I’ve just heard a truly shocking story. A neighbour, left brain damaged by a haemorrhage, arrived at St Richard’s hospital in Chichester on Tuesday afternoon for her check-up. She was discharged at 2 am. No beds or ambulances were available and she was sent out into the night, and of course a blizzard.
One shouldn't extrapolate that this represents standard NHS care; it doesn’t. But care is hindered by a lack of resources and facilities. Despite throwing money at the NHS, vast areas of the country remain ill-equipped, and not merely at Britain’s rural extremities. For example, there is no specialist cardiac unit between London and Portsmouth. Feel your left arm go tense in Petworth and start trusting to God.
Greater local and expert medical involvement in the management of hospitals will unquestionably improve the standard of care by concentrating on results and outcomes that do not leave old dears on the street in the middle of the night; that ambition deserves support. But the Tories will meet potentially immovable obstacles when allocating resources to effect that local revolution and in overcoming a system that perpetuates inequality yet remains inexplicably sacrosanct. The Tories launched their election campaign with their health policy; it failed to address these questions.