Problems with ambulances, beds and exams: why health is a priority in the new British government

Four years ago, Nicole Glenn’s sister passed away due to breast cancer. In an interview with Gazeta do Povo, she says that, since then, she has tried to undergo routine exams to prevent the disease, but doctors and clinics from the United Kingdom’s National Health System (NHS) reported that she only You may be able to get an ultrasound if you notice any lumps when doing the self-exam at home. This is a very different recommendation from the one received in Brazil, for example, since the disease can be very advanced and still not be perceptible to the touch. The problem faced by Nicole, who has lived in London since 2014, shows just one of the weaknesses of the British health system.

Upon taking over as premier at the beginning of the month, Liz Truss placed the restoration of the NHS as one of her management priorities, along with fighting inflation and the energy crisis. If that really happens, it will be a shift in focus from the command of former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who, when asked about the health crisis, downplayed the seriousness of the matter and pointed to investments in the area, such as 150 million pounds (approximately 905 million reais) for ambulance service in the last year.

The millionaire investment was not enough. According to a BBC report, due to the lack of beds and doctors in hospitals since the beginning of the Covid-pandemic 19, in the city de Cornouailles, 25 ambulances were queuing in the hospital parking lot, with some waiting up to two hours for assistance in early July. In Worcestershire Royal, 15 ambulances were waiting up to four hours.

“This is unprecedented pressure on the ambulances. Unfortunately, patients will suffer or even die from it,” the executive director of the Association of Ambulance Managers, Martin Flaherty, told the BBC.

British news also recently reported the story of Jamie Rees, 18 years old, who passed out following a cardiac arrest on January 1. The ambulance took more than 14 minutes to arrive at the scene, while in such an emergency the maximum time for arrival should be seven minutes.

Due to the long wait, as Jamie’s brain was not irrigated for a long time, he never regained consciousness. “We were told there were thirty-two ambulances available,” said his mother, Naomi Rees-Issitt. “Unfortunately, 14 of them were waiting for vacancies outside the hospitals”, he vented.

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Maternity scandal

The healthcare system was also involved in what became known in the British press as the “biggest scandal in NHS history”. According to the conclusions of an independent report published in March 23 and published by the French Le Monde, in the rural towns of Shrewsbury and Telford, in England, 201 babies have died over 23 years (201 stillbirths, 70 died within seven days after birth), nine mothers also died and 41 babies were born with serious neurological sequelae – tragedies considered avoidable for establishments that register between 4 and 5 thousand births a year.

Donna Ockenden, a midwife who conducted the research for five years, describes the problems of the health: lack of staff, lack of dialogue between midwives and doctors, lack of listening and compassion for parents, obsession with natural births with low use of cesarean sections – Shrewsbury and Telford prided themselves on having one of the lowest cesarean rates in the country (14% in 2005, against a national average of 23,two% at the time).

“During the different stages of care, the research identified noncompliance with national clinical recommendations, whether for monitoring fetal heart rate, maternal blood pressure, management of gestational diabetes or resuscitation . This, combined with delays in decision-making when something goes wrong, has led to many accidents such as sepsis, encephalopathy and, unfortunately, death,” the report notes.

Donna Ockenden goes further. “I remain concerned that NHS maternity services do not learn from the serious events that take place there,” she concludes.

Jeremy Hunt, former Minister of Health, warned in February during the program the BBC’s Panorama investigation. “We shouldn’t make the mistake of thinking that the problem is confined to Shrewsbury. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were the same situation in other maternity hospitals in the country”, opined.

In the same program, Ted Baker, inspector head of the Care Quality Commission, the English hospital control agency, admitted that “41% of English maternity hospitals need to improve safety”.

Promises by Liz Truss

During the dispute for leadership, the premier said she agreed with the urgent need to deal with delays in care, promising to install a “strong health secretariat” ” to solve the problem. Truss also said she was “completely committed” to the government’s current pledges on NHS spending, despite its tax cut plans. population and increasing demand. As a strategy, Truss promised to reallocate billions of extra funds earmarked for health care, putting them into social care.

“We have people in beds on the NHS who would be better off being accompanied by social care. So we will put extra money into that area,” the prime minister said in her inaugural address. Truss also said she will “work to expand and improve care to ensure that all Britons have good access to the system.”

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