The Nursing Times reports on the falling number of nurses and midwives registered to work in the UK over the past few months.
Perhaps this does not matter to most of us as we worry about whether to buy our Christmas from John Lewis or J D Wetherspoon, or before concerning ourselves with the searing injustice and travesty that is some prancing git in a sparkly shirt being being shown the door before he has had the chance to enthral us with his pretty feet. Perhaps we believe that the real life Holby Cities truly are staffed with the beautiful, if very flawed, people who can perform miracles with just a twitch of a stethoscope, frowning and cries of ‘morphine stat’ before being covered in projectile vomit. Perhaps we think NHS staff smile through the mask of emetic substances dripping from their faces as they perform miracles every hour.
To take our minds off the future, when many of us will face our last days in some piss stained, overcrowded brightly neon lit corridor being looked after by an alcoholic doctor, and a Zimbabwean care assistant whose slim grasp of English is matched only by a desert dwelling Uzbek goat fucker with access to a torn, half copy of the Beano in which to learn verb conjugation, we stare at the TV screen promising us youthful skin, a drive on an empty mountain road and the chance to vote on some nonentity whose song we will not remember, will not buy and will merely momentarily dose us to kill the pain of ennui that is everyday life in consumer capitalism.
Nursing is being reduced to running around with a bucket, a mop and some hope, all aimed at stopping the bleeding. We all have orifices that need plugging from time to time lest we leave a trail like a pissed up slug on a mission to the next lettuce. However Florence Nightingale had higher hopes for the successors of her young ladies in training than being reduced to cleaning wounds with their own tears and the silk of parachutes from the nearby war museum. The measures of success on many shifts includes having the same number of live patients that you started with, avoiding a fight with a drunk (it is a bonus if the drunk is not the consultant) and being sprayed with non infectious urine. The great vision for the NHS includes the provision of care by families and a few care assistants. Registered Nursing, you know…the sort that includes people who might be able to spot if your babbling and loss of consciousness is not the result of being given the bill for care but is in fact the early stages of sepsis, is on its way out. Family care is fine, if your family is more Waltons than Addams. Do you really want your old mum, or your wife, poking her finger up your anus in order to clinically examine your tonsils? What your wife does in your spare time at home is your own business, but is she the right person to be prostate tickling in the intensive care unit when you are actually complaining of a headache? Imagine Grandad, after a six pints of mild and bitter, pushing his way through the throng around your sick bed shouting; “stand back, I’ve got this” while brandishing a toilet brush and barely concealed menace?
This is what the ‘Austerity’ actually means. Hunt will blather about more training places…but we know ‘more’ is not the same as ‘enough’. Austerity, we should remember actually means the ‘dissembling of the protectionist state in order to facilitate the transfer of public services to private ownership’. Hunt know this…it is part of the plan. He once called the NHS a ‘great commercial opportunity’. Why should Hunt et al give a toss about hospitals and schools that they will never use? They are as disconnected from our social reality as a Scientologist homeopath in a K hole.
I’m sending Granddad over to Richmond House.