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The less sensitive side of the NHS

10 Feb

The NHS has taken a bit of a beating this week. Hardly surprising given the goings on down south which cost the lives of 1200 people apparently. 1200 people. Is that a high estimate or a low one.

I think from memory the statistics generally quoted is that the NHS manages to kill 30,000 people a year. 30,000. Please bear in mind the frenzy of the righteous when they used to hear that 3,000 people a year were killed in car accidents. I don’t remember the righteous getting even more upset, marching, occupying hospitals, building temporary health camps and throwing bags of paint against the buildings.

My Dad got ill a lot in the two years before he died. Every time he went into hospital he had to be taken off warfarin and he wouldn’t get back out until he was back on the warfarin. This added a week or so to his stay.

He hated it. Bearing in mind that he thought the NHS was a great thing he hated going in to hospital mainly because he was always put in a general ward, which was like a sort of dumping ground. Part of the dumping that took place was that some of the patients had psychiatric problems. He didn’t feel safe in his bed. At times it was impossible to have a conversation. Stuff went missing.

That was bad enough. But some of the staff were, well, unpleasant. My Dad was a joker. He liked a laugh. He spoke to everyone, all the time. I was in one night visiting him and a nurse came to look at his hand, which was painful because of the needle in his vein. She took off the light stretch bandage and looked at the needle and then replaced the tape holding it in place. During this taking place my dad spoke to her. He joked with her about his hand. He asked her a question.

During the whole thing the nurse said nothing. She completely ignored my Dad. Walked off. I can’t think of any reason or excuse that could be considered. She was Scottish so no language problem. Maybe she had been working for hours? That would have been no excuse though.

The NHS probably worked when it was first setup. I don’t doubt that there are many people alive and I better health than would be the case if it didn’t exist but the model is no longer “fit for purpose”.

A elderly relative had to go to the Docs because he had an ear infection. His ear was swollen and it was affecting his face and eye. No problem. He luckily got an appointment with his Doc who was also an ear nose and throat specialist. She said he’d have to go to the ear, nose and throat clinic. Which was in Livingston!

So there is no nose ear and throat treatment available within Edinburgh? That’s a 50 mile trip to get an ear looked at and the trip had to be done twice. At one point it looked as if he’d have to stay in. How could his non-driving wife have visited him? By bus? She’s in her late 70s.

The NHS is about CARE. Medical care obviously but basic care, basic human compassion even. There will be thousands of people working for the NHS who deliver this care and there will be just as many or more who don’t.

We pay for it but like far too many things nowadays we have no contract directly with the point of delivery. A service level agreement should be available to us and the staff should be delivering within the agreed terms.

I’m not naive to think it will happen.

 

It won’t.

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Posted by on February 10, 2013 in Health, The NHS

 

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