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Jim Ford
17th July 2018, 09:44 PM
My partner complained early last week of having a slight difficulty swallowing. Fearing the worst (but not telling her) I said to make an appointment with her doctor. She did so, and attended the surgery last Thursday. The doctor said that she should go for an endoscopy, and contacted Watford Hospital to make an appointment for her. The following day (Friday) the hospital 'phoned and said that an appointment had been made for Saturday (the day after they 'phoned).

I took my partner to the hospital and she went in for the procedure. After a while, a nurse came out and told me that they couldn't carry out the procedure, because initial tests indicated that she had a low and erratic pulse rate. They put her in a bed and a doctor came who stated that she probably needed a pacemaker, but that the consultant would examine her the following day (Sunday). The consultant confirmed that she needed a pacemaker and she was booked in for Monday (yesterday). The procedure was carried out and she spent the rest of yesterday recovering. She was discharged today and is now at home.

Given the numerous complaints we hear about delays in getting treatment with the NHS, I think this performance is astounding! Also, although the hospital was placed in 'special measures' a year or so ago, the treatment and environment was also outstanding - clean, bright modern ward, with modern equipment, staff friendly and helpful. Also the food was excellent. As far as my partner and I were concerned, the performance of the hospital was outstanding in every respect.

One leaving the hospital today, I commented at the nurses' station that I was "looking forward to being admitted myself - but perhaps not just yet!"

Jim

Naughty Nigel
17th July 2018, 10:05 PM
I'm not sure if I have mentioned this here before but my GP admitted me to hospital with non-specific stomach pains back in early March this year. This was done 'as a precaution' because she wasn't happy with my symptoms or blood tests results.

On admission I was quickly sent for a CT scan and had further blood tests carried out. They diagnosed a burst appendix with peritonitis and arranged urgent surgery. I was back home within three days!

Like Jim I have to say that the service and my treatment was first class from beginning to end.

On the other hand I know of several people who have had planned elective surgery carried out privately. The bedside service may have been excellent but the outcomes have not been good, and one friend sadly passed away on the table as it seems the private hospitals do not carry out the extensive tests to ensure fitness to be operated on. It is also worrying that our friend had to be taken to a nearby NHS hospital because the private facility did not have a crash team. Sadly it was too late.

stevewestern
18th July 2018, 07:37 AM
My wife is an NHS nurse, and we met when I was a patient, so we have seen it from both sides. I had a motorbike accident, and have had 13 ops as a result (am going for more steroid jabs into my foot later today)

The only time I had any problems at all was when I had to have an op privately..



She comes home so drained at times, rarely gets to stop for lunch or a break of any sort whilst working 12.5hr shifts and knows how grief looks - she now works in a well-known childrens hospital and death is not unusual in her speciality. I often wonder why she does it, especially given her income.

As holiday time looms, I know that she will get sick for the first few days of annual leave as she lets go - this has happened every years since we met in 1986, and I know many of her nurse friends are the same



It's good to read your tales - I just wish there was a little more respect for what people in the NHS put into their work...

TimP
18th July 2018, 09:13 AM
Apologies in advance for a rant here! :

Completely concur stevewestern, I’m in a similar ‘situation’ to you, met my wife when I was a patient and sadly the NHS has broken her after many years of high stress ward work (elderly care sister). She made the sensible decision to quit and has found a much better job, still within the NHS but compared to an acute front line post it’s stress free. She’s dropped a grade or two, no longer has to manage people (and seemingly stand in for them when sick - that happened a lot given the environment) but no longer wants to get out. The sooner they, the NHS, realise that continually expecting your staff to do more for less, with zero contingency and ever increasing workloads is a recipe for disaster, things ain’t gonna change. Staff sickness is a problem, no **** Sherlock! Stop to look at reasons instead of adding pressure to those left to pick up pieces. My Mum (88yr old) recently had a fall at home in the night and broke her leg. It took a paramedic nearly 3 hours to get there and an ambulance closer to 5 hours, yet normally there is a local base for both these, literally within a 2 minute drive. Front line staff are amazing, emergencies are generally handled exceptionally but mostly beyond that the system is on its knees. I blame all the recent governments for this, too many silly restructures, wasting millions, and a refusal to merge social and medical care for the elderly. It’s all going to get worse too as they gradually reduce what they actually do. Too much money wasted on things like tattoo removal (OK,not a good example!) and sorting out the lifestyle choices of the feckless.

Rant over, sorry!

Keith-369
18th July 2018, 11:01 AM
I won't have a word said against our NHS hospitals and their doctors/nurses.

I do however find it totally amazing that Jim and his wife managed to get an appointment AND see their doctor within the week. I had reason to seek a doctors appointment and was told "Nothing this week, keep ringing every morning before 08.00am until one becomes available. I then tried the doctors web site where one can book appointments and guess what ..... nothing for the whole month ahead!!!

I eventually managed to get an appointment after a week of trying for ... yes .... one month ahead. Yes, if it was urgent, I could have fought my way through the system and got an earlier appointment but for goodness sake, what on earth is our GP system coming to.

stevewestern
18th July 2018, 12:10 PM
Apologies in advance for a rant here! :

Completely concur stevewestern, I’m in a similar ‘situation’ to you, met my wife when I was a patient and sadly the NHS has broken her after many years of high stress ward work (elderly care sister). She made the sensible decision to quit and has found a much better job, still within the NHS but compared to an acute front line post it’s stress free. She’s dropped a grade or two, no longer has to manage people (and seemingly stand in for them when sick - that happened a lot given the environment) but no longer wants to get out. The sooner they, the NHS, realise that continually expecting your staff to do more for less, with zero contingency and ever increasing workloads is a recipe for disaster, things ain’t gonna change. Staff sickness is a problem, no **** Sherlock! Stop to look at reasons instead of adding pressure to those left to pick up pieces. My Mum (88yr old) recently had a fall at home in the night and broke her leg. It took a paramedic nearly 3 hours to get there and an ambulance closer to 5 hours, yet normally there is a local base for both these, literally within a 2 minute drive. Front line staff are amazing, emergencies are generally handled exceptionally but mostly beyond that the system is on its knees. I blame all the recent governments for this, too many silly restructures, wasting millions, and a refusal to merge social and medical care for the elderly. It’s all going to get worse too as they gradually reduce what they actually do. Too much money wasted on things like tattoo removal (OK,not a good example!) and sorting out the lifestyle choices of the feckless.

Rant over, sorry!
And I agree totally with you Tim.
My wife has come close to breaking point several times and is starting to look elsewhere within the NHS.
You said exactly what I wanted to.
Right, I'm about to be admitted, so let's see how today goes..!

Naughty Nigel
18th July 2018, 01:25 PM
I had a motorbike accident, and have had 13 ops as a result...

There, but for the grace of God...

As a one time motorcycle road racer I have always been immensely grateful for the reassurance that the NHS is there when needed, and that they wouldn't ask for a blank cheque before saving my life. Thankfully, apart from a couple of nights in the Louth and Lincolnshire General after a heavy fall at Cadwell Park I didn't need to use it.

However, I do think that the 'free at the point of delivery' is perhaps the NHS's greatest weakness, as well as its greatest strength. Many of the problems with the NHS involve A&E and local GP surgeries, which seem to be overwhelmed with self-inflicted injuries and conditions. Would this be the case if a charge was made for an ambulance ride home after a night out I wonder?

The challenge, as always, is to find ways of instilling greater personal responsibility and self control whilst still providing a first rate health service.

stevewestern
18th July 2018, 03:56 PM
My bike accident was caused by a drunk driver, who happened to work for the police force at the time, so maybe not quite self inflicted, but yes, the tattoo removal, drunken injuries type are an unfair strain on the NHS.
Better education might be a good way to start to improve personal responsibility, but that might be another subject..!

Naughty Nigel
19th July 2018, 08:10 AM
Better education might be a good way to start to improve personal responsibility, but that might be another subject..!

Should we really need to educate in common sense though?

Some kind of financial cost usually focuses minds much more effectively than posters or TV ads.

TimP
19th July 2018, 08:21 AM
Trouble is, there are so many contributing factors to all of this: lack of funded social care, lack of funding for dementia, GPs burning out and / or choosing to go part time, etc, etc
It’s already costing people at the point of use - horrendously expensive ‘NHS’ dentists, high prescription charges, no local hospitals hence people have to travel at cost.
Then you’re into the realms of means testing where the better off / live within their means people end up subsidising the feckless (I can feel a rant starting again!!) who have no reason to economise so simply carry on. Education will pick up a tiny proportion but introducing more charges won’t affect those who already live off the state.
Charge the non-EU people who come here at 9 months pregnant who then suddenly give birth at our expense for example. (I know, drop in the ocean but someone could make a good list I’m sure)

Naughty Nigel
19th July 2018, 09:03 AM
I agree it is a difficult decision where 'customers' have chosen to smoke and/or drink themselves to death, and those who see a McDonalds and chips in each hand as a 'balanced diet'; but there are large numbers of people who go out to work, are presumably reasonably intelligent and don't have mental health issues; but they nevertheless go out on a Friday and Saturday night with the clear intention of becoming totally paralytic. They then call 999 for a ride home, or end up in A&E with alcoholic poisoning and being stomach pumped.

It is the latter group in particular who I believe should be charged a realistic fee (say £500) to cover the reasonable costs incurred by the NHS.

Unfortunately many people seem to take the view that they pay their taxes and are therefore entitled to use the NHS as a free hangover service, or in the worst cases to mend the damage caused by years of eating junk food, chain smoking and drinking like a fish. :(

TimP
19th July 2018, 11:00 AM
I think there is some merit in ‘drunk tanks’ strategically located, staffed by perhaps one doctor and a nurse, plus a policeman or two. People who get put in them are then fined a substantial amount (if they can afford to get pissed each week then they can afford a fine) to cover all costs (doc, nurse and cops etc)

Problem is, where do you stop without it becoming ridiculous.
We’re back to the education, how FFS do low income families get the idea that a McD (other cheap and nasty fast food is available) is a cheap meal? A family of three, say, could probably eat reasonably healthily for two or more whole days on what a single trip to McD must cost. Teach these people practical skills, life skills in school instead of some of the woolly crap they seem to be taught nowadays.
Right, just off to buy a Sainsbury’s pizza as a treat for tonight (dining alone tonight)!!

stevewestern
19th July 2018, 11:05 AM
Should we really need to educate in common sense though?


No, but clearly we do.
I used to volunteer in a local primary school, and it wasn't unusual for the several of the youngest children to need to be taught how to hold a pencil or a knife and fork, and this wasn't in a particularly run down area..

Naughty Nigel
19th July 2018, 11:26 AM
I think there is some merit in ‘drunk tanks’ strategically located, staffed by perhaps one doctor and a nurse, plus a policeman or two. People who get put in them are then fined a substantial amount (if they can afford to get pissed each week then they can afford a fine) to cover all costs (doc, nurse and cops etc)

Problem is, where do you stop without it becoming ridiculous.
We’re back to the education, how FFS do low income families get the idea that a McD (other cheap and nasty fast food is available) is a cheap meal? A family of three, say, could probably eat reasonably healthily for two or more whole days on what a single trip to McD must cost. Teach these people practical skills, life skills in school instead of some of the woolly crap they seem to be taught nowadays.
Right, just off to buy a Sainsbury’s pizza as a treat for tonight (dining alone tonight)!!

I like the rant Tim. :D

The sad truth is that many of McD customers are just too lazy, and/or simply cannot be bothered to prepare a meal themselves; healthy or otherwise. I don't think cost even comes into it. I actually enjoy finding short dated food at bargain prices in our local Co-op, which cost a fraction of one McD, let alone four!

We have no shortage of post-industrial s***holes up here in the Northeast. Interestingly, all are characterised by a surfeit of McDonald's, Burger Kings, mobile phone shops, booking shops, tobacco shops, betting shops, bars and suchlike, so clearly there is no shortage of money to throw away.

You don't need to be a Detective to notice that a large percentage of the people waddling between these emporiums are morbidly obese, and you certainly don't need to be a Neurosurgeon to work out why!

Naughty Nigel
19th July 2018, 11:27 AM
No, but clearly we do.
I used to volunteer in a local primary school, and it wasn't unusual for the several of the youngest children to need to be taught how to hold a pencil or a knife and fork, and this wasn't in a particularly run down area..

I bet they know how to hold a mobile phone and TV remote though. :rolleyes:

Jim Ford
4th August 2018, 11:51 AM
Two weeks later, my partner had her endoscopy. All went well and as with her previous experience at Watford General Hospital, the treatment was superb. The nursing staff in particular were outstanding, in spite of being clearly overworked. Both my partner and I have daughters and we both agree that we wouldn't want them to have to work as hard as the nurses.

Regarding the endoscopy: I told my partner that the patient previous to her had had a colonoscopy, but not to worry as I saw them rinse off the probe under a tap afterwards!

Jim

KeithL
4th August 2018, 07:13 PM
Two weeks later, my partner had her endoscopy. All went well and as with her previous experience at Watford General Hospital, the treatment was superb. The nursing staff in particular were outstanding, in spite of being clearly overworked. Both my partner and I have daughters and we both agree that we wouldn't want them to have to work as hard as the nurses.

Regarding the endoscopy: I told my partner that the patient previous to her had had a colonoscopy, but not to worry as I saw them rinse off the probe under a tap afterwards!

Jim

Have you been reading up on the "pear of anguish" then, Jim? :D Seems they didn't wash that...

How about medieval false teeth - real teeth set in wooden gums? Would you fancy those? Or toothbrushes made from horsehair and bone, as in Victorian times?

The NHS has its faults, but anyone who has read A J Cronin's The Citadel will be even more glad of it, when they realise what it was like prior to the NHS.

KeithL
4th August 2018, 07:18 PM
I like the rant Tim. :D

The sad truth is that many of McD customers are just too lazy, and/or simply cannot be bothered to prepare a meal themselves; healthy or otherwise. I don't think cost even comes into it. I actually enjoy finding short dated food at bargain prices in our local Co-op, which cost a fraction of one McD, let alone four!

We have no shortage of post-industrial s***holes up here in the Northeast. Interestingly, all are characterised by a surfeit of McDonald's, Burger Kings, mobile phone shops, booking shops, tobacco shops, betting shops, bars and suchlike, so clearly there is no shortage of money to throw away.

You don't need to be a Detective to notice that a large percentage of the people waddling between these emporiums are morbidly obese, and you certainly don't need to be a Neurosurgeon to work out why!

If you were marooned in one of those places, no job month in month out, no hope, no proper income, I wonder how you would get on? Can't remember who said it, but to truly understand someone else, you have to live in their shoes for a while.

Gate Keeper
6th August 2018, 11:01 AM
Have you been reading up on the "pear of anguish" then, Jim? :D Seems they didn't wash that...

How about medieval false teeth - real teeth set in wooden gums? Would you fancy those? Or toothbrushes made from horsehair and bone, as in Victorian times?

The NHS has its faults, but anyone who has read A J Cronin's The Citadel will be even more glad of it, when they realise what it was like prior to the NHS.

In 1973, I started working in the NHS as a nursing assistant in a mental hospital in the days of the long white coat and 60 bedded Nightingale wards. Your reference about the teeth reminded me how it was then, on the morning shift searching through a basket of false teeth and trying different sets to fit in each mouth hoping that one would fit comfortably and properly. These days those large institutions have been closed and patients with false teeth, get their own denture pot and no longer have to share a basket. A horrible story, but it was a reality and things have improved.

I have not read the Citadel?

KeithL
6th August 2018, 04:26 PM
In 1973, I started working in the NHS as a nursing assistant in a mental hospital in the days of the long white coat and 60 bedded Nightingale wards. Your reference about the teeth reminded me how it was then, on the morning shift searching through a basket of false teeth and trying different sets to fit in each mouth hoping that one would fit comfortably and properly. These days those large institutions have been closed and patients with false teeth, get their own denture pot and no longer have to share a basket. A horrible story, but it was a reality and things have improved.

I have not read the Citadel?

You should do. It was one of the most effective persuaders for the start of the NHS.