Saturday, 24 September 2016

More on the NHS

Almost all of us have stories about the NHS. This is from regular commenter Wiggia.

A long short story

Your article on the NHS reminded me of a personal trip to West Suffolk Hospital some years ago. I had a pain behind my knee and the leg from there down swelled up, it didn't get better so saw my GP who was not satisfied and thought it could be DVT so sent me to the hospital to see a specialist.

I saw the specialist at about ten in the morning on schedule but she was not certain of her diagnosis and wanted the head of the unit to confirm her findings (it was a burst Baker's cyst) before I was released.

After waiting about an hour the senior nurse (very old school matron type) came over and said it would be a long wait. Why so? I asked, and she said he only came to the clinic after he had done his ward rounds later in the day, as is normal in these situations. I had no choice and waited, in the meantime the senior nurse well aware of the time involved brought me tea and biscuits from the ward trolley and said she was sorry but that is how it is now at this hospital.

At four in the afternoon the consultant appeared, spent less than two minutes with me, agreed with the original diagnosis and gave a prescription for the knee problem to be handed in at the dispensary that happened to be next to the area I was in.

Another hour went by waiting and I had reached the point where I was ready to go home without the prescription. I decided to walk the five yards round the corner to see what the hold up was. There was my original doctor with her legs up drinking tea another nurse reading a newspaper and another getting some prescriptions together.

I explained what I was waiting for and that I had been waiting an hour when the nurse who was actually working exploded with "we have been very busy all day" in that manner that says you will wait regardless as you are just a number. My reply was, "I would have been very busy all day but I have been stuck here and unlike you as I run my own business I do not get paid to sit on my arse." 

That didn't go down to well and resulted in shuffled papers and mumblings, and my prescription was ready in a couple of minutes. Sometimes you have to tell them how it is. They or many NHS employees still believe they are doing you a favour just being there.

I have another example, recently getting an appointment with the eye clinic, where after three months ! of trying to get an appointment and being told there is a hold up and shortage etc I emailed (previous emails had not been returned) that obviously my appointment was totally unnecessary and I wouldn't be trying again to get get one. If they thought it was wanted they could contact me or not. I had an appointment with alternatives that 'might' suit me in two days.

This attitude of being something you should be grateful for rather than something we all pay for is prevalent amongst a large section of NHS workers. Even a nurse giving me an annual asthma check said after I had explained the treatment wasn't working and needed to change replied that 'as it was free there was no harm done'. Saying that nothing was free in the NHS got me the look of someone who really should be more grateful.

Everyone can relate to the good and bad about the NHS but it is to big to be criticised and dealt with properly and totally over-managed mainly by people from the baked bean industry.

The attitude of many within the NHS is of an organisation that is fine thank you and leave us alone and just throw money our way. Despite government giving whistleblowers on malpractice clearance without malice to come forward, the NHS trusts still buy them of or shut them down. There are so many items that need correcting before you even get onto the finance that it would take yet another article on the subject. There have already been dozens and the effect absolutely nothing.

My GP practice consists of eight GPs five part time, if you can ever get past the non medical appointment meister and get an appointment. If urgent you will be directed to the walk-in centre six miles away. Your appointment will be at least two weeks away and not on a Thursday or Friday afternoon because as far as I can make out there is only one doctor on duty at those times, and anyway you are to old to be prioritised as it says on their literature. Children and babies will have priority. Yes it actually tells those that have paid taxes all their life for this system that they are now at the back of the queue.

Ever since I have been with this medical centre as they call it, they have sent out survey forms for feedback on the practice. Nothing has ever changed, what is the point !

Not all about the NHS is bad, far from it. My wife who does have ongoing problems has with minor exceptions received good care and treatment all her life. So there can always be a difference of opinion about the service amongst individuals, but the overall picture is of a downward spiral with nobody having any real solution other than want more money. Money alone is not the answer and this is where another article starts or would to add to the many on file everywhere.


DCBain said...

What? You criticise the medical expert at the desk? Know your place! The NHS is a top-heavy self-serving bureaucracy which has lost sight of the fact that the end user is its raison d'etre. It has done this because it "works" to instructions from masters who can afford not to be affected by it.

James Higham said...

I'm paying through the nose for a course of dental just now - stories about the NHS abound. Pity but no choice at this time.

Demetrius said...

I had an uncle who was a doctor. He died young after being wrongly diagnosed.

A K Haart said...

DCB - yes I'm sure that's a key to the problem - the insulated bureaucracy.

James - we pay and get good treatment. If it declines we can simply go elsewhere.

Demetrius - what rotten luck.

Flyinthesky said...

The care and concern I have received from the specialists, nurses and doctors, has been exemplary.

I had the liberating experience of being without a GP for 6 years. The reasons I have one now is to give me a rest from funding my own medication and I cannot certify my own disability.

I have now got a shiny new GP practice, a poly practice specifically designed to monetise every patient and extract funds from the NHS.

While giving me placative reassurance of being there to help it is my experience that that the only interest they have in me is triggering QOF payments. Considering the diagnosis and indeed prognosis of my disease I find it difficult to decide the best descriptive but useless and crass are right up there.

The NHS is creating, often for dubious benefit, a fear inspired need it can not ever hope to service.

A K Haart said...

Fly - my care has been good too, but not so much the concern and I know of a case where neither have been good.

"The NHS is creating, often for dubious benefit, a fear inspired need it can not ever hope to service."

Indeed it is - you have it in one sentence.

Edward Spalton said...

When we moved out of Derby, our old practice asked if we would stay on - which we did. Very good care on the whole but I was irritated once by a letter which began " The Department of Health recommends" . I told our doctor of many years." I don't want to know what the department thinks. They know nothing about me but you do" . He was a little nonplussed.

For a completely different reason, we have been kicked out of this practice - because we are outside the official catchment area. Doctors used to be able to decide who they had as patients. Now, if someone within the catchment area applies, they have to accept them ( non discrimination, you see). So, with a full complement, patients from outside the area are chucked out.

We have found a good, new practice but it is obvious that we are being treated to gain the most brownie points and cash. The position of doctors as professional, independent contractors has been undermined and they are chasing various bonus payments - more like salesmen on commission.

A K Haart said...

Edward - if the trend continues, which it will, then doctoring will be deskilled. Add up all these centralising encroachments and you have a totalitarian outcome on the horizon.

Flyinthesky said...

Edward, Cash incentives have no place whatsoever in primary care. I find it a travesty that a doctor can summon you to the surgery to facilitate their next earning opportunity but if you actually need one you can't get an appointment. A standard appointment is usually four weeks, if it's urgent patients are often referred to a walk in centre or A&E.

The problem with healthcare and many other things is what we once had as services we have allowed them to morph into authorities, even the dustbin man, oops, refuse and recycling operative, has dominion over us. Boy have they all grasped the opportunity with both hands.

Flyinthesky said...

A,K. Deskilled? With notable exceptions GPs don't need to be that skilled, beyond simple infections, bumps and bruises they refer you to an expert who knows what they are talking about, often on less than half the pay of a GP. It's a nonsense.