Thursday, 10 October 2013

NHS reshaping, privitisation and hypochondria

I was very interested to read in today's Metro, that suggestions have been made to cut cost in the NHS by copying ideas from poorer nations like India or Ghana such as people sending picture texts of injuries to Doctors/Nurses for a response, Mexican telephone calls to a nurse with symptoms and cutting about 30 non necessary surgical procedures that are of no medical (or cosmetic) benefit.

The point is the NHS is spending, on average £2,264 PA per person in the UK and the NHS is looking at a £30bn shortfall!

Take the NHS back to brass tacks. It was to provide medical assistance for free to all funded by National Insurance payments.

I agree that non-essential surgery and cosmetic surgeries should be carried out on the NHS. Why should someone get their breasts augmented or their nose reshaped for free unless it was because of an accident?
A child gets mauled by a dog and their face is a mess - yep, give them the surgery. You're 24 and you don't like your nose - sorry I think you should pay for it.

I've had some issues with Medway's NHS and the way it is run and dealt with my family members. It is not a slight against the hard working nursing or casualty staff, they have always been excellent and deserve more than they get in pay and praise. However there are issues more towards the top.

One of my big problems is GP appointments. You always have to wait almost a week and when you get to them they are always running late or brimming with people with sniffles. The same is true when you go to casualty. My brother-in-law was struck on the head with a brick and had to wait three hours in Casualty, in the mean time you have people waiting there because - and I swear to god this is true - a woman had paint in her hair.

My wife, who was unwell called the NHS direct service and was advised to get to Casualty immediately and within the hour only to be gently referred to the MEDOC for a Middle Ear infection brought on by Gastritis. When I have been in casualty I've often thought what a massive waste of time this has all been and wonder how ill or injured some of the people sat calmly reading the paper really are.

People of my Grandfather's generation used to self medicate and diagnose. I know I do still and won't waste a doctor's time unless I think it is serious enough to warrant it. I've been to the Doctors, for my self, once (and the resulting referral to the hospital) since I was 18! People seem all to ready to call up the Doctors or wander around to casualty and waste everyone's time because they ate a dodgy Kebab last night or they've got a bruised shin and they think it is broken...

I would indeed welcome a service that could cut down waiting time at the first line of medical attention, a screen if you will for non-essential cases. After all a battlefield surgeon doesn't have time to help a soldier with a stubbed toe when they are under fire and neither should an A&E doctor.

What erked me even more about this was they wheeled out Andy Burnham, Labour's shadow Health secretary, who said;
This will send a shiver down many a spine. It confirms the suspicion many people have that David Cameron is softening up the NHS for privatisation.


It really does seem that every time serious, constructive change and slimming down to make the service more effective  Labour come out with the cry of Privitisation. It is an absolute crock.

First the NHS should always be free at point of use. However it needs to be functional for everyone and for necessary medical needs.

I want to be able to go into casualty with a wound and be seen quickly not sit wait a few hours killing time because someone has flu or bruised their shin or got paint in their hair. I agree with Monitor's chairman David Bennett.

While there are things the sector can do - like be more efficient in its procurement or introducing new ways of working - what is needed is a step change.

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