the NHS, national jewel at the heart of the debates

Premature premises, shortage of staff, low salaries … The British health system has never been so bad and could suffer a lot from Brexit.

Time to Reading 5 min.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on a visit to the Royal Mansfield Hospital on November 8. POOL / REUTERS

Bristol, early in the morning. It rains in icy cold drops, the students win, in procession, the faculty on the heights of the city. Two steps away, the Royal Hospital, adult section on one side, children on the other. At this time, the welcome is quiet within the facility, we cross a few families with babies in pastel corridors, we see a Wallace and a Gromit giants in a recess, nurses who are busy. Administrative buildings are adjoining.

There is another story: cramped offices, quirky stairs, "Not sure whether it's fire-fighting standards," Hanna slipped (her name was changed), a secretary working for two cardiologists. She has been employed for ten years in the NHS (National Health Service), the British health system. The largest employer in the United Kingdom (with 1.5 million employees), it is a huge liner, providing free medical care to all British since it was created in 1948 by the Labor government of Clement Attlee.

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He finds himself in the heart of the British general election campaign – it will be held on December 12 – with each of the two main camps, Conservative and Labor, engaged in a bidding up of promises to restore this national jewel. Because the NHS is today in crisis: with the aging of the population, the crisis of vocations, the stagnation of the investments, it is difficult to maintain a reputed service of excellence.

On Thursday, November 14, the last official statistics were published: only 83.6% of the patients who passed through the hospital emergency services in October 2019 were "Treated" (admitted, returned, treated) within four hours of arrival, the lowest performance in this area since the collection of these data began, in July 2015. Other lights are red, as wait times for see a specialist for treatment for cancer, or the shortage of nurses and midwives (40,000 vacancies).

"Flexible schedules"

Hanna is worried. She claims to have seen gradually the situation of " his " doctors and nurses degrade. She tells "Those nurses who do not stay because of the flexible schedules", those who "Would have made perfect pediatric professionals, but did not have the money for training". She talks about the doctors she works with, the waiting lists of small patients to manage for operations (several months of waiting) on ​​that of one of the two cardiologists. For all that, she assures "The quality of care is very good".


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