We must stop accepting broken healthcare as normal

Image: Unsplash
Image: Unsplash

Last week, a video from a hospital in Essex went viral on Twitter. In the video, a nurse explains to patients in the emergency room that they will likely have to wait seven-and-a-half hours or more to see a doctor. 

She makes it clear to those waiting that they will likely have to stay overnight, saying, "We will make you comfortable; we will do our best and look after you, but please don't expect that you'll be going straight to a ward—that may not happen." 

This video is not from a developing country but from the United Kingdom. And it's not a rarity, as the countless comments under the video show. Here in Germany too, there are repeated reports of overburdened hospitals and the consequences for staff and patients.  Overloaded healthcare systems have become the norm. Just as it has become normal in Germany for schools to be completely rundown. 

This is a shame.

As a rich society, it just shouldn't be normal to have people waiting an entire night for emergency care. Not to mention that medical errors are already a leading cause of death. And errors happen more often under pressure. 

I am convinced that technological innovations can do their part to improve our healthcare system. Digital patient management with linking to surrounding hospitals can, for example, help to better manage peaks in demand. Telehealth services can also help if some patients do not have to go to the hospital in the first place.

But I am convinced that technological innovations alone are not enough. We need to focus on the people in health care. We also need more personnel in hospitals and better working conditions for medical workers. To achieve this, medical professions must become more attractive. Among other things, we need better pay, mandatory rest periods and more flexible working hours. 

What do you think? What are the biggest levers to fix our healthcare systems?

Hadi Saleh

Hadi’s Reflections

Dr. Hadi Saleh is CEO of CeramTec, a leading provider of advanced ceramics for medical applications. He is driven by the idea of embracing technology for the benefit of human life.


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