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A reminder of how lucky we are

  Forum Editor 19:08 30 Dec 2010

came my way today.

I had to take a family friend to hospital in London - nothing serious, just some tests - and I dreaded what I thought would be the inevitable waiting around.

Nothing could have been further from the truth. We arrived for the 1:00 p.m. appointment at 12:45, and twenty minutes later my friend was being asked to sign a consent form for the tests. We waited another ten minutes in a quiet, pleasant room, and a doctor arrived to explain what was about to happen. He couldn't have been more pleasant and patient, answering several questions, and explaining to me that my friend was to be sedated, so would need me to take care of her for a few hours afterwards.

The procedure took about an hour, then another hour in a peaceful, modern recovery room with people bringing us both tea, coffee and biscuits. The we were out,and into the car. The whole thing lasted about two and a half hours, and was an object lesson in professional, efficient patient care.

I was very impressed, and thought I would share the experience with you - we see plenty of criticism of the NHS in the media, and sometimes here in the forum. Obviously there are good and bad hospitals, and admittedly we went to a major London one (UCH), but based on what I saw today we have a lot to be thankful for.

  Forum Editor 19:10 30 Dec 2010

in Consumerwatch because we're all NHS consumers really.

  polish 20:47 30 Dec 2010

i generally have good experience with the nhs but waiting times can be quite long maybe fe the times for you were short due to it being between christmas and new year we are lucky to have the nhs even with its faults

  rickf 21:17 30 Dec 2010

Fully agree. It's a service, a gift really, which we must never ever stop supporting and fighting for. I am afraid though that the present lot in government will attempt to move it more to the private sector. The recent move to GPs holding clinical funds may well be the subtext in moving things in that direction.

  spuds 21:45 30 Dec 2010

Not being cynical, but this wouldn't have something to do with the holidays, and people leaving 'spaces' on waiting and appointment lists.

Over the past 12 months I have had many hospital appointments for various medical problems (still got more in the New Year, starting January 4th). Nearly all have gone very well, in respect of time and care of the staff. I always tend to get to the hospitals well before time, and on a number of occasions I have been called well before my alloted time, possibly due to other peoples lateness?.

Mid year I was informed that I was due to have an operation, and I would be placed on a waiting list, being told to expect a 4 week delay. A week after seeing the consultant, I had a telephone call on a Saturday morning at 10am asking if I could be at the hospital in an hour or two ("no need to rush") and they would fit me in for the afternoon rota. I duly arrived at 12 noon, operating theatre at 1.00pm, sitting in bed having a snack at 3.30pm, home by 6pm. The best part of that, was the surgeon sharing his mint tea with me, and seeing that same surgeon two weeks later in the hospital lift, and he still remembered me.

Now to me, you cannot ask for better than that, but at other times, you tend to wonder what as gone wrong. Buts that another story.

  Forum Editor 00:07 31 Dec 2010

Be as cynical as you like, but I assure you that people still get ill over Christmas - the hospital was heaving with patients, and when I asked a senior nurse if they were busy she said 'very - we're short-staffed at the moment'.

You wouldn't have known it.

  BT 08:52 31 Dec 2010

I had a similar experience when I had my Cataracts removed. I had to be there by 8am and was accompanied by my wife and my sister who had driven us there.
We were seated in a, for want of a better word, lounge area with comfortable chairs. The nurse came round to each patient to administer the pre-op drops etc.
After the procedure under local anaesthetic - no needles just drops - we were all given coffee and biscuits until about 30 mins later I was discharged, and was home by 11am.

  spuds 10:11 31 Dec 2010

You cannot tar all hospitals with the same brush, because this isn't true. As you rightly state though, a lot of the problems might be the fault of the management, possibly at all levels. And we only need to see some newspaper reports to perhaps confirm this. More so, when you see an higher death rate or returns at some hospitals, with a management team in denial.

From my own experiences, I have had the exceptional first class service to the very poor (and I mean poor), both in customer care and diagnosis.

I have even been on the long term list of a consultant surgeon, who was recently involved in proceedings against him, due to a very serious 'botched job', that nobody wanted to admit. Some of the other consultants I have seen, were very good with their diagnosis, and have spotted what others have missed. At the end of the day its all down to experience and having the right facilities, plus the backing of those in charge, at whatever level.

As I stated earlier, I have had more than my fair share of hospital experiences over the past year, and have more to follow in 2011. And in all truth, without the NHS I wouldn't have been able to afford the treatment that I have had so far, and will perhaps continue to have in the foreseeable future. Private insurance might have helped, but that can run out in time, then what?.

If the government, in whatever form or political party swing, decides to 'privatise' the NHS, then the voters should make their voices heard, starting at their own MP's front door.

  Forum Editor 14:07 31 Dec 2010

I think I've said elsewhere that I know someone who is at a very senior level in the NHS, and she has told me that the switch to a GP fund-holding basis is going to be 'an absolute disaster'. She says that no money will be saved, in fact costs will rise, and the administrators whose jobs will disappear will promptly be employed by the GP trusts, who will have no experience of managing hundreds of millions of pounds worth of health budget.

The hospitals will still have to be run, so administrators will still be needed.

She cannot believe that a government could be so misguided as to dismantle a system which - although far from perfect - is internationally respected. The Obama administration recently invited a delegation of NHS people (of which my friend was a member) to go over and advise the American government about how to set up and run a National Health Service. While she was there she was told that US health officials and medical experts reckoned that we had the best system in the world.

  spuds 14:40 31 Dec 2010

I agree on what you have stated, perhaps more so in regards to 'absolute disaster' and possible administration, I also know a few people involved with the day to day running of the NHS at local hospital and PCT level.

But what worries me, is the recent case of our local hospital trust who have had a total (without consultation) re-organisation of its services. Some of the staff were offered replacement jobs, other redundancy. One person who I know was in a managerial position with 25 years experience. Her job became redundant, and she was 'given' another managerial job, which she openly admits, she as very little experience about. One major concern to her, is that she is suppose to train and guide others in her new department, and in the new roll that department as to achieve. Just before Christmas, she was talking about leaving ( with a possible tribunal case pending) or having a nervous breakdown with sick leave attachments.

Very little support or help from her more senior management is apparently visible. Not a very pleasant situation to be in, especially when the tender years have long past?.

  Forum Editor 15:06 31 Dec 2010

Thousands of people in Primary Care Trusts have just been,or are about to be made redundant.

The trusts have been told they must make big staff reductions whilst delivering the same (or a higher) standard of care. According to my contact it just isn't going to be possible.

This thread is now locked and can not be replied to.

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