I have an aunt who has lived in London for years, She is in her late 60's early 70's (I don't like to ask ladies ages) and has needed the NHS a fair bit over the past few years. Recently she has returned to Scotland and of course everything has been transferred with her. We were talking the other day and she was discussing the NHS in our part of the world and my first thought was oh no, what have we done. Turns out it was the exact opposite, she was so impressed with our services, she pointed out that in London if she goes to A&E she waits for hours - despite the 4 hour target - when she goes to our hospital for a clinic appointment she is seen pretty much on time and there is a notice stating "if you have waited 20 minutes past your appointment time come to the desk and let us know". She also feels that up here the consultant she sees is willing and wants do more for her. So all in all a very satisfied patient who is glad that she has come home.
Now, I understand that direct comparisons are difficult and that London has huge problems that we don't but the experience of my family (her daughter and grand daughter) are that in Scotland we are doing it better.
I want to make it absolutely clear that I am in no way getting at London hospitals or the English NHS workers who I am sure are working as best they can with what they have. What I am trying to compare is that if you spend a bit more money and have a higher ratio of doctors and nurses to patients then things can be better
This report in The Telegraph makes for sad(angry) reading, I have commented in other places that management level never seem to be cut, it is always the front line staff who go. It is always nurses, porters, cleaners and now doctors who are cut. How do know when a politician is lying to you? - Their lips are moving.
Before their are more Stafford's, can I remind you of something I wrote in January;
Recently we had the horror of Mid Stafford where over 1000 people may have died unnecessarily - why? Well here is a quote which may help point you in the right direction
"Over the years, many clinicians had noticed deterioration in the standards of patient care, which became particularly acute approximately three years ago when major cutbacks were made in staffing numbers. This included a savage reduction in the number of nursing staff."
As Scotland is in charge of it's own NHS then perhaps we can avoid the worst excesses of the Westminster government. But I am not hopeful especially if Westminster cuts the budget.
I would love to see a hung parliament on Friday 7th May with SNP and Plaid Cymru having deciding votes.