A day observing the NHS

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So, had to take my Mum to the hospital today because she was suffering some worrying symptoms following a stroke 2 weeks ago.

Over a period of 6 hours she had tests and scans to check for anything serious and in between we waited for the incredibly busy nurses and doctors to find time to see us. We witnessed a couple of people who were obviously suffering serious problems with alcohol, an old lady fall to the floor hitting her head and an older man suffering from Alzheimers requiring one to one care because he kept wanting to go for walks. At every point the nurses and doctors were completely professional, remarkably patient and works incredibly hard. Approximately 80% of the staff were foreign with the majority from the EU and approximately 90% of the people who needed their help were from the UK. It was a similar tale in the hospital where my Mother was initially treated for her stroke.

It’s OK though because Brexit will sort out those pesky helpful people and leave the NHS, well, who knows where it will leave it? For many, that doesn’t matter as long as Johnny Foreigner can’t get in!

Anyway, that’s not the point of this.

The Stroke nurse, while assessing my Mum, said about Stroke rehab “The quicker you get the rehab, the more functions you get back.”

Read that sentence again and consider how important that is to the rest of a person’s life. They have the potential to gain almost all of their functions back given timely intervention.

My Mother is staying with us to recover which is in another area to where she lives and I received a call when I got home to discuss the rehab.

Excellent, bring it on!

The waiting time for rehab is currently 14 weeks in our area. 3.5 months by which time the person I was talking to effectively admitted that much of the benefits of rehab could be lost. And 4-5 weeks for a speech therapist to help with the swallowing function so that she can get off the mushy food that she is allowed to eat now. To get to eating and drinking properly which of course aids recovery and then helps with everything else. But no, 4-5 weeks.

If she goes back to her home town, which is 100 miles away and which now looks likely, she could be looking at 3-4 days to start the rehab. How crazy is that?

One NHS in one country and it’s a complete lottery as to if you get timely rehab or if you are left to stay as you are for eternity.

I love the NHS, I really do, but there are so many areas that have failed completely at this point. From A&E to children’s mental health to stroke rehabilitation, and presumably lots more, this is no longer a first world health system. It is an organisation starved of funds and run by people who do jobs most of us could not handle, and for some under the impression that we don’t even want them in the UK. It’s all so sad…

This is why there is only one article today. Yesterday was a long day…

7 thoughts on “A day observing the NHS

  1. I can sympathize, literally. Canada’s system is somewhat similar to the U.K.’s, although I believe that most of our practitioners are Canadian. However, the wait times in major urban centres is usually much longer than in rural areas.

  2. Don’t worry about posting. Just get your mum sorted. Most of us I’m sure will survive!

    It really bugs the hell out of me when the cut backs are generally made on health and education. Several years ago I broke my menisco bone in my knee, and the only way to be sure was to get a scan. The research I had done myself BTW. The doctor literally laughed at me, and told me there was a 6-7 month waiting list. In the end I asked one of my private students who is a doctor, and she organized a way to get me through it all and I was operated upon pretty quick. But it’s just not right. I wanted to do it right, but in the end I had to pull strings to get things done. (this is the short version of the story BTW!)

  3. As a foreigners point of view having lived in the UK years ago, they used to hire us because we just did the work expected from us and more without complaining. (I’m Dutch born and Kiwi bred BTW. I was a teacher in the UK and Cabin Crew just to mix it up!) No offence meant to any British workers BTW, it was what we were told.

    1. No offence taken. I often feel that the British are one of the laziest, most complaining bunch of workers on Earth, and I am British!

  4. As a lefty American, I really do wonder what the best health care system would be. It’s a quandry from any angle, with rising potential for help combined with rising costs. In our country, things are very odd because a long time ago (I’ve been told in response to wage freezes) healthcare became a perk for work and insurance has been largely tied to employment for a long time, for most middle class workers anyway. And it makes some weird side effects; like since hospitals know they will generally always be negotiating for reimbursement with big old companies, the “list prices” of very ordinary medical things are through the damn roof – because 9 times out of 10, the person never has to pay anything near that. Combine that with the weird back and forth of legitimate need for recourse when a doctor acts incompetently with people looking for malpractice paydays, and things get even more messed up.

  5. A link to a survey of how Canadians view their health care system was part of a story on cbc.ca today. While the focus is on Canadians, many of the charts in the chartbook show all 11 countries surveyed. Those countries are Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and United States.

    The original article is at http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/wait-times-cihi-commonwealth-1.3984920
    and the report is at https://www.cihi.ca/en/health-system-performance/performance-reporting/international/commonwealth-fund-survey-2016

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