Neville Southall tackles... the National Health Service

Neville Southall tackles... the National Health Service
Neville Knows Best — In his column 'Neville Knows Best', footballing legend turned internet sensation Neville Southall takes on the biggest issues of our time. This week, he looks for ways to help our beloved National Health Service - from better food to paying nurses fairly, and a new weekly £1 NHS tax.

The NHS is the people’s property: it’s for the people, run by the people. Nowadays though it has become a political football (which isn’t the good type of football). Time is marching on and the Tories are dismantling things, and privatisation is very much at the fore.

The NHS is the best thing in Britain, to me it’s a place where you should be able to go for free no matter who you are. This must be saved – health should not be about how much money you have, or how important you are perceived to be. It’s about everyone being treated equally.

I doubt anyone in their right mind can say it’s perfect but, it has been mismanaged, underfunded and not been taken seriously enough for years.

The staff work themselves into the ground every day, week in and week out. Although some people have had bad experiences, it is mainly because of the stress and the pressure put upon the staff.

The NHS needs modernising for sure, and I want an NHS that makes private medical treatment look normal. Why should rich people get treated any better than the poor? We need to increase the numbers of nurses, doctors, surgeons and specialists, and just as importantly cleaners and chefs.

There is no point is having great surgeons if we have dirty hospitals because of understaffing, and it’s no good having substandard food as patients will spend more time recovering from operations.

We need a super motivated staff who get the respect and wages they deserve. There needs to be enough nurses in each ward so they don’t have to do a thousand jobs at once while also looking after the patients. Nurses belong with patients, not spreading themselves so thin that both sides suffer. They need to be paid more.

Advancement in medical practices and in medicine is moving forward quickly, so the NHS needs to keep pace by having flexibility to change routines and practices. It can’t get stuck doing same things just because they have always been done like that.

Every person who works in the health sector in management or in politics should spend a full week in a hospital so they understand what goes on, especially on weekends. This way, perhaps, we may get a change of views and attitudes from those in charge who are out of touch.

Why should people be allowed to abuse ambulance crews or hospital staff when all they are trying to do is help? False 999 calls and abuse must be met head on with large fines, or if persistent a jail sentence.

We also need to work on the GP system, I would like to see 24 hour access to treatment consisting of 3 x 8 hour shifts for doctors. This way everyone can get an appointment, and if surgeries were open 24 hours it may save the hospitals a lot of time and trouble.

The after care for patients needs looking at, with carers being allowed proper time with patients – not just 10 minutes but time to listen and to care, without rushing through and dashing to the next appointment. They must have a decent wage to do the job too.

I am aware that all this requires money, and one way to is to set up a new extra tax scheme: a pound a week from everyone to pay for the NHS.

This weekly fund on a national scale could help a lot. It would also help break the stigma of “not everyone pays to use NHS”. It should raise about £40 million per week.  This could be pumped into one hospital per week, 52 hospitals a year. This would be in addition to increased standard funding. Imagine the things this could do.

I want to see a day when we celebrate the NHS with all premier league teams giving match proceeds to local hospitals.

We don’t need privatisation, we need smart people and a culture change to give our hospital heroes a chance to be what they want to be and deliver what they want to deliver in a way they want.

We under estimate how wonderful these people are, and we should cherish them.


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