Is this what the NHS has become? Are we expected to bow down and pay homage to the mighty NHS and show our gratitude? I don't think we should.
I have seen the NHS at its best and worst. When my then wife was treated so successfully for breast cancer 20 yrs ago. When my 10 month old son was sent from the GP's with a tube of cream for 20% burns over his chest and on taking him to hospital they without question kept him in and dressed his wounds. I can give many more personal examples for and against the NHS.
We, the inhabitants of the UK have, since its inception paid, and paid handsomely for the service we receive from our doctors and nurses, and not unlike the Fire Brigade and Police Force, the NHS it appears is becoming top heavy and rather than using the copious amounts of money to treat people, it would rather use these funds to create empires within empires.
My story starts about 35 years ago when I twisted my ankle playing football as many kids do. As the years have gone by I have managed to turn the same ankle on over at least 40 occasions both inside and out, and also forwards. So now it has all come to a head and after my last visit to see my surgeon it was decided that enough was enough and it was time to operate.
I live 55 miles from the hospital where I am to have the operation, so each trip is 110 miles. For various reasons connected with my ankle I have now racked up over 800 miles. Okay, the first date for my operation came through. So that means a 110 mile round trip for a 10 minute pre-operative assessment (POA). Basically, blood pressure, MRSA swab, blood taken and a series of family related questions. Done and dusted, now for the operation. No! Because I am being operated on at a hospital nearer to where I live, they have to do their own POA! I explained that I had just done one and this seemed unnecessary but the nurse was insistent this was more thorough (which lead me to worry about the first slap dash POA) as theirs was a smaller hospital. Within 10 minutes of arriving, on what was to be a 60 mile round trip I was ushered in, and the first question which was, "who will be at home when you are discharged to look after you?" I obviously replied, as I am single, "no one". So at the first question my operation was now cancelled. Furious would be putting too finer point on it.
Fast forward a year. Okay, I've got myself a new appointment for my operation!! Oh and a POA three days before. You guessed it. IF I were to keep this appointment then for the POA's alone I would have travelled just over 280 miles. Now I don't know about you, but I feel that is unreasonable and so am now slightly miffed. I contacted the unit that deals specifically with this, and quite why they need a specialised unit just to make these appointments I'll never know. In the 3 minutes I attempted to talk to the lady explaining why I thought it was unreasonable she spent two of them talking over me, obviously totally dis-interested in what I had to say. Okay I hear you say most that comes from my mouth is not worth hearing. BUT, she didn't know that, and that is why I thought her to be SO rude. So I phoned my GP's surgery thinking well it's simple enough, surely they can do it? Na ah, that would be way too simple and the receptionist explained that it was all quite political and nothing to do with whether it was possible or not!
Okay so nearly a week goes by in which time I am waiting to hear back from the POA team as to how we are going to proceed as now I am flatly refusing to do a 110 mile round trip for a 10 minute appointment that has already been carried out, because they can't get their own internal politics to work for the benefit of the patient.
Okay, what to do? I decided to phone the surgeons lovely receptionist. Quite why I hadn't done this before is beyond me. I had dealings with her many months before which she sorted without drama and incredibly efficiently. Not an hour later and a message on my answer machine telling me that I will not need to attend the hospital 110 miles away. Oh and to top the lot, it was Ms Rude that left the message!
When is the NHS going to wake up and treat its patients as just that without the drama and red tape that just doesn't need to be there?