I was listening to the news on the radio this morning when it was announced that 30 NHS staff were flying out to Sierra Leone in Africa to help deal with the Ebola outbreak.
The 30 staff would be made up of emergency medicine consultants, nurses and psychiatrists, and yes I am still wondering what the psychiatrists will be doing.
More importantly we read every day that the NHS is in crisis, waiting lists are lengthening, quality of care is suffering often because of shortage of staff and don’t even mention the problem of trying to get an appointment with your GP within the next three days.
So here is the conundrum, if the NHS is in such a state that it cannot provide effective care for the indigenous population of the UK, why is it releasing 30 staff to fly off the Africa other than for a cynical piece of “emotive” public relations?
And let’s put things in perspective, it’s a terrible disease and has killed just over 5,000 people in 6 African countries. In three of those Nigeria, Senegal and the Congo the outbreaks have been controlled an eliminated.
In the UK:-
- 60,000 people die each year from the direct effects of dementia (and it’s the leading killer of women in the UK).
- Cancer killed 162,000 people in the UK in 2012
- Malaria killed 627,000 people world-wide in 2012.
Given the scale of the disease and the fact that the government has sent teams to build hospitals and train medical and nursing staff over there ask yourself why they chose Ebola over these other more wide-spread causes of death.
We have enough problems dealing with escalating health problems here, notably cancer, heart disease, dementia and mental illness. There are post code lotteries in various parts of the country to get access to life prolonging / saving drugs so why are we shipping NHS staff out when they are needed here in the UK?
I am indebted to http://mikethepsych.wordpress.com for some of the above material.