The NHS is a huge, massively successful institution, but one that has been battered and bruised in the storms of privatization, globalization and government policy.
The problems of the NHS, nationally and locally, have not been adequately reported by the mass media, with some honorable exceptions
When the plans for Wirral walk-in closures was mooted, the local BBC gave the management time on local radio to sell the appalling plans, without any comparable balance from the opposition, although the opposition has been proved valid.
Before the September 2018 Save Liverpool Women’s Hospital demonstration Radio Merseyside gave management time to oppose our demonstration with no comparable response time from the campaigners.
When the Carillion PFI collapsed, no adequate reporting was made of the long campaign of local opposition to the whole Carillion PFI project at the Royal Liverpool Hospital.
The Hospital programme on BBC 2 has given some good coverage but has not spoken (to our knowledge) to NHS campaigners in the area, even though campaigners have worked hard over issues like the PFI in Carillion New Royal Hospital, the overall cuts, and to Save Liverpool Women’s Hospital.
In all of these changes, the media have given little coherent coverage. There have been some detailed programmes but the messages from one series are not reflected in the news or subsequent programmes.
The reality of mass privatization, of PFI, and lack of oversite in huge public procurement projects goes largely unreported
The NHS is a mass of contradictions. It saves life, but makes its staff ill from overwork. It is designed as a universal service but refuses life-saving treatment to some, based on dodgy migration status rules.
Recent changes mean that crucial treatments are rationed or refused causing greater cost further down the road, as the patiant needs more expensive care later in life.
The NHS needs a steady stream of investment in its buildings but wastes that money on PFI. It claims to be run by doctors but spends exorbitant amounts on the use of financial and accountancy consultants. It introduced the “Internal Market” and “Foundation Trusts” proclaiming that competition promotes efficiency but reality shows these experiments as costly, wasteful and at times deadly. The NHS is underfunded but hospitals are described as “overspending” or “in debt”.
The Commissioning mode and outsourcing have been expensive and inefficient. For example, great services like local sexual health services have been privatized to an untried service. It is not all roses in the NHS, and along with the cuts. there can from time to time be real neglect, and desperate mistakes.
There are very good, careful journalists, but somehow the account of the NHS given in the mass media does not match the crisis.
When the NHS gets good coverage as with the seventieth birthday of the NHS, stories.emerge in the press that counter the picture.
The national NHS and individual Hospitals spend a lot of money on press, media and public relations. Liverpool Women’s Hospital paid for full page adds to counter our campaign demonstration. They have established links with the media press. Hospitals employ professional companies for some projects.
The mega corporations using the NHS to make profit have major involvement in the ownership and control of the media.
Campaigners have to keep working for good press and media coverage and keep using social media which is more open to us.