Anorak News | Foreign Bodies

Foreign Bodies

by | 19th, January 2006

‘THE good news is that you are now less likely than you were to pick up the MRSA superbug on a hospital ward.

The bad news is that this has nothing to do with improved hygiene or a cure for the nasty blighter but is a result of the lack of funds in the NHS that has already forced two thirds of hospitals to close wards.

And, as the Times reports on its front page, this lack of cash will soon start affecting the care patients receive.

The paper has seen the results of a poll conducted by the publication Health Service Journal of 117 chief executives of NHS trusts. Three quarters say that Government reforms will affect patient treatment.

And almost half of those polled are of the opinion that building and refurbishment projects are being delayed.

But perhaps the clearest sign of how the lack of cash in the system (Health Secretary, Patricia Hewitt, says that the NHS is heading for a collective overspend of £623m) is impacting on patients is the Guardian’s news that a quarter of hospital trusts have made staff redundant and 75% have frozen recruitment.

But don’t worry. The Times has news that things could be worse; at least you don’t live in Germany.

Yesterday, the paper looked on as 50,000 surgeries across Germany closed in protest at declining wages and Government plans to introduce unpaid overtime for hospital staff.

Beneath a picture of medical staff marching through Berlin holding aloft banners proclaiming “England, we’re on our way!” and “If you want to see a German doctor, come to England!” comes news that thousands of German doctors are planning to come and work in Britain.

“It’s no longer bearable,” Andreas Dahmen, a 31-year-old orthopaedic surgeon, says. “I earn €2,800 [£1,920] a month here after taxes. I’m moving to England where I can earn double that amount for much less work.”

Dahmen calculates that he could earn £3,000 a month in Britain after tax. And with paid overtime and bonuses, his take-home pay could rise to £4,500 a month.

“Recruitment agencies are already trawling our country, hunting for up to 10,000 doctors,” says Jürgen-Dietrich Hoppe, the chairman of the German Doctors Association. “And I’m sure they’ll get them — English working conditions are so much better.”

So things really aren’t so bad. Look on the bright side. The hospitals are in crisis but at least the Germans are coming.

We’re bringing a new and more welcome kind of foreign body into the wards…’

Posted: 19th, January 2006 | In: Uncategorized Comment | TrackBack | Permalink