When the NHS is more than a place to get a doctor

Oncology consultant and health consultant John Whelan says the NHS has become a ‘cuckoo nest’ for consultants who want to do a good job.

He is among a growing number of doctors who say the NHS needs to be overhauled. Read more In a survey of 1,100 NHS doctors published this week, 43 per cent said the NHS should be more accountable to the public and that they were less likely to be consulted on important decisions. 

But despite this, only 14 per cent of those surveyed felt that the NHS had become more transparent over the past year, while the same number were not sure how to report concerns. 

John Whelans, a GP and consultant for Oncologists UK, said the government needs to overhaul its public relations strategy to make the NHS a more attractive place to work.

‘It is no longer just a place where you can get a good doctor, it’s a place that you can have a good career,’ he said.

‘I think it’s got to become a more transparent place to do business and to have that sort of engagement with the public.

‘We need to make sure that when we get a consultation we are able to give the same level of care and we have a level of accountability.

‘This is where the NHS can really thrive.’ 

The NHS’s public relations and marketing director Ellen Gulliver said she believed that the health and social care sector had become too reliant on consultants for their work.

‘We’ve got a huge number of consultants, some of whom are on the NHS at the moment,’ she said.

‘So we’ve got an opportunity here to get out of the way of them.’

What we have got to do is have a proper culture and a culture of openness that really gives a lot of trust to the NHS.’

If we can start to work together with our consultants we will get that.’ 

Ellene Gullivers, Director of Health and Social Care for NHS England said that she believes that consultants should be paid more and that more money should be put into improving the NHS’s social care systems.

‘You’ve got to have some level of transparency about what the services are, who’s working on them and how that money is spent,’ she added. 

‘There is no one-size-fits-all approach, you’ve got people doing a good bit of work and some people just don’t know how they’re being used.’

I think we’ve had a very open NHS in the last 10 years, so I think we need to get more people to understand that we are all very important, and that the system is not going to be perfect and we are going to have to make some changes.’ 

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