Letter from the Editor, February 2015

I’m getting the feeling that warnings from the health service concerning the future of the NHS are finally beginning to get heard over the political din.

There have been some serious ly close shaves over the past few weeks in various A&E departments where capacity has been brimming and staff have feared a point where it would overspill. It’s getting to the point where it’s clear that if there was a serious epidemic such as the flu outbreak seen last winter, the NHS would be in serious trouble. Would a hospital ever have to close its doors and turn people away? Can you imagine the fallout, the public anger?

The British public are pretty calm when it comes to failing public services; whether having to wait in queues or dealing with mindless red tape and bureaucracy; that same grim faced determination sets in, time and again.

That same determination sees us deal with disasters, flooding, draught, snow and so on but I think, even a partial collapse of the NHS would be the final straw. The day that an A&E department closes its doors will surely be the day that British people lose that legendary patience.

The NHS and the way British people see themselves in the world are very much inter-linked. It isn’t that we take privileges such as free education and free healthcare at the point of need for granted; in fact it’s quite the opposite. Even in the rest of the English speaking world it’s difficult to find a national health security scheme to rival our own. Without the NHS Britain just wouldn’t be all the things we thought it was – fair, just and driven by equality.

As we’ve explored over recent issues of Civvy Street, the medical sector needs people with the right qualifications and attitude to come in and make a difference. If there was ever a group of people suited to change management and stabilising a volatile situation it must be Service-leavers. Helping to save the NHS could be your most vital mission yet.

Tom Jamison, Editor

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