Ross Nursing Services Ltd on health and social care in the UK

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Published:
06:00 23 June 2022



I was a registered nurse for 50 years and own a home care business – we provide carers to look after people in their homes.

It will be obvious to most that there is a crisis in the provision of health and social care, not just in Uttlesford/NW Essex, but across the country.

I want to give my perspective on how we got into this situation and make some suggestions on what could be done to get out of it.

People want care and just don’t get it. There is a delicate ecosystem of interdependent care providers in this country.

General practitioners, hospitals, nursing homes and nursing homes, district nurses and home care providers must all work efficiently to provide care for a growing elderly population, as well as people suffering from various chronic illnesses and those requiring palliative (end of life) care.

Many GPs have left the profession and those who remain are working frantically to see as many patients as possible. Some parts of the country have little or no GP coverage and the same goes for the dental profession.

People who cannot access GP services in a timely manner resort to accident and emergency services and, in turn, they are overburdened.

People admitted to hospital and receiving effective treatment are not being discharged in a timely manner because there is a shortage of care in the community.

The entire system is under increasing pressure due to understaffing and increased demand for services. Unless solutions are found, it will completely fail.

Unfortunately, Brexit has resulted in many foreign health and social care workers leaving the country and for some reason not returning.

Covid and subsequent lockdowns have put the sector under immense further pressure and the furlough system, while meeting a need at the time, has led to people being sent home and they too have not resumed their work, they are essential.

This situation has been exacerbated by media portrayals of social workers as low status and poorly paid.

My own company offers competitive pay rates well above minimum wage and a high level of training and continuing professional development for staff.

Caring for someone is hard work, often required at odd hours, but it’s one of the most rewarding jobs you can do.

In home care, you may be the only person a patient sees all day and the difference your care can make is often immeasurable.

However, we are still struggling to recruit staff, along with all the other care companies in the country as well as the NHS.

So what can be done? As I said, this is a problem facing the whole country and we cannot afford to pay for health and social care and the NHS in its current form.

The elderly population is increasing, the active population, paying the bill, is decreasing.

Politicians of all stripes fear this fact and the inherently short-sighted outlook of repeated governments has led to tinkering with the system rather than tackling the larger problems.

When the NHS was created in 1947, no one imagined that it would have to cope with the demands we place on it today.

With more complicated operations, new drugs, more people requiring a variety of treatments because they are living longer with many layers of disease and now a pandemic.

Ultimately, a new funding model is needed to help put the whole system on a sustainable footing.

We should take politics out of the equation and call on Westminster to set up a cross-party commission to look at what needs to be done and commit to taking the necessary steps to act on its findings.

One measure worth seriously considering is a minor charge, say £5 for a visit to a GP and £10 to visit A&E or an outpatient clinic.

This would eliminate time wasters, those who do not show up for appointments and those who use hospitals as a pharmacy.

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