Hospital Ward. Photo: Alex/CC
Hospital Ward. Photo: Alex/CC

Andrew Bromhall, retired NHS worker, Swansea and West Wales Socialist Party

Nearly every day we hear news reports on the state of the NHS. Accident and emergency departments at breaking point, ambulances queueing outside for hours with crews unable to offload seriously ill, vulnerable patients.

The present Tory government would have us believe that the NHS is broken beyond repair and can only be rescued by comprehensive ‘reforms’ which, if they have their way, would entail the wholesale privatisation of services. Their vulture-like cronies are waiting in the wings to take advantage of multi-million pound contracts to provide ‘improved outcomes’ for beleaguered NHS patients.

Health secretary Steve Barclay has recently announced plans for the NHS to treat 50,000 patients in ‘virtual wards’ at home.

He says this will cut ambulance response times and pressures on A&E. His department has stated that “urgent community response teams” will be created and will provide patients with “home support” within two hours of discharge from A&E. This is a short-sighted, knee-jerk reaction doomed to failure. No new money has been earmarked to support it, without which recruitment of extra staff to provide this service will be nigh on impossible.

It is suggested that patients who have serious illnesses such as acute respiratory and cardiac conditions, and the frail elderly, be cared for at home – patients who would be cared for much more safely within a hospital environment.