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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 20:42 04 Jan 2011

What you actually pay is your National Health contribution, so yes, technically we all pay for the NHS. The point however, is that there's no restriction on the medical care you receive if and when you need it - the NHS will give you unlimited medical care in return.

I'm not getting into a back and forth debate about the meaning of 'free' - that's not the point. I've already acknowledged that we all pay something. We all pay for everything in the end.

  Forum Editor 20:47 04 Jan 2011

I'm sorry, but what has all that got to do with the NHS providing a good service?

It's not true that "anything invented in this country is eventually funded elsewhere." by the way - that's a wild generalisation.

As for "British industry is moving abroad in volumes" please explain what that means - I haven't a clue.

  namtas 21:32 04 Jan 2011

"there's no restriction on the medical care you receive if and when you need it - the NHS will give you unlimited medical care in return"

I am sorry have to disagree, from my experience this is not true.

  Forum Editor 22:17 04 Jan 2011

Care to elaborate?

  namtas 23:00 04 Jan 2011

FE as you will appreciate this is not the place place to discuss personal medical details, However from my experience I can assure you that there there are restrictions (in my case financial) on medical care.

  flycatcher1 23:09 04 Jan 2011

I can. A friend of ours has had a cateract operation on the NHS. An operation is required on the other eye but the NHS will only fund ONE eye operation in her area.
Luckily, although an elderly widow, she can afford to have the operation done privately.
Good job that she is not poor.

How much do we all pay the Management of the NHS?

  Forum Editor 23:17 04 Jan 2011

I quite understand, and I know that some treatments/surgical procedures are limited by budget. That's a government-imposed restriction, not a medical one.

  Forum Editor 23:37 04 Jan 2011

It's the same story - budgetary constraints. If you look at the mission statement of any of the Primary Care Trusts you'll see much the same thing, they all say that their aim is to provide the best possible medical care to the people they serve.

They don't add the words 'as far as we can, given the budget within which we must operate', because it's a given - all public services have to deliver what they can with what they have, in terms of financial resources. Limitations on treatments and procedures are the result of limitations on budgets.

The person I know in the NHS is the CEO of more than one Primary Care Trust, and she adheres strongly to the original purpose of the NHS, which was to provide a free, comprehensive healthcare service, with delivery at the point of need, regardless of the ability to pay.

Back in 1948 when the NHS came into being Aneurin Bevan accurately predicted that right from the start the problem would always be the same one. He said "we shall never have all we need and expectations will always exceed capacity. The service must always be changing, growing and improving – it must always appear inadequate".

He was right of course, and sometimes it seems a miracle that the NHS has survived at all, let alone become what it is today in terms of its size and scope.

What do we pay the NHS management? I don't know, but I do know that many of its senior managers could get more in the private healthcare industry. Believe it or not, there are many of them who remain working in the NHS because they care a great deal about what they do.

  flycatcher1 11:21 05 Jan 2011

My point about the cateract operation. Surely a relatively easy cateract operation to give an old person better sight should not be limited by cost when one considers what the NHS does spend money on.
There seems to be a mantra in Public Service that all the highly paid Managers could get more money in Private Industry. Having seen what some Council Chiefs,BBC executives and some NHS Managers get I doubt it.
Organisations that provide Golden Bowlers for failures need a kick where it hurts most but it would appear impossible to sack some people.

In my area some District Managers are provided with Free Health Insurance. Whoever can justify that?

  spuds 13:49 05 Jan 2011

I think the point that is being made, is that there are failures within the NHS, that cover a range of things. Yet these failures are not being addressed by those responsible, and government as a big part to play in all this.

Its all well saying that NHS management "care a great deal about what they do". There are far more in NHS management who perhaps care more in what that can personally gain from the NHS and all its bureaucratic procedures.

Our local Hospital Trust over the period of 8/10 years have seen many 'they are the best' management teams appear. Yet at the same time, some of these top senior managers appear to resign at very short notice, and their resignations are accepted without delay.

In every case, it ends up with a very good termination package, which must cost the NHS a fortune. The other noticeable thing, is after the event 'the rumours' start flying about, as to the possible reasons for termination of employment. Yet we the paying public never seem to get the true facts, 'due to confidentiality'. The media seem to make big issues out of some of the stories.

With regards to your comments on Tue 04/01/11 @ 20.47, I would have thought that it was obvious, through my earlier comments. This country is going down the pan, and its our own making, and possibly other peoples blinkered views.

Regarding treatment, I have laid on an operating table, and the surgeon as 'gone that little further' because their own opinions of cost saving, and patient safety. A return journey would have cost far in excess of later time, occupancy,arrangements, inconvenience and finance, the lists are endless.

I would also add, that yesterday I had to attend a number of medical tests, resulting in return journeys throughout the day. Part of the procedures resulted in me having to purchase items, like glucose drinks for these tests, because the authorities didn't provide them. I had no objection to that, but when a procedure cannot occur, because a patients doesn't bring certain essential items,for whatever reason, then something must be wrong, as a cost saving exercise. Had I not purchased a £1.00 bottle of glucose drink, would that have added £25.00 or perhaps £100.00 on a missed appointment bill?.

Long speech over!.

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