Were you affected by Doctors’ strike?  Or one of thousands waiting for re-scheduled appointments? 

What now?

Doctors didn’t get what they wanted, so patients may have more disruption. Jeremy Hunt? He will have learnt nothing – Cameron put him there to carry out unpopular measures.  The way Government works (or doesn’t – according to your views) Hunt will follow his predecessor, Andrew Lansley: resign after he’s done his stint, wait a year, then get a well-paid job, perhaps in private sector.

And our post cancer survival rates, maternity mortality rates etc. will continue to shock.

Whilst Hunt plays ducks and drakes with NHS funds, robbing Peter to pay Paul, and shuffling funding around to funnel scarce funds to latest ‘in’ problem; in typical NHS fashion this will be done by putting outgoings under another heading – and result will be that cancer gets even less help.  Cynically the NHS knows many patients will be forced to find the money to go privately (mortgage, Equity Release, bank loan, crowd funding are all being used) to pay for private treatment.  Those who can’t manage this will just go to the back of an ever-lengthening queue

Case Study.

During the strike Anna had a mini-stroke;  spent six hours in local ‘special stroke unit’ waiting for an MRI Scan and other tests.  Eventually she had one quick Doppler scan and ten minutes with a Consultant.  Was told to return another day for MRI scan; when she did she was told she wouldn’t get results for 6 – 8 weeks!

Scared, she  wanted to know what had happened.  No compassion – she would have to wait. Too worried to do this, she paid to see Consultant privately – and has started rehab, even though she won’t see her NHS consultant for another five weeks..

What else happened

Some patients had superb care during the strike, attended by Consultants instead of Junior Doctors (JD).  Good for them. If only we could always have this level of care.  Meanwhile the JDs were on picket lines outside, and frankly not really explaining what it was all about so patients could understand.

As one noted NHS correspondent wrote, ”

An empty, contrived and rehearsed institutional statement of ‘regret’ about how much better and safer everything will be now that 120,000 patients have been bumped off the list.  A price worth paying? In the meantime, as far as this patient is concerned, the strikes have achieved Zilch, zero, nothing etc.
As the strike went on, it was obvious that public support was getting exasperated.  Yes, we all support doctors, but coming from an industry that worked seven days a week without extra payments, I wonder why a 13% increase in wages isn’t deemed sufficient to compensate for cutting overtime payments for Saturdays.
Oh dear
In the meantime patients cross fingers that re-arranged appointments aren’t scheduled to coincide with the next strikes.
Perhaps the BMA (the JD’s union) should come off its high horse, explain to the public what is really going on, and then ask for patients’ support and us to write to our
MPs to ask for a sensible outcome.  And the public has to face reality, and realise we pay less per person on average than other countries.  So rather than having to pay for private care, we should be prepared to pay a percentage more to give the NHS the funding it needs to deliver the aspirational “world class care”.

As respected guru Roy Lilley wrote,

Nothing has been achieved by this misbegotten, ill judged, strategic vacuum that the BMA has persuaded its members is ‘a campaign’.
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