In praise of the NHS

I give them enough stick, so fair dos.

On Monday Pater went to the surgery \’coz he was feeling rough. Out of breath, hands turning blue.

On Tuesday he was in the cardiac ward, today he is home with a pacemaker inserted.

Resting heartbeat is up from 34 to 60.

Well done to the NHS, the Royal United Hospital in Bath, we\’re all very grateful.

Now all we need to do is get the whole health care system up to that level of efficiency……

13 comments on “In praise of the NHS

  1. I am very glad your Dad is okay.

    I have encountered both extremely good care and extremely bad care in the NHS. There are of course many good and dedicated people working for it. I’d still abolish the NHS tomorrow, which would help good hospitals rather than the reverse.

  2. From my experience with the care my Father had a number of years ago from the NHS for his heart problems, the ‘OMG someone’s dying, do something’ is the bit the NHS does well. Systems kick, everyone works together to patch people up. Its the bit beyond that that doesn’t work. Once they’ve patched you up, there’s very little interest in solving the underlying problem. You go back onto a the treadmill of waiting lists to see consultants, waiting lists to get scans, then waiting lists to see the consultant again. As for an actual operation, forget it. My Father would be dead if he hadn’t have the resources to go private and get the bypass op he needed. The NHS was happy to let him struggle on, having more and more ‘episodes’, probably until one killed him.

  3. The biggest problem is that it’s such a lottery as to whether you get good care or not, and there’s no way of telling until you actually fall ill what you’re going to get. I had to visit two friends in different hospitals recently and I’m sad to say both were pretty filthy, and although one friend was very pleased with the care she was getting, the other one certainly wasn’t.

  4. Glad to hear about your father, Tim.

    From my experience with the care my Father had a number of years ago from the NHS for his heart problems, the ‘OMG someone’s dying, do something’ is the bit the NHS does well. Systems kick, everyone works together to patch people up.

    Indeed. I was rushed to my local RUH with heart irregularities, had a bed within five minutes and was seen in ten. It turned out, however, that my heart was fine and the only “irregularities” were caused by a nurse fixing the EKG electrodes on the wrong way round so I’m not sure I can use it as evidence of the NHS’s wonderousness…

  5. I was told I needed a new pacemaker in November. It became urgent in mid-Jan with pulse of 33. I got it in February.

  6. The dad of one of my bestest friends, who a) is a rich chap b) suffered from crippling chronic back pain, has just had terrifyingly severe surgery in Guy’s Hospital. He had the option of paying to have it quicker but elsewhere, or sticking about to have it in Guy’s on the NHS. His consultant reckoned the latter, because you really don’t want to fuck about with spine surgery.

    So, he had six more months of misery than would otherwise have been the case.

    Now, the surgery was a massive success, he’s now walking, talking, being generally jolly, making comments to all and sundry about the friendliness of the nurses and the surprisingly decent quality of the food. As a chap who’s been a centre-right-ish businessman since 16, he’s absolutely singing and shouting the praises of the NHS and feeling like he got every penny of tax money back with interest.

    He’s now contemplating giving a donation to the NHS because he feels guilty about things like “being given a free cab home from Southwark to Kent”.

    Anecdotes aren’t data, but given the number of anti-NHS-anecdata stories that get posted here, I thought it was probably time to even things up. It also completely matches in my experience the bit when the NHS stopped me dying (in general – the NHS rules at hospital care, but British GPs are the worst in the world…)

  7. I had a very similar experience when my heart stopped and I woke up a week later in hospital. They didn’t let me home until I got an ICD installed. All excellent stuff.

    Aftercare though? Patchy. Still getting passed from one consultant to another, who, each time wants to run the exact same set of tests, which knacker me out for a couple of days.

  8. @john b

    Glad you are OK fella (and Tim’s pater). I agree that NHS hospitals seem to do well.

    But I cannot agree more about GPs or rather, in my case, getting in to see them. I fiddled with a lump in my throat for a few months and then plucked up courage to phone the surgery.

    Despite mentioning the word “lump”, I was given the option of a doctor in SIX days time or a nurse that day. I thought the nurse misdiagnosed so I walked down the road to my private dentist who was more than happy to fondle my lump as it wasn’t boring old teeth!

    The dental surgery put me on to the private practice of an ENT specialist in a local town that afternoon. He diagnosed tentatively but assured me that he would get me in to the local NHS hospital system.

    He did and it was sorted quickly and efficiently.

    However, I am still very cross about the lack of access to a GP for six days.

    Neither the private dentist nor the ENT guy working at his private cosmetic surgery charged me a bean. I’m not trying to make a huge point here but pro bono does exist even in the UK.

  9. Glad to hear Worstall pere is feeling better, I hope his recovery continues.

    As to the NHS, I’ve always been under the impression that in cases of emegency, especially that of the life threatening variety, the service was pretty good if not ecellant. My belief was that the problem lay in the areas of non-urgent care and the excessive bureaucracy that HMG seems to think is necessary to run the organisation.

  10. Tim,

    My best wishes to you all, and I hope that your dad’s on the mend. Your family’s experiences mirror mine. My mother was lucky enough to have her second heart attack as a complication of heart surgery performed immediately beforehand, and so was in hospital, but the professor of cardiology at Glasgow was summoned at 04.00 to do the business. The NHS is also very good at dealing with premature babies born in a hurry, thank God.

    John & Paul,

    Some GP’s are better than others. They are like any other profession – you get good ones, bad ones, lazy ones, diligent ones, etc. The late Enoch Powell made them do compulsory ongoing training, which should keep them on their toes. The lazy ones tend not to be good at dealing with anything out of the ordinary, and are so best avoided. Any GP with a ‘view’ about a particular condition, or medication, has megalomania, and shouldn’t be in front of the public. In Scotland, we don’t seem to be as blighted by delays in obtaining GP appointments as patients in E & W. Although the system must be accountable, maybe we use it too much as a political football. We don’t help it by putting too much pressure on it. Having been waiting for an appointment for assessment for a more suitable mobility aid for 11months now (the GP muttered the words ‘Zimmer frame’ – I am 40 years old, the bastard), I would much rather wait and know that me waiting that long frees up resources to help deal with real emergencies. That’s a trade-off I can live with for the time being. Others might feel differently.

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