Friday, April 29, 2005

A better NHS

NHS hospitals in Wales have reached crisis point due to the failures of the Labour government in Wales assisted during the coalition years by the Liberal Democrats.The most urgent need for the NHS in Wales is to reduce the immediate pressure on hospitals. We need to ensure that hospital resources are used only where they are the most appropriate and efficient way of responding to people’s needs. At present, hospital beds and staff often have to stand in as substitutes for other forms of care and treatment.Plaid Cymru, the Party of Wales, calls for -

1. The use of existing capacity - and the development of new capacity - in GP surgeries so that more treatments can be carried out there. Facilities in GP surgeries are generally cheaper to provide than equivalent facilities in hospitals, and are generally more convenient for patients to get to and often more appropriate to their needs.2. The establishment of new NHS Walk-in Centres and Diagnostic & Treatment Centres and the full utilisation of the potential of our community hospitals in order to take the pressure off hospital Accident and Emergency departments.3. Steps to be taken to make it easier for people to move out of hospital when their treatment is completed or when hospital is not the best place for them. In particular, there should be a programme of building (or converting existing buildings) of accommodation for care, convalescence, nursing and rehabilitation. It doesn’t always have to be hospital that provides the care. 4. Payments to care/nursing homes by local authorities should be increased by £50 per bed per week. The costs involved will still generally be far less expensive than the use of hospital beds.5. Improved out-of-hospital care for people with disabilities, particularly in their own homes. There should be free home care for the disabled.6. Increased support for carers looking after people in their own homes, so that they do not reach a point where putting someone in hospital comes to look like the only practical option. Carers themselves need some care, support, advice, and respite from their responsibilities.7. A school nurse to be available to every pupil at school so that parents don’t feel it is necessary to involve hospitals in minor problems, but have assessment and treatment for their children easily available.8. More use of the skills of health professionals other than doctors, more availability of training for them; and improved working conditions. This will make it possible to place less reliance on doctors where they are not the most appropriate people for particular tasks, freeing them up for work where they are the most appropriate people.Critically urgent steps have to be taken within hospitals to improve the way they currently operate, so that more patients can be treated. We want to see:9. An increase in the provision of intensive care beds (50 additional beds), to respond more adequately and promptly to the most urgent needs within hospitals.10. There needs to be co-ordinated planning on an all-Wales level to ensure that capacity is used sensibly, with patients being taken off waiting lists and into treatment where the capacity exists to treat them. Medical Assessment Units should be established in every hospital.11. No more operations cancelled on the day. Some are currently being cancelled even after the premedication injection! This upsets not only patients but also their relatives and friends, and undermines confidence in the health service. Guarantees must be introduced to ring-fence elective surgery beds in order to protect patients’ interests in this area.12. A campaign to combat the MRSA “super bugs” – particularly through reversing the privatisation of hospital cleaning services, which have led to a lack of joint working and communication between cleaning staff and medical staff.In the longer term, there need to be changes to the structure and financial organisation of the NHS in Wales; together with public health and health promotion measures to tackle the underlying causes of ill-health; and changes to secure improvements in dentistry, mental health, and specialised services. Our proposals in this document have, however, focused on steps that can achieve results in hospitals in Wales within the next few years.The NHS in Wales – and especially our hospitals – has reached crisis point. Urgent action is essential. What better time to send this message loud and clear than election time?
posted by cymrumark at 7:16 PM

Do nothing budget no use for Wales