Having worked for the NHS for 34 years, specifically in mental health services, I have seen the effects of both main political parties on service provision over the years.
Over the last five years, there has been a sustained dismantling of services and many ancilliary services contracted out to private companies.
When the NHS employed cleaners for example, people took pride in their work and unofficially acted as support staff, alerting nurses to someone in distress or in need of help because they felt valued. Now it seems no-one is valued and it shows.
I loved my job and was proud of and the help and support I was able to give.
Services have now become more of a business than a service and it doesn’t work.
Bureaucrats, who have no experience or knowledge of patients needs, making life-changing decisions.
Voluntary redundancies were offered in late 2012 as part of the government directive to save money. I applied and was given a redundancy package with a substantial cash sum.
Before I left in March last year there were already six or seven agency nurses plugging the staff shortfall, at huge cost.
Now I see a big recruitment drive in mental health services, with premiums being paid to tempt people.
I left reluctantly because my caseload had doubled and I didn’t feel able to provide a safe, quality service anymore. It was one of the saddest times of my life.
Until all parties realise the NHS is a service and should be run as such, it is doomed.
Geraldine Farrow RMHN,