The NHS is a failed institution

New polling shows the British public is waking up to the shameful state of British healthcare

Artillery Row

A recent British Social Attitudes poll provides grim reading for our publicly-funded healthcare system, with public satisfaction with the NHS dropping to its lowest level for 25 years during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

While leading figures in the NHS may predictably blame “underfunded services” and “overstretched staff”, this does not even come close to telling the whole story. There are serious cultural problems which have taken root in a state-backed healthcare system which is failing to fulfil its bread-and-butter responsibilities — and it has cost lives. 

Senior midwife Donna Ockenden’s examination of maternity practices at Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust (SaTH), over a twenty-year period, concluded that catastrophic failures may have contributed towards the deaths of more than 200 babies and nine mothers, as well as leaving other infants with life-changing injuries. Welcome to one of the most advanced industrialised societies on Earth. 

Less of the clapping, more investigations needed

Shropshire is not the only area where the quality of pregnancy and maternity care has been called into question. In recent times, independent investigations have been ordered into services in Cumbria, East Kent, Nottingham and South Wales. The latest Care Quality Commission (CQC) figures showed that over four in ten — 41 per cent — of units need to improve their safety, with a paltry 1 per cent rated as “outstanding”. The CQC says the rate of improvement is not good enough. 

Quite frankly, the Shrewsbury and Telford maternity scandal should be treated as a watershed moment. We need a nationwide independent review into pregnancy and maternity care in our “beloved” NHS, which is certainly not deserving of worship as a sacred institution by the ever-so-grateful masses. 

While the NHS all too often has been described as a “political football”, we mustn’t ignore the reality that it is increasingly becoming an ideological hub of social activists who abuse their position of authority at the expense of patient safety. In fact, I would go as far as saying — especially in light of the devastating findings on the dire standard of maternity services in Shrewsbury and Telford — that the NHS is now one of the most anti-women institutions in modern-day Britain. 

Funded by British taxpayers, the NHS is a supposedly “world-beating” public healthcare system which has fallen to trans-radical capture. It has recently been alleged that a woman was raped in an NHS hospital by a biologically male patient who identified as a female. When the police investigated, they were told by NHS staff that “there was no male” on the single-sex ward — “therefore the rape could not have happened”. Less of the clapping, more investigations needed.

The case has been highlighted in the Upper Chamber by Conservative peer Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne, who has correctly stated that current NHS policy on single-sex wards gives priority to trans people over women. Lady Nicholson, like others, is of the view that this incident is a direct result of the NHS’s dangerous Annex B policy — which allows patients to be placed on single-sex wards on the basis of gender self-identification. The policy states that trans people should be accommodated “according to their presentation: the way they dress, and the name and pronouns they currently use” — rather than their biological sex at birth. What could possibly go wrong?

The NHS is simply not fit-for-purpose

It is clear as day that the UK now has a publicly-funded healthcare system that implements policies in line with the core tenets of radical transgenderism — which in turn undermines women’s rights and threatens their safety in the most sensitive of spaces. The NHS also comes with a bloated layer of “diversity, equality and inclusion professionals” that does very little in terms of serving the broader public interest. All too often, these lavishly-paid positions are occupied by those who are more interested in politicising the NHS’s internal structures, instead of making them more responsive to our ever-diversifying population’s health-related needs. 

An especially egregious example was an NHS blog authored by Aishnine Benjamin — at the time the “equality, diversity and inclusion lead” at the Nursing and Midwifery Council. In her blog, Benjamin essentially told white people in the UK to “educate” themselves about their racial “privilege” and “fragility” — an instruction unlikely to go down well with the white mothers from provincial towns such as Shrewsbury and Telford, who lost their babies as a result of severe NHS negligence. 

What was also astonishing was the depressing reality that a “diversity professional” at the Nursing and Midwifery Council thought it was a better use of her time to write a blog on why white people need to learn about their “racial fragility”, instead of authoring one that raised awareness of the fact that black British mothers are four times more likely to die at childbirth than their white British peers. 

There are marginalised “harder-to-reach” sections of British society which face social and cultural barriers when it comes to accessing the healthcare services they need. Local NHS trusts in diverse urban areas need to develop strong relationships with well-respected civic organisations that can act as “connectors” to traditionally distrustful communities. In modern-day Britain, tailored health awareness interventions for different communities are required when coordinating wider public-health strategies. This should be the bread-and-butter work for NHS professionals in the “equality and inclusion” space — but as it stands, many of these “racial-justice warriors” are failing local communities across the country.

It comes as no surprise to me that public satisfaction in the NHS is at its lowest point in the past quarter of a century. The counter-productive sanctification of the NHS means that serious institutional mistakes and major organisational weaknesses are seldom admitted and recognised. The dogmatic worshipping of the NHS is beyond toxic and has fostered a culture of unaccountability at the heart of a public institution we are asked to protect at all costs. This is not a sustainable state of affairs. 

It is time to be honest with ourselves. While it is an integral part of our welfare state, the NHS is simply not fit-for-purpose — far too often, it fails to take care of the most vulnerable and in need. Britain must act.

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