It’s our fault – waiting lists are so long

We allowed politicians, rather than clinicians, to run the NHS,  This produced an administrative headache, reflected in lengthening waiting lists.

Long waiting times appear to be pushing people into paying for private treatment.  Experts say this is a sign of how desperate people have become. to access timely treatment.

Recently the BBC commented on the numbers of people taking out loans and resorting to crowdfunding to pay for private treatment.

Where did it all go wrong?                                                                                        If the NHS were a private company, it would have gone bankrupt years ago;  but being Government funded it staggers along from one crisis to the next.  Frankly, I blame its founding fathers – whoever thought a Government Ministry (Dept. Health) with a politician at its head was the best way to run a health service, deserved to be shot.  – in the most uncomfortable place possible.

Patient groups are warning there is a risk of a two-tier system being created, with the poorest losing out because they are the least likely to be able to afford to pay for treatment.

Actually, it’s happening already.  My NHS GP now informs me “you need to see a consultant;  I know a very good private one”.  I happen to live in a wealthy area, but not all of us can afford the luxury of private care – how I wish!

Incidentally the figures from Private Healthcare Information Network on people paying the full cost of treatment themselves topped 250,000 last year.  This does NOT include those who hod private health insurance – just those who had dug into their own pockets, taken out a loan, etc.

Around here, many people have taken a long, hard look at the cost of private insurance, and have decided to cancel the insurance and self-fund.  Trusting they won’t have to pay out too much before they have built up some savings.

What to do if you can’t afford to go privately

  1.  Check the ‘Choose and book’ form (CB) your GP will send you   This form will have several options;  go through them carefully, and check on the Trust/Hospital websites what are their waiting times for your procedure.  Don’t rule out a centre just because it is unknown or outside the immediate area – it may have shorter waiting times than the centre you go to normally.
  2. At the top of the CB form there will be a note to say if and when you will be contacted.  When you are contacted, you might be given a date far in advance.   Accept it then copy what Susie did  ……
  3. In April this year Susie was sent an appointment for JANUARY 2023 for treatment she needed to start urgently.   Phoning CB she was told there was no way she could have an earlier appointment.  So she looked up details of the consultant whose clinic she was booked into.  Her CV mentioned that she had trained at a certain hospital, so Susie emailed her, mentioned that she had been treated at this hospital, and how wonderful the staff were.    Within five days of sending the email, Susie received a 20 minute phone call from the consultant;  then by post she received a print-out of very useful information about her condition, plus two forms for her to fill in to get special blood tests – and a week later the District Nurse had been round to take these.  Susie now feels much happier as things have started to happen.
  4. John had almost the same problem as Susie;  he decided to go privately, so phoned the excellent appointments office of his local private hospital.  Explaining he would prefer to see a male doctor, he found a very helpful secretary.  Only problem was, private care is getting inundated, so it was going to be a month’s wait for an appointment.  However, in the meantime, John sent through copies of notes from previous appointments relating to his NHS treatment, and he has received an email back saying these are going to be very helpful – and the consultant suggested that he ask the nurse at his GP’s surgery to carry out a certain blood test – which will speed things up.
  5. Noni has different tactics.  As soon as she receives a long-distant appointment date, she phones the hospital appointments dept. to ask if they have received a cancellation.  She repeats this every few days, and says it usually takes a fortnight before she strikes lucky.
So don’t despair if you are given a long wait time – there are things you can do to speed things up. 
Just as I post this article, up pops a message from Chris Lewis
“The service really does not possess the dynamic leadership it deserves. Proper ‘people managers,’ who can organise and motivate. Not medical people promoted beyond their skill set, just because they have been there a long time. As always the problems come from the top. With constantly changing Ministers and many staff just hanging on for their pension. The entire thing is rotten from top to bottom”