For 2018 doctors and those concerned for the NHS will have a wishlist for the repair and improvement of UK health services. Here are my top ten:
- More spending on wellness and less on repair. Many of us want to see a national Health service rather than an a national illness service, and 2018 could be the year when Jeremy Hunt (or a new health secretary) makes this a priority. More resources expended on education about diet and exercise, more fighting drug and alcohol abuse and more self-checking and scanning.
- Priority given to young people’s health, especially mental health. This means a continuing openness about suicides and stress, more CBT resources and measures to combat the societal pressures that are creating an epidemic of depression and anxiety.
- More resources for the NHS by introducing widespread economies and cost saving measures, especially over inefficiency, wastage and high drug costs.
- Better use of computing power to create a “fuzzy” picture of every individual’s health;
- Special exemption from immigration controls for anyone who has been working in the NHS for more than 2 years to counter the damaging effects of Brexit.
- Support work on new robots – like Amazon’s Alexa only more chatty and conversational – to help counter loneliness amongst older people.
- Encourage more intergenerational living to help generations to help each other to live more healthily, through measures in housing policy and tax rules.
- Fight the spread of antibiotic resistance by outlawing the use of preventative antibiotics in farming.
- Create a “no blame” culture so that instead of covering their backsides, medics are genuinely interested to discover the causes of errors and mis-treatments, and encourage constructive peer criticism.
- For every patient leaving hospital give them a note telling them how much their treatment has cost and suggesting constructive ways these costs might be reduced in future for them or others.
If this wishlist were implemented government would truly be seen to be following the maxim that “the health of the people is the highest law”.