The NHS is expert at stating the blithering obvious

~ and trying to ignore what is happening in rest of world
Image result for nhs image                                          It proudly proclaimes it is a “World Class Service”

But as today’s media tells us, the NHS is in dire straights and is about to get worse. And if we want to have any suitable service at all, available when we need it, we need to take much more notice of what is going on.

Save Our NHS, HOWL and all the other well-meaning groups formed to try and stop the privatisation of the NHS need to re-think.  We do need to pay more, as the service we have at the moment is just the bare basics.  Bringing in some private centres, who run very successful hospitals. and know where to cut costs, are what we need.

Instead, we get the get-rich-quick merchants who smooth-talk the local Cynical Commissioning Groups with airy-fairy plans.  These CCGs have no expertise in awarding contracts, and are ripe for having wool pulled over eyes.

Cancer patients have seen our survival statistics tumble in the last decade from 13th in Europe, down to 25th – and falling. This month comes a report that states we are now bottom of the league for childcare for Europe.  Yet NHS chiefs blithely tell us “we are getting better”.

Yes – so is the rest of the world.  How come they are doing it faster, more effectively and efficiently?  Because many work with a public/private sector involvement – and seem perfectly happy.

Abandon hope

As I was being wheeled into A & E, I noticed the expensive claptrap “mission statement” inscribed at great expense up high on the hospital’s walls saying it is “Serving the Community” (an expensive way to state the bleeding obvious). Think it would be more accurate to change this for “Abandon hope all ye who enter here”.  as this hospital is known by locals as “The Abattoir”, I remember many encounters here fighting for elderly parents’ care; the moment you reach 60, you are shoved into a special ward whose only distinction seems to be fewer nurses per patient than in other wards.

This time, I’ve really done it.  Ended up with six fractures, and wake up with a couple of nurses making sure I can feel every one of the breaks as they attempt to nurse me.  Apparently they are Healthcare Assistants i.e, trainees – not Nurses – and blithely assure me they haven’t yet had their training in ‘How to handle fracture patients’.  Suppose the Sister Tutor rubbed her hands in glee when I appeared through the door – here was ideal training material.

Hold on – we are tops at something

About a third of my working life was spent abroad, so I attended A & Es in many countries; arriving by Air Ambulance (most of Europe has a far more extensive network developed years before ours), ambulance and even horse and cart (that’s another story).  All different, but the one common denominator was the efficient way in which hospital reception abroad made sure we were going to pay the bill.

Then I come back to Britain, and my first experience has a client falling in the Tower of London and breaking her arm  (can’t say I don’t frequent the best places).  Her husband, being American, was fully covered by insurance, and handed me the relevant plastic to ensure the NHS would get fully reimbursed.  I had to fight to get someone to take this – everyone I spoke to told me they didn’t know what was the procedure, and were too busy to attend to this – as though this was a nuisance.  Contacting the hospital afterwards I was told that the four underemployed Receptionists busy chatting up ambulance staff, “were far too busy to do more paper-work”.  So that’s where our NHS loses its funds.

There are calls to charge drunks.  You can’t go and get drunk unless you have plastic or cash to pay, so why can’t the NHS be as efficient as the most junior bartender at extracting due payment?  Yet we go on paying for their NHS treatment, Police etc. when the NHS hasn’t got the dosh.

There are calls to charge drunks.  You can’t go and get drunk unless you have plastic or cash to pay, so why can’t the NHS be as efficient as the most junior bartender at extracting due payment?  Yet we go on paying for their NHS treatment, Police etc. when the NHS hasn’t got the dosh.

There are calls to charge drunks.  You can’t go and get drunk unless you have plastic or cash to pay, so why can’t the NHS be as efficient as the most junior bartender at extracting due payment?  Yet we go on paying for their NHS treatment, Police etc. when the NHS hasn’t got the dosh.

And we should charg Drunks.  You can’t get legless unless you have enough cash or plastic to pay, and no bartender would allow free drink. So why can’t the NHS be as efficient as the most junior bar-tender at extracting due payment?

I want to survive

I have spent enough hours recently stuck on trolleys to have developed my own survival strategy for visits to A. & E.

  • NO examination without proper pain relief:  When my battered body is ‘going for X-ray’ I  inform staff there will be NO examination until I have been given pain relief.  I won’t accept that ~”you will be given this after the X-ray” . I know just moving me off the trolley onto the X-ray bed is going to be a painful procedures, so I don’t move until I get relief.
  • No admission to a ward until I have the correct wristbands fastened to my arm.  I am allergic to penicillin, and in St. Mary’s (the hospital featured on TV) it took me 48 hours before I had the red plastic band around my wrist – in the meantime I had to fend off nurses who were possibly going to administer dubious medicines.  Nightmare..
  • INSIST the admitting person in A & E phones the ward to say I am coming up.  Last time it was 1 am. I asked someone to phone the ward so that the mattress had time to inflate (it takes one hour) – nothing.  Arrived in ward at 1 am to find bed with bare boards.  So if you ever read that hospitals ‘lose’ expensive trolleys and can’t transfer patients, it’s because we have to wait on them whilst a nurse gets on with a job they should have done an hour before; inflating the mattress.  Oh. and this also means a Porter has to return back to base, then waste another 20 mins to come back for the ‘gold dust’ trolleys.  The fact that patients have to wait another hour before they can try to sleep matters not – we are ONLY patients.                                                                                                                                                                Things ain’t going to improve

There’s one thing to say for the Tories – when David Cameron got in, his team realised that NHS was heading for melt-down.  Trouble was no politician dare admit this, so out came platitudes galore.   La La Lansley was offered all the pomp of a Ministry – Health no less – and obviously told to keep quiet and do what he was told;  which was to smooth the way for privatisation.  He then picks up a nice job with a major pharma company at the end (but he did wait a year before starting officially)

But, the NHS doesn’t plan to commission the private sector we have had up till now, with its excellent care.  Their idea of ‘private’ is comprised of  ‘made up’ companies specially formed just to provide very basic care to the NHS – and cut corners wherever possible.  My first experience was needing an MRI of my spine, I was given an X-ray instead by one of these companies.  The films went in the w.p.b. whilst my Professor hit the roof – and sent me off to have them done properly.  Double cost to the NHS, But as far as I know no-one was carpeted.

Get Save Our NHS, HOWL, and all these very active and public-spirited groups together, and let them talk to local hospitals to award contracts;  I have been lucky enough to have had insurance, but if I had to attend an NHS hospital one could see how inefficiency and incompetence were sending funds walking out the door – which would never be tolerated in the private sector.  Recently in St. Mary’s I found the alarm bells broken, and as no patient is allowed to contact SODEXHO who have contract to repair them) to point this out – so it is often several weeks before hard-pressed staff are able to do this.  In the meantime the bells don’t work.

Solutions?

We have to realise we are not paying enough taxes for a modern NHS. Dig into our pockets, pay more or shut up. And try and channel all the effort that is going into up-coming demos to work with hospital Admin. to decide what  WE want to keep, and what can be cut back.  Otherwise it will be done for us.

 

 

 

 

 

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