Surgeon General responds to military hospital criticism

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Crazy_Legs, Aug 14, 2008.

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  1. The Surgeon General has come out fighting against the criticism heaped on the NHS recently over a lack of support to the forces.

    Full details:Link

    From my uneducated view, what he says seems to make a lot of sense and petitions for a 'dedicated mil hospital' don't seem to be the best way forward.

    Thoughts from the floor?
  2. It's blatantly the 'Party Line'
  3. He is probably right in the contention that a Military Hospital would not be the best place to develop and maintain the advanced techniques that we have today - because, thank God, we do not have the number and throughflow of patients necessary to do so. For the same reason, it could be alleged that a Military Hospital could not have the 'latest' medical equipment (hugely expensive scanners, imagers etc) because they are too expensive for the per capita use that the relatively healthy military population would require. The second point could, of course, be addressed simply by accepting that part of the covenant requires you to afford the best treatment to your Servicemen and accept that it may not be operated at maximum efficiency.

    The first point, however, has led the General to the conclusion that the the only way to address the throughput issue is to suborn the care of military personnel to the NHS and have Military Wards as an adjunct to an NHS Hospital. However that is only one option - the alternative is to establish a Military Hospital, run by Military Personnel, on military lines, with military standards of discipline and cleanliness with NHS Doctors and Nurses seconded to work within the military structure and offering its surplus capacity to the local community. This would ensure the appropriate level of throughput, the maintenance of clinical skills and the defraying of equipment costs, but with 2 key advantages: the ability to reduce the throughput of civilian patients during periods of high military need and the treatment of military patients in a military environment, where civilian patients are the ones there as an 'indulgence'.

    This used to work extremely well - the RAF Hospital at Wroughton used to treat patients who would otherwise be left languishing on Swindon's waiting lists, and most of those were extremely grateful for the high standard of care and the professional treatment they received at the hands of the military. I suspect the Government does not want a military hospital appearing on the 'league tables' with a zero rate of MRSA - it might draw attention to the mismanagement in the rest of the NHS.
  4. " But it became clear by the mid-1990s that they were no longer able to provide the volume and range of cases essential to train our medical personnel in the advancing medical skills needed for their essential operational roles."

    That'll be money then!

    I wonder if the Generals arrse is sore what with the Swiss Des using him as a ventriloquists dummy :evil:
  5. FC

    Accepted but is this really feasible?

    Surely having a purely military ward in a world renowned hospital, run by and for our soldiers solves the problem in a much neater way.
  6. F**ke Me! I'm sure this is wot used to happen, once upon a time....
  7. Wot he said. I have personal experience of receiving excellent Medical care at RAF Wroughton whilst "in transit" to QEMH, where I received excellent care & treatment alongside members of the public.
  8. Much cheaper way, perhaps!

    You are absolutely right, there are 2 ways in which to deal with the issue, one is a Military Hospital that treats civilians on a part-time basis, the other is a Military element within a civilian hospital. I think that if we wish to demonstrate that we value our servicemen and families, the former is the preferred option.

    The sad thing about civilian hospitals, having visited several recently, is that the immediate reception is the requirement to pay a minimum of £2.50 for parking, you then press your way through a group of 'patients' and their visitors crowded around the front door smoking, you then pass the unmanned reception desk and guess where you are supposed be going from the signs, passing piles of broken furniture and equipment in the corridors. Then you might just get to the military ward.

    However, without military control, you are still going to be exposing your military patients to the threat posed by the 'communal' areas of the hospital, over which you have no control - they will still be wheeled down to the X-Ray department, to 'hang around' with a bunch of civilian patients (potentially hostile, especially if you base your ward somewhere daft like Selly Oak), they will still be exposed to the accumulated detritus that the 'cleaning contract' shoves around from day-to-day and run the risk of contracting MRSA.

    So my view remains, make it a Military Hospital, with spare capacity to treat the civilian population. The Military ethos will then permeate the hospital, military medical staff will have control of standards, military families will enter a familiar environment when the visit the site (and I trust they would not be charged for parking), civilian patients who are hostile to the military would be unlikely to select the military hospital but, if they do, they could be returned to the NHS if their behaviour proves unacceptable. This would also serve the additional purpose of keeping the military in the public eye - so few people have exposure to the armed forces these days, that the opportunity to help and treat them, and to let them see and speak to our wounded or ill, will help the public to understand the sacrifices that are being made on their behalf.
  9. F_C - how come you are such an authority on all of this? Selly Oak is suitable for many other reasons. We don't have the manpower in the MoD to man a hospital! We can't go it alone! Why would they pay to have an excess capacity hospital when we have to trim all the excess away everywhere else? Your refusal to put this issue into context just makes you sound a bit wide-eyed and blinkered.
  10. Ord_Sgt

    Ord_Sgt RIP

    I normally listen carefully to everything you have to say Mr C, but on this you are dead wrong. It could be afforded given political will, the money is there if it needs to be, they found 50 billion to bail out a bank at the drop of a hat. They can find 3 billion to back track on tax fcukups. Sorry but a dedicated military hospital in time of war is the minimum that should be accepted.
  11. Back in the good old days when we did maintain hospitals (Halton, Nocton Hall, Wroughton, Haslar etc) they did offer overflow facilities for NHS patients, and on the occasions when I was visiting my father in one of them the NHS Patients seemed glad to be in the Military hospital.

    Perhaps one of the other reasons, apart from financial restrictions, for not allowing the Forces to have their own dedicated hospitals, is that the running of them under military disciplinary lines, having and maintaining a constistent high standard not least in cleanliness, would make an NHS hospital appear to be a sub standard third world clinic. This is probably why it is not politically expedient to run military hospitals, as they would give a poor impression from the NHS hospitals in the locality.

    I have visited one or 2 hospitals in the third world, and on each occasion they appeared cleaner and better run than those in the UK.
  12. Chaps,

    Quick question; does any other medium military power (and please no responses to whether we are or not), e.g. France, Spain, Portugal etc... not have dedicated military hospitals?
  13. But at what cost? The way I see it we are getting the best of both worlds. A dedicated military hospital, even if it opens up 'spare capacity' to civvies is never going to get to the same levels of trauma care etc that a decent civvy hospital can. Everything I have heard about Selly Oak makes it sound like it fits the bill perfectly.

    Anyway, I am off there in a few weeks time for an op so will let you know my first hand experience when I return!!!