I believe in the NHS.
I support everything it stands for.
When it is criticised, a nerve pangs inside and I can’t help but jump to its defense.
I think it does a good job – I hope it achieves the principles laid out by the NHS Constitution (see here). These are values we can all get behind.
But how objective am I? The NHS has influenced almost every aspect of my life. The bond I have with it is an intimate one: academic, financial, moral and emotional. The human mind is not always a rational agent in such relationships.
The institution I love has received a battering in the media on many fronts: health inequality, inefficiencies, vacant posts, job dissatisfaction, poor outcomes, A+E crises etc.. My belief in its principles have remained stalwart. But introspectively, my faith in its execution has diminished.
In the first (few) post(s) of this blog, I want to explore the efficacy of the NHS. What is efficacy? The OED defines efficacy as: “the ability to produce a desired or intended result.” The desired or intended results are presented, free for public perusal, on the website mentioned previously; all-in-all, there are seven of them. So, what better way to consider the health service’s efficacy than to take each principle in turn and critically appraise the evidence in an objective manner, to see if the NHS is meeting its goals?
As I write this having just read these goals, I can’t help but feeling proud to be a miniscule cog in the colossal engine of the health service (for the medics: a single blood cell in its circulatory system). I also feel uneasy. Aspiring to such greatness leaves a lot of room for short-falls. A promised land that is never reached.