit of fixing, then come out blazing when we have proved our pudding.

  3. The Observer


    I feel that I’ve heard your story before somewhere but I just can’t recall where!

    I had to attend hospital two days ago for a check-up after having an operation two years ago.

    My appointment had been postponed at least six times since the end of last year but since I was reaching one of them there targets I knew I wouldn’t be posponed this time.

    When I arrived I was asked to go for an X-Ray and when I arrived in the department there was a sign on the wall, which roughly said ‘Due to unforseen circumstances there is a 45 minute waiting time.’

    Sure enough, 45 minutes later a nice young Irish man was took a picture of me. Being rather busy at the moment I wanted to be out of the hospital as soon as I could and I got up too soon and almost head butted the moving arm which is pulled down to take the X-Ray. I explained to the young man that my mind what in a bit of a whirl because I was so busy and he replied. ‘We’ve been like that all week. It’s not so bad today’.

    When I asked the cause of the delay, since they weren’t busy, he told me that was a short length of time to wait, now it is normally about double that. The reason for the wait? The hospital is in debt and as people are leaving they aren’t being replaced. The patients just have to wait while the staff have to absorb the extra workload.


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