DESPITE having worked as a nurse for more than 20 years, Amanda Danielle says she is very glad to have taken a different path.
The 43-year-old moved to Wrexham 12 months ago and, rather than returning to nursing, she decided to set up a beauty salon in the town centre.
With her years of experience, Amanda has seen numerous changes in healthcare and says that, in particular, the NHS must change.
When Nye Bevan spearheaded the establishment of the National Health Service in the 1940s, his vision was thus: “A free health service is pure Socialism and as such it is opposed to the hedonism of capitalist society.”
And yet, half a century on, some would argue this great institution has mutated into the very thing he did not intend – an expensive behemoth, swamped in bureaucracy.
A report, released last week by anti-cuts campaign group False Economy, suggested 50,000 NHS jobs are facing the axe including those of doctors, nurses and dentists.
The study said health trusts across the country were cutting staff or warning of job losses.
Among them is the Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, which the report claimed could cut 461 full-time posts by 2015 – a 16 per cent reduction, including a 12 per cent cut in nurses, midwives and health visitors.
False Economy said the total number of confirmed, planned and potential NHS staff cuts across the country was more than 53,000, adding that more NHS trusts were expected to announce reductions over the next four months – including all Wales’ health boards.
According to a Department of Health source, new measures aim to “reduce NHS bureaucracy and plough this money straight back into patient care”.
Wholesale changes under a new government are nothing new though, Amanda claims.
“There were so many changes,” she said. “With every new government that comes in there’s a new paper, a new Bill, things were shaken up.
“But you’d find yourself doing something that you’d done two years previously.
“They were creating specialist roles for nurses which meant they were taking the place of doctors but on half the salary – at the end you had so many specialist nurses that there were no nurses.”
But the former nurse also says change is necessary–- it just needs to be done well.
“I think the NHS has been in need of shaking up properly for a long time.
“I don’t think it can function properly and meet the needs of people in the state that it’s in.
“It’s being manipulated by medical suppliers who are draining money from it when really it should be helped along.
“People blame it on management but I think it needed managing better. But they went over the top like the NHS tends to do – they don’t think about the long term,”
Amanda began her nursing career in intensive care, moving on to theatre and the community nursing.
She worked predominantly in the Greater Manchester and Wigan areas.
While she agrees something needs to be done, she is unconvinced by the coalition Government’s plans which will see the end of primary care trusts in England, the creation of a new NHS commissioning board and ‘more power to patients’.
Amanda said: “This new Bill that’s due out – I’ve read a little about it – it’s going to create a big two-tier system.
“Giving patients choice of which consultant or hospital they want to go to is all well and good but you can see what’s going to happen.
“There’s places that have good reputations and some that have not so good ones.
“The good ones are going to be inundated with referrals so that, when people start complaining that they still haven’t been treated, people will be told – ‘you chose that surgeon, you chose that hospital, it’s not our fault you are still waiting.’”
But Amanda does believe patients should be expected to take greater responsibility.
“We’ve got to persuade people to take more responsibility for their own lifestyle.
“For example, someone who is 42-years-old and obese comes into the clinic and discovers they have diabetes. Re-educating them 10 years earlier could have prevented it.
“Our healthcare system has become paternal – you go there (to a doctor or hospital) and they take complete control of everything.
“The patient is a bystander in it all.”
Amanda intends to use some of the skills she learned nursing in her new business venture and plans to train further in order to advise clients on dermatology and nutrition.
- Amanda Danielle’s is located at 36-39 Chester Street, Wrexham.