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Even Mugabe might have got the message by now, Mr Hunt

Dr Richard Cook

A good leader takes a little more than his share of the blame, a little less than his share of the credit. Arnold H.Glasow (1905-1998)

They're all the rage aren't they? Leaders. As we witness the fall of one of the world's longest serving, the now former President Mugabe, you can't help but compare the plight of Zimbabwe to the NHS.

Yes the downfall of that wonderful place, overseen by dreadful leadership from a self-obsessed autocrat who refuses to listen to any advice, dragging down a whole population, is not dissimilar to the plight of that small country in the south of Africa.

Of course, I'm not really suggesting our health secretary's behaviour is on a par with that of someone widely accused of crimes against humanity, but hear me out.

I have wonderful memories of a trip to Zimbabwe over 25 years ago, well before the full force of Mugabe’s reign had taken hold. We hitched around and camped every night for a month, enjoying the hospitality of the wonderful people, and appreciating the wildlife and scenery along the way.

It wasn’t without any drama – for example, a bit of a run in with the sunset, a car stuck in the sand and a lion, but that’s a story for another day.

The rectrospectoscope is a tool to be used with caution, but I have similar memories of the NHS from the same era as I started out on my working life. I hitched and camped around different hospitals, enjoyed the wonderful staff, appreciating the patients and families along the way. Again, it wasn’t without drama, but I'm sure we’ve all got a story to tell about plaster of paris, the hospital priest and the ward dualit toaster.

Fast forward to 2017 and our brave new Hunt-inspired NHS. Where are we now? It's not the lack of funding, over regulation, idiotic non-evidence based health policy, multiple reorganisations, obsession with A&E, or unrealistic expectations of the public fed by the government that I find most troubling. No, it’s none of those.

What really gets my goat is how we have managed to lose the mojo and goodwill of many of the NHS staff. When you are led to believe on a daily basis that you are underperforming and at fault for the woes of the NHS then you slowly start to believe it, or accept it. A bit like the Zimbabweans who had given up hope of ever seeing a post-Mugabe nation, we, the NHS workers are losing hope and the vision of a post-austerity NHS. You can’t blame one person for all of that, but there is one who is especially responsible for such low morale.

It’s time for a change of tack and if I was the leader, I would be taking a long hard look at myself in my narcissistic mirror. Even Mugabe eventually got the message.

Dr Richard Cook is a GP partner in Hurstpierpoint, West Sussex. You can follow him on Twitter @drmoderate

 

 

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Readers' comments (8)

  • Fair to pint out that Hunt is only thefigurehead of a completely rotten regime. It'll need more to fix than simply just replacing him with another lying automaton.

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  • Mr Hunt is indeed a disingenuous, vile man but Philip Hammond deserves some share of the blame for the state that General Practice is in.

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  • Some responsibility too the collaborators who line up for the cocktail parties and gongs, the CQC GMC heavies, and the appraisers who deliver the annual punishment beatings. I’m sure they ALL mean well, but they have become the persecutors

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  • So true, if you keep being told you are failing, you start to believe it, mojo indeed low, too low to be fixed by BMA app anyway!

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  • David Banner

    Dethroning Hunt may only be a Pyrrhic victory, but it would temporarily boost NHS morale, even if it's only the unbridled joy of eradicating the nausea that accompanies viewing his smug mug accompanying another depressing Pulse news item.

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  • AlanAlmond

    I hear he wants to be prime minister

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  • Just Your Average Joe

    225 parliamentarians have recent or present financial private healthcare connections
    145 Lords have recent or present financial connections to companies or individuals involved in healthcare
    124 Peers benefit from the financial services sector
    1 in 4 Conservative Peers have recent or present financial connections to companies or individuals involved in healthcare
    1 in 6 Labour Peers have recent or present financial connections to companies or individuals involved in healthcare
    1 in 6 Crossbench Peers have recent or present financial connections to companies or individuals involved in healthcare
    1 in 10 Liberal Democrat Peers have recent or present financial connections to companies or individuals involved in healthcare
    75 MPs have recent or present financial links to companies or individuals involved in private healthcare
    81% of these are Conservative

    http://socialinvestigations.blogspot.co.uk/p/key-facts-of-lords-and-mps-connections.html

    Old but shows how deeply rooted the corruption in out political system runs.

    Lobby groups have power and influence which cannot be justified when MPs are meant to represent the electorate not line their pockets.

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  • Just Your Average Joe

    Hunt is still owned by Murdoch!

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