Why the NHS is becoming the workplace from hell

To me, the most intriguing aspect of the recent riots was what happened two days later. For the first time ever I could walk at night in the centre of Manchester, feeling completely safe because of the frequent police foot patrols - something citizens have been requesting nationwide for years.

The GP Record, by Fran Orford www.francartoons.com
The GP Record, by Fran Orford www.francartoons.com

Then there was the emergency debate, with politicians meeting in shocked silence, aware that their cherished beliefs about society, community policing and the legal system had just gone up in smoke. Society is broken, intoned the prime minister.

Yes, it is, and it's been broken from the top down. Over the past five decades the politicians have ignored ordinary people's opinions and created a society which penalises and devalues the hard-working, law-abiding majority, while simultaneously excusing wrong-doing and failing to control it. This classic Skinnerian conditioning has created disrespect for the law from all quarters, no respect for belongings, financial envy, a distrust of authority figures and a profound sense of hopelessness in those who try to behave decently.

Clearly, our politicians know all about human rights, but can't cope with human wrongs. Worse - they have created a society which belittles anyone who dares to suggest an alternative approach.

The NHS is part of this organisational brokenness. What patients need are doctors quickly, at the time of need. What the public doesn't want - as with previous policing methods - are depleted levels of frontline staff, their presence minimised because remote managers need them to attend unnecessary meetings, collect unnecessary data and receive unnecessary training.

Society's current distrust of authority figures has been a potent trigger for introducing revalidation, PCT inspections and the Care Quality Commission - all of which will further divert clinicians from seeing patients. Yet while requiring its doctors to undergo ever more rigorous assessment, NHS managers who behave incompetently are seldom disciplined.

This is the modern NHS: hypocritical, incompetent, inefficient and unjust - and for dispirited clinicians, increasingly becoming the workplace from hell.

Yes, Mr Cameron, our society is broken - and that includes the NHS. Your move.

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