Mulling it Over – 17/01/16

It’s hard to be positive about the NHS after having experienced almost a year’s worth of exposure to it.  Long story short, my father has had an aorta aneurism, several clots in his groin and right leg, several cardiac arrests, and now has had his right leg amputated.  During which, he has received a wide range of care.  Let me list out some of the bad experiences over the course of 2015:

  • During an operation to fit a stent in his aorta, one of his kidneys was severely damaged,
  • My father went to the doctor the day before his cardiac arrest because his heart rate was very high and he couldn’t breathe.  The GP told him to come back the next day,
  • The next day my father had a cardiac arrest as he was going in to see the GP who had seen him the day before,
  • After a triple bypass, my father was allowed to leave the hospital and spent a few hours wandering around Bristol city centre shouting at people and trying to get a taxi, in his bare feet, in a thin gown,
  • On several occasions his medication has not turned up at the local GP/pharmacist,
  • After his amputation he was discharged from hospital with a severely leaking groin wound and a bed sore – and then had a seizure “for no reason”,
  • Despite needing a district nurse to change dressings on his stump, no nurse was even booked, let-alone turned up when expected.  My mother ended-up changing wounds which have now gone bad,
  • An ambulance was booked to take my father into hospital to treat the above wounds at 5pm, which turned up at 11pm, and then my father was admitted at 3am.  10 hours of stress on an ill person,
  • The bed sore (or pressure sore as its now called to stop it sounding like a bed sore) is now a stage 3.  As far as I understand it, 1 is a surface wound, 2 is when the sore penetrates the muscle, and 3 is where bone is exposed.  Last time I heard, it was 22mm wide, 20mm long, and 22mm deep.

The NHS is seen as a free service, but are we expected to get a second-rate service because it’s free?  If the NHS gave a statement along the line of, “the level of service is best endeavours”, then they would be able to set out their stall and we would seriously consider private health cover.  However, the NHS isn’t free – we pay tax for the running of the health service – so where is it going wrong?  It feels like the NHS is a strained service, so do they need more money?  Better management?  De-fragmentation into more manageable parts?  And although I have been very critical of the US for not having a national health service, I can see the need to have private cover if a national service is as varied as the NHS has been for me.

It hasn’t been all bad; when my father had his first cardiac arrest, I was walking him into the GP.  OK, they had seen him the day before and had not recognised the signs of an impending arrest, but they did save his life that day, several times.

Someone needs to save the NHS.

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