No chance of dignity under our health and care system

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From: Malcolm Naylor, Otley.

YOUR Editorial analysis of the latest initiative for care of the elderly and disabled, the Dignity Code (Yorkshire Post, February 23) succinctly put its finger on why it won’t work. It is an old idea that’s been tried before and didn’t work then and won’t work now. And the Yorkshire Post editorial identified the reasons. These were: will it work and is it time for care to be the responsibility of one separate ministry?

It may work temporarily but as before will revert to ignoring the patient. It all depends on the temperament and stress levels of those doing the caring. The answer to the second is also not since the intention of Tory reforms to break the NHS into pieces for privatisation.

What we have is the NHS equivalent of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle which postulates you can know the position of a particle but not how fast it is going or you may know how fast it is but not where it is.

The NHS version: you may know where a patient is, but not where they are going or know where they are going but not where they are.

A friend of mine with Parkinson’s went into the LGI with a broken leg and during one month was moved eight times – always without warning and consultation and always at night. Moves were between bays, between wings, between hospitals and even to a nursing home before suddenly being ejected at one hour’s notice, back home. Patients are moved around like tins of beans on supermarket shelves and are seldom talked to directly. What chance has a Dignity Code against this?

The uncertainty principle also applies to staff that don’t know how they relate to other care agencies. And as for the complaints system – forget it! Invisible matrons hide in offices to avoid patients and an army of bureaucrats in “patient relations” deny responsibility.

The Dignity Code is just another diversion from the real solution identified by your Editorial. It is a National Health and Care system.

From: Pam Johnson, UNISON Yorkshire and Humberside Regional Manager/Head of Health, Wade Lane, Leeds.

YOUR Editorial (Yorkshire Post, February 21) is correct; the Government is in denial over the NHS but it ignores the strength of public feeling about the NHS and the Health and Social Care Bill at its peril. The Bill should be scrapped now. Far from being vested interests afraid of change, or resisting change they don’t like, all those organisations currently opposing the Bill which include staff working in the NHS have been involved in almost constant change in recent years.

Change that brought the NHS to a point two years ago where patient satisfaction levels were at an all-time high, waiting lists were at an all-time low and what the NHS needed to look forward to was a period of stability in which good practice could be shared and embedded for the benefit of patients. That’s why David Cameron’s broken election promises about no top-down change have come back to haunt him and why people don’t trust him with the NHS. Andrew Lansley struggles to get the message across because it is a bad message as well as being badly communicated.

The changes the Government proposes do not reduce bureaucracy – and let’s not forget that our excellent clinicians rely on those who book appointments, plan services and manage the finances so that they can get on with treating patients – nor do they save money. The reforms simply shift the responsibility around.

From: Susan M Dennis, South Grange, Laverton, Ripon.

WOULD most patients notice if doctors took industrial action (Yorkshire Post, February 27)?

Since the lovely Mrs Hewitt became their fairy godmother a few years ago, and increased their pay so colossally, most of them now don’t need to work full-time, nights or weekends!

From: Aled Jones, Mount Crescent, Bridlington.

BOTH the Blair and Cameron administrations have failed to make the necessary investment in our NHS, and this is down to the fact that as a nation we are flat broke.

We are flat broke because, quite simply, we are losing too much valuable income to the EU (more than £30m a day!) and also to the Third World in foreign aid. This money is equivalent to many hundreds of pounds per family each year.

I wholeheartedly believe that, until such a time as our own house is in order, we should not be spending a single penny on the bureaucrats in Brussels or on Third World hand-outs.