Judy Viitanen and PRimage were interested to learn that our ‘premier in waiting’ Gordon Brown pledged to a forum of NHS patients and workers that he would listen to their concerns, and he promised: “We can do things better in the future.” Speaking at an event in central London organised by health foundation the King’s Fund and Age Concern, Brown said the government should not just “pull levers”. At the beginning of the event, 37% of audience members thought the NHS would improve and 41% felt it would get worse. But by the end of the debate a huge leap saw 67% feeling it would improve and 24% saying it would get worse. “We want an NHS still free at the point of need but it has got to be better,” he said. Mr Brown, who spent much of the afternoon in discussion with people at the event, said he was interested to hear what was being said about hospitals. Most worries appeared not to be about surgical care but issues such as hospital food, cleanliness and MRSA, he added.
This is the latest of several very high profile pledges and comments on the NHS that Gordon Brown has made in recent weeks. Judy Viitanen believes it’s simply not enough for him to repeat the mantra that “we have got to listen and learn more…there is no point in having a debate like this if nothing happens from it.” When he takes over from Bair (and hopefully appoints a new Health Secretary), patients and healthcare professionals will be closely watching and expecting that these pledges will be actioned.
As PRimage has commented in previous NHS blogs, out of hours care is shambolic – and needs to be sorted out asap. Judy Viitanen hopes that Mr Brown is sincere in his sentiments that he feels strongly that there needs to be a range of services at a local level that were more accessible to people, particularly out of hours and at weekends, so patients were not forced to go to accident and emergency wards. And we again remind him to factor community pharmacy into these range of services: they really are ‘the front door to the health service!”
Actions speak louder than words Mr Brown ……..