Our MD Don Tomlinson has written a blog in response to Monday's BBC Panorama programme 'NHS - A Perfect Storm'.

He discusses the major ‪#‎NHS‬ 'pain points' - from the UK's aging population to a shift in culture and society.

The NHS came into being, along with British Rail, independence for Burma & Ceylon, the State of Israel, the world’s first storage computer (invented in Manchester) and I was born!

This week BBC1 Panorama aired “NHS – The Perfect Storm” which was set in Liverpool (where I was born) and made fascinating watching as I was able to relate to the places, the people and the accent!

I remember reading somewhere that the labour party’s original plan for the NHS was to remove the fear of falling ill and not being able to access treatment, or of financial ruin if you did - that was and still is a huge social achievement.

However the years of 1948 and 2015 are worlds apart.  Back in 1948 the United Kingdom still had rationing and many foods continued to be in short supply.  Now we have an epidemic of obesity and this all has to be freely treated on the NHS.

In 1948 the average life expectancy was men 66, women 71.  This has increased by 11 years to men 77, women 82 – all freely treated on the NHS.

In 1948 unemployment was very low and mostly manual labour.  From 1971 until 2015 unemployment rate in the United Kingdom averaged 7.23 percent and much of the work is now “service industry” driven with more and more people sitting in front of computer screens for many hours of the day.

I also believe back in the “old days” we were much more self-sufficient – we had to be!  The cultural norm nowadays seems to be more one of blame, “not my fault”, “I need someone to help me” type of approach.

I am now the MD of Max20 (https://www.max20.com/) who are one of the largest non-medical and non-clinical independent recruiters in the NHS, and we have seen a real increase in the number of specialist IT roles coming in to be filled.

The definition of a Perfect Storm is a particularly violent storm arising from a rare combination of adverse meteorological factors.  And in general terms this translates to an event where a rare combination of circumstances will aggravate a situation drastically. 

This is precisely what the BBC Panorama programme set out to show – that our NHS is heading for such a situation.

With our aging population, not looking after themselves properly (diet, lifestyle, lack of exercise) and a shift in cultural norms, what hope is there for us and our precious NHS?

The programme set out to show that there are solutions based upon much more care in the community and less reliance on people taking up valuable hospital resources at premium rates of £500 per day compared with £750 per week for the equivalent care in the community.

However we then start to see the real life problems associated with “not joined up” services between the NHS and Public Health/Social Services.  Perhaps initiatives like Devolution Manchester where the passing down of real power from central government to local government can, if successful, shine a beacon of hope for the future?



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