The NHS has had a rough time over the last few years. The bad press following Mid Staffs has been relentless and staff morale is low.
Nevertheless the NHS is a wonderful institution – probably the greatest health economy in the world. Over a million staff perform near miracles on a daily basis. Yes it has its faults but the bad press seems disproportionate.
The problem is that unjustified bad press causes real harm to real people. There is strong evidence that patients outcomes are influenced by their expectations. At the very least you are more likely to be frightened and will perceive your experience to be worse if you do not have faith in the treatment you receive. Worse, there is a real evidence that your risk of complications and even death is significantly increased by anxiety and stress.
Clinical staff subjected to disproportionate or unjustified criticism are also likely to feel stressed. Sickness increases, staffing ratios go down and it gets harder to demonstrate genuine compassion. Doctors and nurses are human – cut them and they bleed.
So while the casual, unthinking swipe at the NHS by a national newspaper may be good for their circulation it will damage real people and some may die.
On the other hand good news about the NHS will improve morale and enhance the experience of our patients. Outcomes will be better and it will become easier to make improvements.
Big Up the NHS was started on Twitter (@butNHS) in an attempt to address this imbalance. It has been successful but short tweets can only give a hint of the real story.
This site is a place where people can share their stories in a bit more detail. It will consist entirely of guest blogs and stories submitted from patients, public and NHS staff. I hope the quality will be high and it will be a place that you come for information and inspiration for many years to come.