Friday, October 12, 2007

C.diff and an NHS unresponsive to the people it serves: massive health issues. Lets address health, properly defined, in all its dimensions.

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C. difficile is a massive problem for the NHS. At the same time the culture of the NHS is such that it is not responsive to the people it serves. The facts show this very clearly - and I, like many others, have recent, direct, personal experience of both C. difficile in a family member resulting in death, and poor responsiveness from the service. Technical capabilities in the NHS are often fantastic (though technical matters have 'gone astray' in places - overuse/misuse/abuse of antibiotics being the root cause of superbugs like C. diff and MRSA). Some very caring and committed people work in the NHS - BUT the emphasis on CARE as well as on prevention is in my view poor, especially for the elderly.

I want an NHS that pays as much attention to social and mental needs as it does physical ones, and medical/technical capabilities (it wont actually be adressing health, properly defined, if it does not do this, since health is about having a good physical, mental, social balance). I want it to be much more focussed on prevention of health problems than it is. I want services to be available to people locally. I want funding to enable all these things to be of a high standard and am willing to pay more in taxes, as required, to get it as well as being willing to advocate this politically. My view is that if people see the tax as fair and necessary and see that the income is used well they are willing to pay it.

Schumacher Lectures in Bristol, this weekend.

The arguments put by Mark Lynas in a piece in the Evening Post yesterday are very strong indeed. We do need to stop rising global carbon emissions within a decade; we are into deep water, great uncertainty and much higher risk if we dont; pessimists are really those who talk about 'politically possible' solutions and not those who indicate how grave the situation truly is; meeting the climate challenge can improve our lives at the same time; technology alone wont solve our problems; biofuels aren't the solution due to needing land for other purposes, like food production; we do need to lower energy demand as well as go for renewable energy; we do need to develop a far less growth-centred approach to economics...

Mark is giving one of the Schumacher Lectures, this weekend in Bristol, so I may well post more on the topics raised and any related areas in the coming days. I've been to several Schumacher Lectures but dont really feel comfortable with some of the views and attitudes I've experienced - probably because of my strong rationalist leanings (and possibly my working class background). I dont go in for all the 'spiritual' stuff in the way some fans of the Schumacher Lectures do, though I do agree strongly with most of the economic and technological ideas and have read and been inspired by E F Schumacher's books, like 'Small is Beautiful'.