Such a prescient, beautiful sentiment.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

An NHS Experience.

Curate's Egg With An Off Yolk.

Went off to visit an elderly lady and old friend in Hospital yesterday evening. I have a very significant and personal  acquaintanceship with the NHS dating back through 1999 to last year, when a battle was seemed to have been won for my nearest and very dearest. Yesterday's visit was an uncomfortable one but to see the look of joy on our friend's face made the long journey very worthwhile. What may well become known as a "Chilean" moment! 
However, I found the massive central complex a monument to Governments' abuse of power and ignorance of reality. Car parking was an expensive joke, staffed with casual and indifferent jobsworths. The shiny corridors belied a unit and an organisation that has lost its way. A factory line manned by  robots who, if they cared when they signed up, have been subsumed into the target, production line mentality, so favoured by bureaucrats and Labour. Of course the swamping of our schools, hospitals and police services was an unspoken but inevitable consequence of mass immigration and pandering to minorities at the expense of the majority.
Now, nearby is a fantastic local, very small hospital. People know each other and the patients are often a friend or acquaintance, or friend of a friend, sometimes a relative of the staff. Even if not, their reception and treatment is more likely to be warm and friendly, caring and personal. 
That just cannot happen in a gargantuan edifice headed by a millionaire CEO and other wealthy, publicly remunerated, political sycophants. Their job and lifestyle demand allegiance to their political masters, before any desire to do a good job. Often they are career "administrators" or political placements. Such individuals carry an antipathy towards their professional staff born of a justifiable professional inferiority. I appreciate a medical and financial necessity for specialist centers, staffed by experts in their chosen discipline. I don't accept the creation of out of town supermarkets for nursing and medical treatment. They become, just like supermarkets, an open prison for a captive audience of mindless and manipulated masses. A herd blinded by the science of persuasion and too timid to fight back. An example from last evening. Hospedia. Some faceless rip off company with supermarket, glossy pamphlets and shiny, flat screen TVs and integrated phones. They weren't working. Thus many elderly, frail and immobile patients were forced to stare at the ceiling, often in pain and very lonely. Contact this supplier then, you might say. Couldn't be done. Their shiny cash point machine, charging exorbitant prices was bust. A kaleidoscope box, painted in the psychedelic colours of a Tesco like display bin, glared brightly and expensively from a wall. A huge machine typifying the modern, Labour NHS. Looks almost wonderful and special. Offers so much to the poor patient, at a price, yet was utterly useless. We left our friend staring at the wall for a further many hours of abject unhappiness as a cacophony of unanswered call buzzers continued their relentless quest for humanity in the midst of an empty and soulless supermarket corridor. Don't get old in Labours' Britain. It will be Labours' legacy forever.


  1. How depressing. I must admit, my old mum died in her armchair refusing to go into the Luton & Dunstable Hospital. She said at least she had her TV, her personal things around her and her dignity.

  2. It's sad beyond words.

    And frightening too.

    Because we shall all be there some day, and we have let this happen. Just like we let everything happen. We don't even protest. We just mutter, purse our lips, shake out heads and allow them to walk all over us.

    We call it a stiff upper lip... but in reality it is a disinclination to take action to make our lives better... and so we get what we deserve. A system that isn't fair and no one likes, but which suits the politicians and the "management".

    Maybe Mr Cameron's new government will sort that out... and maybe they won't because there's no real difference between them and New Labour and the British public remains the same.


  3. Sue, what remains heartening is this lady's spirit. She has to put up with what is happening but says it makes her more content with the home and life she has "away" from the "system.
    Tris, I do think blogging has a degree of fight back about it. We just have to keep at it and try to stir awareness. You are spot on, though. The British have no one but themselves to blame for allowing it all to come to pass. The sheeple syndrome is one strongly engendered by socialism. Sadly, like you, I believe it has become just the same
    for Cameron. Aided and abetted by the EU. Still Merkel's conversion is interesting, as is the rioting in France. I just wish they targeted the guilty at the top rather than their puppet Government and it's EU dwarf.

  4. Even if you complain it's ignored. My mother in law was treated abominably in the L&D before she died. I was going to complain (I was visiting her at the time) and she said don't... another lady's daughter had complained and they the nurses had bullied her from that moment on...

  5. All too similar with what goes on here OR, although there are still two small towns in Perthshire which have very small hospitals. The locals fought tooth and nail to keep them but they're mainly used for geriatrics and convalescence. Just what people need.

    That's dreadful Sue but I've heard of it happening. In my experience nurses aren't angels at all. Some are quite cruel.

    I remember those who used to put my father's meals out of his reach then when I complained they said 'he should have said he couldn't reach'. They knew full well he was totally bedridden and unable to be coherent owing to their inability to regulate his morphine.

  6. My parents were both nurses.

    What happened, OR, was a massive reorganisation in 1974, which saw the dismantling of front-line nursing by an over-puffed bureaucracy - the forerunner of the bloated management system that exists today.

    Nurses' homes on hospital sites were closed down, matrons were abolished, bank nursing - calling in qualified, (but non-committed) nurses to cover sickness and training absences was the order of the day. Just some of the "modernising" of the NHS that took place back then.

    With the scaling down of decent levels of nursing came tier upon tier of management, and before we know it, we have the utter crock of bureaucratic, PC shite that is the NHS that we see today.

    I go to hospitals several times a week in my profession - nurses aren't the devoted professionals they were in my parents' day - they are mostly everything that Layber encouraged them to be. Mouthy, uncaring, uncouth ladettes - wimmin who swear like men used to before PC. Wimmin who delight in recounting their sexual conquests of the weekend just passed - I kid you not. Wimmin who couldn't give a rat's arse about a patient - sorry, SERVICE USER (ffs!).

    Without getting too carried away on my soap-box, I reckon the simple restoration of two things to this country would make a world of difference to us all.

    1) Religion. Namely Christianity - Baptist, Methodist, RC, Anglican - it doesn't matter which, any Christian religion will do. Something to focus on, to give as an example to our kids, and grandkids. To teach love, rather than selfishness and,

    2) Discipline. Self discipline, a sense of responsibility, a sense of duty to others.

    Oh, dear.....I seem to have gone on a bit.........sorry OR.

    Evening, all.

  7. Splendid stuff killem.

    My kid sister is a 'matron' and is sometimes reduced to tears (she's a tough un too) by the un-human attitudes that infest the NHS. She is convinced that the best way to deliver care is via a large number of smaller hospitals (cottage hospitals?) dotted about the country.

  8. I trained at the L&D in the 80's not a bad hospital then. Still did traditional training which in my opinion is better. But i firmly beleive you get the health service you deserve so i would be glad to hear about all your protests over the years. I am sure when they took Enrolled nurses from the wards you said something and protested at reduced junior doctors hours. Also the rise of unqualified cheap labour in similiar looking uniforms to nurses, i bet you all wrote letters of complaint. Did you stand up and say something to support that nurse who filmed conditions for elderly people in a big hospital. But all this has not happened overnight only if you call overnight thirty years. Do not blame the front line staff who are holding the whole place together, look at the government, all this has come from the top down. If you want to know the reality read The Militant Nurse's blog. And on the subject of putting food out of patients reach the only people who i have seen do that in 25 years of nursing are the kitchen staff.

  9. Today I attended a major hospital in central Tokyo as an outpatient. I walked in without an appointment at 08:30 and was greeted by bowing staff at the door. At 09:00 I was asked to provide a specimen. By 09:30 I was seen by a consultant who had been trained in New York under a world-class specialist and spoke excellent English. He had the analysis of the specimen in front of him. He diagnosed my problem, gave clear and concise explanations of what was to be done, and answered every question with precision. He also recommended a book on the subject if I wanted to read up on it. I received a month's medicine and the cost of all this was met by national health insurance except for the patient's share which was about GBP40. I was pleased to pay such an amount for world-class service and by 10:30 I was enjoying a belated breakfast at a nearby restaurant. The hospital was modern, spotlessly clean, full of the latest high-tech equipment and staffed by uniformed professionals working with efficiency and kindness.
    Contrast this with the treatment I got in my home town in the UK a month ago. I had to wait 3 days for an appointment with a GP of their choice. He was very pleasant in that jokey British way and he diagnosed my condition and prescribed a month's medication. The specimen was sent away to a lab but he couldn't analyse it and I never heard anything about it. According to the Japanese doctor the GP made an incorrect diagnosis and prescribed drugs specifically not recommended for my actual condition, which is why it flared up again. OK to be fair the GP wasn't a specialist and my home town isn't central London but that's not the point.
    What's the vital difference? In Japan the hospital is run as a major business, it's a university teaching hospital and it needs the income from patients and therefore treats them like customers - and in Japan 'customer is king'. Hospitals are in competition with each other to get more patients and therefore have the funds to hire the best staff and buy the latest equipment. You can walk into any hospital you like with your national health card. Bad hospitals go bust and close down. Good ones expand. In other words, there is more or less a free market in health care and because you are also paying a bit yourself, you recognise how much it actually costs.
    By contrast the NHS is like communism: you are not the customer but the victim, the unit to be processed, to be told which doctor you must go to, to be made to wait, fobbed off with anything that will stop the symptoms and get you out of the clinic again.
    You don't feel that sense of personal service. It doesn't actually work properly except as an employment system for NHS staff.
    But then it's all "free at the point of delivery" - which makes me realise why that old Japanese saying is so true: "There's nothing so expensive as something that's free".

  10. I wonder just how many non-clinical 'managers' are in, or have had anything to do with, the front-line medical and nursing services in Afghanistan alongside what appears to be the most effective and efficient emergency health care available?

    I know many throw their arms in dismay over the creeping privatisation of health care but I wonder if it would be more professionally run and staffed as private systems cannot tolerate unnecesssary money gobbling paper-pushers and political interference and exsist only if they can provide what the 'customer' needs and/or wants. The NHS effectively silences all dissent.

    I agree with Killem', Caratacus and Adelaide Girl but for nursing, women's lives and expectations have changed - so many who would have chosen nursing first as a vocational profession wouldn't now touch it with a barge pole and are off to university or the business world to seek out their career dreams instead. They won't be back.

    Sticking nursing education into universities (many ex-techs.) must be a failed initiative that has overseen the fall of competence and too many standards crash in the NHS.

    Nursing is left with too many that would never have even got through the front-door in my day.

    Too many of the few excellent nurses that we still produce as a remnant of what used to be the norm, leave for Australia in their thousands (yes, thousands)- just ask my son and his fellow ex-pat medics working in Australia, New Zealand etc. - I fear they won't be back either. The numbers of some of our very best who find our NHS intolerable to innovative, independently accountable practice and ambition who are welcomed with open arms in other English-speaking countries, would shock. you.

    I'm fortunate - so far - I can be my own clinical nurse invigilator -sadly, I have to be.

  11. Adelaide girl, thousands signed up to a petition for the nurse "whistle blower". Many, many thousands have complained to The Government but socialism is not renowned for listening to anybody outside their cadre.
    Killem and all my other excellent contributors, all have a similar theme. The NHS is very, very sick. The disease seems to be an incurable "bureaucticitis"! Since Labour embedded many hundreds of thousands of fifth columnists throughout our public services, change is nigh on impossible though so desperately needed. Thank you all, again.

  12. The nurses in the L & D were all foreign and most couldn't speak English. You were lucky if you saw them at all.. you could hear them giggling away somewhere, but no sight of them anywhere.

    That same ward in the L & D (and I witnessed this myself), some old dear couldn't sleep, so they gave her a sleeping pill. She fell asleep sitting up. They didn't bother laying her down and she was still sat up in the morning. Of course her neck wasn't in a great state.

    My mother in law also got left on the loo for 2 hours even though she was ringing the bell like mad..

    I have tons more horror stories. I would rather suffer than go to an NHS hospital.

  13. Sue,Labour would call it a post code lottery. Trouble is the UK is one big post code!

  14. Adelaide girl, I assure you it happened and the staff weren't interested when I complained. Who put it out of his reach I don't know as I wasn't present, but the senior nurse was the person in charge.

    The second day I took time off work to visit at lunchtime and it was the same, so then I took time off to ensure I was present every mealtime so as I could help my Dad get some sustenance. The unfortunate thing was he was the only bedbound patient in the ward and the others all managed to go to the dining room. Perhaps that didn't help but it was known he only had a few weeks to live so I would have expected a little more concern for him.

    It was a lesson learned for me.

  15. Oh, I should add to that, the nursing he received when he went onto the hospice was second to none. They were angels.

  16. Mr OR - aren't we now one of 12 EU regions to be carved into further regionettes never mind parochial "post code"?

    Mind you, some of the health care systems in Europe compared with the largest employer in the EU - the NHS, make us look tired, lumpen and stumbling.

  17. subrosa

    Hospice nurses. Angels, indeed.

    I often have to go to hospices, and it has always struck me that the nurses who work in hospices seem to have the same dedication and caring attitude to patients that used to exist in our general hospitals.

    Have they, the decent nurses, left the hospitals in order to better serve us in our dying days? Just wondering.

    Time for standards to be ratcheted up, methinks.

    Time for a rethink about what money goes where, and what does it buy.

    I think that time is now, just in time for the comprehensive spending review.

  18. I truly appreciate what you're creating here!