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World News

'Forget ideology, patient care comes first' says Christian as Gov turns to private sector

by Donna Birrell

The government is now turning to the private sector as part of ongoing efforts to cut long NHS waiting lists in England.

Thirteen new community diagnostics centres are being opened - they'll carry out 742-thousand additional scans, checks and tests per year.

Louise Morse from Christian charity Pilgrims' Friend Society says she welcomes anything that will improve quality of care for patients:

“Ideology can't stand alone. If a person is going blind, because they need cataracts removed, and the NHS waiting list for too long. If you wait a long time, that person will be blind. So what do you do?

“You have to look at the practicality of it and get past the ideology of saying it should only ever be nationalised. There's tremendous pressure on the whole infrastructure with an ageing population. There are additions to the population that Nye Bevin could never have foreseen when he helped to launch it.”

It comes as new research has found that more needs to be done to get older hospital patients out of bed and walking.

A study, led by academics in Spain has found inactivity can lead to a syndrome which is associated with general physical deconditioning.

They've warned inaction could lead to higher rates of re-admission, disability, nursing home placement and even death.

Louise Morse told Premier:

“There have been a whole host of studies on the importance of keeping mobile, particularly for hospital patients, because they've gone in for a reason, their circulation needs to be kept as healthy as it can. Hospital patients are not being helped out of bed to stand up even because basically, there's a shortage of nurses, and they don't have the time to do it. If you have patients walking around, especially elderly, frail patients, you need more nurses to keep an eye on them.

“There has also been the disappearance of what used to be patients’ sitting rooms alongside hospital wards, but the conclusion was that there is so much pressure on the hospital staff that we have, that they simply can't do as much as they want to do and it does take time to help an elderly frail patient out of bed. The problem is they then lose the ability to function independently.

"Staff don't have enough time. I think volunteers are very helpful here and thank God for hospital volunteers. It seems to be the whole story of the NHS and older people at the moment. There just aren't enough resources."

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