• Kim F Vaughan

Boris, the moment is now!

Watch out! This is a soap box moment.

It has been heartening to see and hear public support for the NHS through the UK’s Thursday evening pan banging sessions. The coronavirus has had some beneficial effects on community spirit and I, for one, commend all efforts to appreciate the people who care for those afflicted and support people who have lost loved ones during this strange period of post-apocalyptic isolation.

I have loved the brightness of rainbow-clad buildings, chalked decorations on walls and driveways and, in our area at least, the mysterious appearance and disappearance of some beautifully painted stones. I was very excited to find one of the latter on our fence post one morning. I still don’t know what it’s about, but suspect that my shunning of FaceBook has more to do with my ignorance than anything else.

BUT … the pan banging sessions have made me think.

There are many other people who work hard to maintain our country’s infrastructure and care for us as well as the NHS. I hesitate to start a list for fear of omitting someone but, carers, postal workers, council employees, bank tellers, bus and train drivers, shop staff, utility providers, drug manufacturers, delivery services … quite a long list, actually. So let’s make sure we bang our pans for them too; especially the ones I haven’t listed here.

Now, here is the big one. Banging pans butter no parsnips. When all this is over, can the government please show some real gratitude for the NHS it has spent the last years running into the ground and put some serious effort into holding on to regenerated interest in the NHS?

We need the return of bursaries for those training for roles which need a degree, the creation of apprenticeships to allow on-the-job training from both technical experts and the patients themselves, and some serious effort put into schools career services and work experience to spark interest in the full range of roles required to make the NHS work.

Most of all, the real measure of success of a hospital or a GP practice should not involve an accountant’s report. Success is in the ability to treat and care for patients, motivate and retain employees, and attract really good recruits. Funding should allow for the right number of hands with the full mix of skills and the appropriate equipment - on every shift.

Come on, Boris! Put your money where your mouth is. The moment is now.

Thanks to Damien Hirst for his butterfly rainbow!

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