One reads about operations being cancelled at the last minute, but when it happened to a friend this growing problem really hit home to me.  I was about to send her a card as she was due to have a hip replacement, and I get an email to say her op had been cancelled at the last minute.  She is just one person – BUT the ripples from her cancellation extended as far as Italy where her sister was about to fly home.  She had been told that she would be discharged from hospital two days after the op – this is latest thinking and for once NHS isn’t just cost-cutting.  Apparently Belgium is leader in this type of procedure, and my top physio told me “you almost walk home from the operating table”.  Here is was 10 days in hospital for other friends  (and the Duke of Edinburgh), but for once NHS cost-cutting might be better for patient care.  However, living alone, she wouldn’t be able to manage, so she had booked herself in to a private Nursing Home,  They had to be cancelled, and as the home is a charity it impacted on them.

Then I get an email from her:  You will be ‘amused’ to hear, that not long after you and I had been talking on the ‘phone, a leaflet was put through my door about Save Our Hospitals and entitled “Save Charing Cross:  Vote for the NHS – Think NHS when you vote in the Local Elections on May 3rd – Vote NHS”!!  How ironic, especially after our discussion about the NHS!!

Not only ironic, but genuine food for thought with about half of the UK going to the polls for local elections.  Last year there had been a massive upset for Conservatives where I lived, when Emma Dent Coad (Labour) overturned an 8,000 Conservative majority by 30 votes.  There had been 3 recounts andTory demands for another one, but the election officer refused, saying the constituency couldn’t afford this.  This year, my ‘old’ council is probably going to look very different after local elections, with Grenfell Tower right in the middle.

Meantime, I think of other friends, one in particular who literally sold off the family silver to be operated on privately by same surgeon as ‘did’ the Duke of Edinburgh.  She had gone in to hospital, on the due date, had fantastic care and is now bouncing around.  I am totting up sale value of everything I own – just in case.  Sadly, I fear it’s probably about enough to treat an ingrowing toe-nail

Another friend, going for her pre-op assessment, told nurse she was a polio survivor.  Didn’t register.  So she became insistent that survivors MUST see anaesthetist before any op. as they need to do tests;  no joy.  “You will see the anaesthetist when you go into Theatre”.  So she came home, phoned the surgeon’s secretary and said “I’m scared.  Please can I have my operation done privately?”.  And had a half hour consultation with the anaesthetist before the op. I  know this is vital;  the Marsden anaesthetist ‘overlooked’ when I mentioned polio (I didn’t realise how important this was), and I was very very sick after my lumpectomy.  I’ve learnt a lesson.

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