COUNTY councillor Tony Sutcliffe has spoken out about the NHS after last week’s news that a ward at Bognor Regis War Memorial Hospital is to be closed.
He says he will use his membership of the council’s health and adult care select committee to battle for the best for the hospital. The committee reviews and scrutinises health services in the county.
He is also a outpatient at one of the many clinics which operate at the Shripney Road hospital.
As reported, the Sussex Community NHS Trust says a lack of nurses is behind the temporary closure of Don Baines Ward. Its 24 beds are used to rehabilitate patients before they are fit to be discharged back into the community.
Patients currently being treated there are not being replaced until more nurses can be found.
“Rumours of the closure of Bognor Regis War Memorial Hospital are unfounded, though one ward is closing temporarily, said Cllr Sutcliffe (UKIP, Nyetimber):
“I am both a member of the county council’s health and adult social care select committee and a regular out-patient at Bognor, so this issue has special significance for me.
“My particular interest in health issues follows the death of a neighbour three years ago, which was a heart-breaking time for my wife and I as we battled to obtain decent care for our friend.
“It was frighteningly apparent that, whilst individual doctors and health professionals do a wonderful job, our treasured NHS is increasingly disorganised, fragmented and sufffocating under a burden of box-ticking over-management.
“My late mother was a nurse, long before the NHS evolved and was a patient in later life, so witnessed some drastic changes.
“Among the silliest ideas were the abolition of matrons and the substitution of nursing degrees for hands-on experience.
“These and other ‘innovations’ have contributed to the demoralisation of nursing in particular and a loss of faith in the medical profession in general.
“Recruitment to nursing has been cut while the NHS seeks ready-trained nurses from overseas to make up the numbers. This is both immoral and counter-productive.
“Filipino nurses are, in my considerable experience, among the most efficient and hard-working, but why are we taking them away from a country that desperately needs them in order to slash our own training costs?
“Some NHS managers are essential and some business practices are necessary to ensure value for money, but not at the expense of patient care.
“Every one of us, whatever our job, trade or profession, wants to feel valued and that we actually achieve something in our work, rather than merely being paid for it, and that includes health professionals and managers.
“Our elderly friend needed a few, familiar, kindly, efficient people to deal with his pain and distress and make his passing as peaceful, dignified and comfortable as possible.
“What he got was a processsion of well-intentioned but largely incomprehensible and disconnected experts who came and went like some turbo-charged conveyor belt.
“People need people, not paperwork or computers, especially when we are sick.
“If I can help to bring back just a little bit of humanity to our brilliant, but dysfunctional, NHS, then my job will certainly be worthwhile.
“And I will fight tooth and nail for Bognor Hospital because my life, literally, depends on it!”