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Failed by the NHS

Failed by the NHS

Mon Jul 29, 9-10pm, BBC3

By Phil Harrison
These are stormy times for the National Health Service and tonight’s TV doesn’t seem calculated to make Bevan’s baby any more comfortable. At 8pm, Channel 4 is offering ‘Dispatches: NHS Undercover’, in which undercover call centre workers reveal flaws in the health service’s helplines. And then there’s this film looking at shortcomings in mental health care for young people.

It’s helmed, with great feeling, by Jonny Benjamin, whose schizoaffective disorder wasn’t correctly diagnosed by any of the health professionals he initially visited. Benjamin meets others who have suffered from poor diagnosis, a lack of therapy and dubious prescriptions. Affecting tales abound and it’s impossible to feel anything but sympathy for the youngsters we meet. Which is all the more reason to feel slightly disappointed by Benjamin’s eventual confrontation with Care Minister Norman Lamb.

Throughout the film, Benjamin is told fairly consistently that most of the NHS’s issues boil down to funding and the recent withdrawal of same by the Coalition government. So we’d have liked to see him push a little harder when given the chance to air his grievances. Not so much failed by the NHS, as failed by the people who are charged with keeping it solvent.

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