Death knell tolls for Suffolk NHS

SUFFOLK'S health service died today.The concept of a cradle to grave service, offering care and support to all who needed it was being administered a lethal injection by accountants desperate to make ends meet.

SUFFOLK'S health service died today.

The concept of a cradle to grave service, offering care and support to all who needed it was being administered a lethal injection by accountants desperate to make ends meet.

After months of discussion, today was the day when health services were finally having their fate confirmed.

Of course the NHS still exists in the county. There are still dedicated GPs and nurses at surgeries across the county.


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And Ipswich Hospital is treating more patients. Acute diseases are being treated better. Heart disease is being fought much more successfully.

But today we've lost much of the caring attitude that we've seen from the health service.

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We're losing the community hospitals where people with long-term conditions could recover slowly, at their own pace.

We're losing valuable mental health day centres where people with difficult problems could meet and re-learn socail skills.

And we are losing the ethos that the health service is there for everyone. It starts to look like a patch-up service where it is very good at dealing with the kind of dramas portrayed in Casualty or Holby City every week - but doesn't worry so much about the less sexy type of medicine.

That is not what Lord Beverage and Nye Bevan had in mind when the NHS was set up in the 1940s.

What would Bevan be thinking now if he could see what his beloved Labour Party was doing to the NHS?

There has been anger that the health authority has the sheer brass to make these cuts under the title: “Changing for the Better.”

But today the main emotion faced by everyone involved in the decisions is one of profound sadness.

Sadness that the appeals to the government have failed. The pleas have failed - and so has the government.

Sadness that the special services these facilities offer will soon be lost forever.

And real sadness that no one seems able to do anything about the dreadful state the health service is in … whilst ministers and their allies warble that things are getting better

Local managers are blaming government under-funding, the government is blaming incompetent managers for building up debts.

And the people who suffer? They're the most vulnerable members of society - the sick elderly who have nowhere to recover gently after a stay in hospital and the mentally ill who have no day centres to attend any more.

There's no point in raging anymore. The decisions cannot be changed - but what a depressing state of affairs to face at the most depressing time of the year.

New Labour came to power on a wave of support across the country - from people who trusted them with the country's future, including the NHS.

Today, much of that trust has evaporated - and despair is echoing around many parts of the NHS in Suffolk.

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