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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 17:31 31 Dec 2010

Not yet, she's been in America, and I haven't had any contact since then. I'll certainly ask her when we next meet.

  natdoor 08:24 01 Jan 2011

We are indeed fortunate to have the NHS. Perhaps we should all be reminded that it was almost entirely due to the determination of Aneurin Bevan that the NHS was created in the face a fierce opposition from Winston Churchill, the Conservative party generally and the BMA. It was only possible to bring it about by making a compromise with the medical profession which permitted surgeons to act part-time for the NHS and part-time privately.

  BT 08:40 01 Jan 2011

How right you are.

We had a visit from an American acquaintance of my wife who was most insistent that the American health system is the best in the world. What she fails to see is that its only good for those that can afford it, and that those who can't, go without.
Another American that we know was cutting down on her own Diabetes medication so that she could pay for some health care for her child. What a dilemma to be in. At least in this country she would not have to do that.

  spuds 12:45 02 Jan 2011

I have to agree on some of the highlights you have mentioned. I have been in a position of seeing neglect of duty by some fully trained nurses, when the auxiliaries did the major brunt of the ward work. Other examples of wrong-doing have also been witnessed, but in some cases, its the cover ups that are the most concerning.

In the case I mentioned earlier about a consultant that I used on a fairly regular basis. It took the family of the injured party over a great period of time and self investigation to uncover the wrong-doing in that case. The hospital and medical authorities were in denial of any wrong-doings, until it became apparent that events proved otherwise.That family had to go to Australia to uncover the vital evidence of neglect and wrongful procedure.

That consultant was allowed to carry on with his private and NHS work throughout a 2/3 year period before a trial was actually brought. Because in that period the consultant had done 769 successful operations, he was allowed to carry on his career without blemish.

I am not saying that the NHS is an haven of wrong-doings, but I think that any complaints or investigations should be open to public scrutiny, instead of being administered behind closed doors.

  Edbanger 13:44 02 Jan 2011

I now have only the greatest respect for the NHS.

My wife who was due to go in for an operation on Friday,was called on Thursday afternoon asking her to go in that day, to make sure there would be a bed, as they were having to deal with a lot of patients who had flu and were taking up bed space.

  spuds 15:38 02 Jan 2011

" to make sure there would be a bed".

What would your thoughts have been, if there wasn't a bed available, and you didn't know that until you arrived at the hospital?.

I have arrived at an hospital, later being transfered to another hospital, only to find that there was no bed available (the first hospital checked and confirmed there would be a bed available on arrival). Then having to wait in a 'waiting room' for over seven hours, until I could be admitted onto the ward with a vacant bed.

  Forum Editor 00:39 03 Jan 2011

"considering the NHS system is said to be fundamentally flawed, claiming that we have a lot to be thankful for is something of an overstatement"

Oh really?

You might want to take a trip to a few countries who don't have a National Health Service - America would be a good place to start - and see what the people who live there say when you tell them that in the UK everyone has the right to free medical care. America's health system is a complete nightmare,despite what you see on TV hospital dramas. I would rather be ill in this country than in America.

The NHS isn't perfect, but to call it 'fundamentally flawed' is a ridiculous overstatement. Of course it's far from perfect, but it's a far better bet than having to pay insurance premiums all your life, just to stand a chance of getting treatment when you need it, rather than having to wait until things are so bad that you turn up at a hospital as a medical emergency.

  flycatcher1 10:20 03 Jan 2011

Of course the NHS is not perfect but on the other hand it is not too bad. The problem with it is the size of it - far,far too big. Now that Wales and Scotland seem to control their own NHS why cannot the NHS in England be under more local control. Big, in my experience, is rarely good.

Like many people in this country my experience of the NHS varies from superb to diabolical.
A close relative was given an overdose of chemotherapy which affected the heart.
The staff in another hospital saved the life.

In my opinion some of the staff in the first hospital should have been sacked and the ones in the second promoted.

  flycatcher1 10:21 03 Jan 2011

Should have added.
The French seem to have a good Health System.

  spuds 12:44 03 Jan 2011

Was it not a chap called Gerry Robinson, who a few years ago did a television investigation documentary about the NHS, and how (in his view?) it could be improved?.

One of his major gripes was the lack of usage of some of the major facilities that were available 24 hours, yet was seen to be used only in a 9 to 5 working roster.

Two years ago, our local PCT managed to pay for rather expensive and latest 'advanced' type of body scanner, that was installed in one of those new type medical centres. Seeing doctor's at the medical centre protesting is not a very good public relations exercise. The reason why they were protesting, was due to the fact that there was no funding for staff to operate the equipment, so the machine was moth-balled, including the room it occupied.

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