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Opinion & Analysis

Listen and learn

By Joelle Ladislaus

08:14a.m on a Monday morning, and my finger hovers over the call button on my phone. I press the button just as the time shifts to 08:15a.m… a few seconds too late and I am caller number 49. I may not get that appointment with the doctor today, despite the fever that has been raging since 03: 00a.m, because 20 minutes later there may be no appointments left. Can you relate? Does it sound all too familiar?

It is no secret that years of micromanagement by individuals with no background in healthcare have brought our health service to its knees. From unfair contractual practices to a culture of fear, the GSLP/Liberals are failing our healthcare professionals, which is ultimately having an impact upon staff morale and continuity of care to service users.

Seeing as the GSLP/Libs appear so keen on citing the Covid-19 pandemic as the reason for much of what has gone wrong in the past few years, perhaps it should be said that their treatment of those who were on the frontline during that pandemic has left a lot to be desired. For months we clapped for those healthcare workers during lockdowns, and yet all they’ve received from their government in place of gratitude is mismanagement of resources, insecurity of jobs through the use of short-term contracts and the denial of workers’ rights. It seems that when it comes to being listened to under what is supposedly a “socialist’ Government, our experts are in an echo chamber. I can resolutely and unequivocally say, that is not my style, and if I am elected to serve, I can guarantee that listening to both experts within and stakeholders of the health service, ERS and the Care Agency would be foremost in my mind. The way we get our health service back on track is by being proactive not reactive.

They like to talk of their record in Government, let’s take a look: Industrial action taken on a large scale on three separate occasions in the past 5 years; expressions of concern by senior medical staff over micromanagement of the GHA; the Burke allegations, raising serious issues of clinical governance; the Director General’s comments that the “service lacked direction and structure” before his appointment; slow roll out of improvements in respect of mental health services; low staff morale; fear of reprisals for speaking up; and a high turnover of clinical staff. That is the GSLP/Libs’ legacy on health; it affects both the public who rely upon the service, and the hardworking individuals who make it tick.

Upon being challenged in respect of their clear failings, the GSLP/Libs are keen to cite that they have “listened’ to the issues presented and are acting. Seeing as their plan for regeneration only commenced in 2021, after 10 years in power, it would seem too little too late.

The first step to getting our GHA, our ERS and our social services back on track will require rolling up my sleeves and joining those who are on our healthcare frontline on their daily shifts, clinics and carrying out their duties; observing, listening, and learning about issues before action can be taken. Radical and positive reorganisation of our health service to give the operational management of the GHA back to specialized healthcare professionals; and regulation via the introduction of a Care quality Commission, to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past; that is our aim.

Looking out of the window as I write this, I’ve noticed that the wind is picking up. I’d like to think that the winds of change have finally arrived, with the promise of a brighter future, and not that it’s just the levanter, here to bear down upon us like the GSLP/Libs have done for the past 12 years. Make the change on 12th October by voting for all 10 GSD candidates and I’m certain of brighter days ahead.

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