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The Great Resignation in a Collapsing Health System


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In an increasing number of countries all over the world chaos and despair is rising. People are more frequently ill and dying at higher rates than the past 50 years. At the same time health systems are deteriorating. We need to rethink humanness of health systems versus cold technological solutions.  

More than a seasonal problem

The pandemic measures have accelerated public health systems to the brink of collapse. In many Western countries these systems are facing severe problems, an inferno of pressures, including staff shortages from pandemic burnout, underpaid salaries, discrimination and a cost-of-living crisis, with many health professionals leaving the workforce while the demand for care from the community is rising. 

The often-used explanation for the current situation in healthcare, a tripledemic after two lockdowns resulting from a surge in winter viruses (RSV, Flu and Covid-19), does not hold. Current data do not represent an outlier season. 

Political ideology and catastrophic leadership costs healthy years of lives 

The health system in the UK is collapsing because of a decade or more of underinvestment in the National Health Service and other public services. The indicators for the health service are all red. Increased ambulance times and people waiting for a hospital bed, stranded outside overflowing hospitals, have spiked since December 2022. The overstretched system, with the longest delays on record for millions of treatments for cancer and operations, has left patients in pain, people enduring unnecessary suffering, and has led to 300-500 people a week dying avoidably because of the unsolved current crisis. The roots lie in political choices made, not cold weather or a seasonal flu.

On January 5, 2023 the British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak brought together the current advisors about the pressure of increasing demands. Yet, the response of top and senior managers in health services and politicians is silence, denial, disengagement, and delay, while health professionals are crying out on social media, mainstream media and the British Medical Journal to be heard. 

Other countries like France, Canada, and the US and The Netherlands are facing similar problems in the collapsing health system with shortness of staff and increased demands. :snip:

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