On reflecting back on my role as Chairman of Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust and more recently as Chairman of Friends of Brighton & Hove Hospitals, I realise how much has changed in our local NHS in terms of organisation or should I say constant re-organisation. The technological advancement in medical science and practice has been truly amazing and yet so many other things seem to change very little.
In 2010 the local and national NHS was under tremendous funding pressures. It was also inundated to almost breaking point on numerous occasions with very sick people with too few beds to accommodate them, often having to stay in hospital far longer than is necessary because of the lack of appropriate care arrangements in the community. Too many people were presenting themselves at Accident and Emergency with relatively minor ailments which could be treated elsewhere. I could go on, but it is not helpful.
There are no simple solutions. If we are to have a National Health Service entirely fit for purpose, it will require a huge number of changes not only in funding, organisational structures and service integration, but also we all must accept far greater responsibility for maintaining our own health rather than relying on the NHS to pick up the pieces for patients who have abused their own health. One thing of which I am certain is that whatever system eventually evolves it will be totally reliant, as now, on the amazing dedication and sheer hard work and ingenuity of everyone who works in what is still an amazing Service and one which is still envied throughout the world.
The NHS will never have enough money to do everything that an increasingly complex and demanding society expects of it. This is where the vital work of the Friends of Brighton & Hove Hospitals plays an increasingly important role in raising money for innovative new equipment and additional patient support and comforts at Royal Sussex County Hospital, Mill View Hospital and in local communities across our City.
Please continue your valuable support for the Friends and for our local NHS.