It is a relief.
Finally people from all over the country, people who understand the issues, are talking openly about the very serious difficulties that the country is facing with Accident and Emergency services.
The openness we are seeing here now can be seen as one of the positive side effects of the Francis report into Mid Staffs. Here hundreds of people were pilloried for not having noticed anything unusual at Stafford Hospital
What Clinicians saw in Stafford was a run of the mill hospital suffering run of the mill problems. For a while I think it was worse than that and there were reasons why the impact of an ageing population which is now being blamed for the national crisis in A&E was felt particularly strongly in Stafford. I will explore these reasons in a later blog.
Now nationally clinicians and NHS Managers, perhaps mindful of the way their colleagues were attacked for not telling us about the pressures they were under, are speaking out. They are telling us loud and clear that the system faces collapse, and they have identified the key matters of the ageing population, how acute care is funded, the lack of viable alternatives to Acute Care, and the way in which Primary, Secondary and community care currently fail to work together.
It is good that we are finally hearing these voices. Finding the solutions to the huge problems they are telling us about is going to be a major challenge to the fragile and imperfect systems that we have for making decisions. It is also going to be a huge challenge to the media. We do absolutely need the media to help get across to people the complex challenges, and the difficult choices we may need to make.
Stafford is again going to find itself at the centre of a very important story as over the next few months we move towards a conclusion to the Administration process that will decide the future of our hospital. For those of us who are deeply involved in this we know that any structural solution that is hammered out is really only the very beginning of a long process that will aim to work out how to deliver the right care in the right place, and how to manage rising demand with shrinking budgets.
I hope that Stafford will attract the support of many people who have the expertise to try to make an integrated care system happen. We are the forerunners. What happens here will matter across the country.
Here is some of the mainstream media coverage of the A&E crisis.
Here is the report on Emergency medicine http://secure.collemergencymed.ac.uk/Shop-Floor/Professional%20Standards/Quality%20in%20the%20Emergency%20Department/
I am also going to make an exception to my normal practice and include a video from @chunkymark. Please do not click on this link if you are easily offended, because it does contain a staggering amount of swearing.
I have included it because it really does indicate the fury that is felt by so many people in the country about the perceived threat to the NHS. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WGW5cxFXb6Q
I think that the government has a choice, It can work with the people of Stafford who are trying quietly to express their needs, and their fears, http://www.supportstaffordhospital.co.uk/marchpics.html or it can wait for the wrath of @chunkymark and the many who feel as he does.