Thoughts from an active pensioner who is now somewhat past his Biblical "Use-by date"

"Why just be difficult, when with a little more effort you can be bloody impossible?"

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

The NHS and A&E

Today, and no doubt for weeks to come, the NHS is in the news.
Hitting the headlines is the fact that many A&E departments at hospitals around the country are unable to cope with the number of people requiring attention and arguments are raging as to why this is happening. One cause for this is claimed to be that too many people are visiting A&E when they should be visiting their GP; but what should they do when they find they can't get a GP's appointment for a week or so? No mention is made of the closure of A&E departments at numerous hospitals; in my area the nearest A&E has been closed and of the next two nearest hospitals, one is in a different NHS Trust whilst the other was already overloaded. Neither has had its facilities increased to cope with the closure, and it shouldn't have needed a genius to deduce that that the closure of an already busy A&E department would have further overloaded departments elsewhere.

But the main problem, in my view, is the mass immigration. You cannot run any service that is "free at the point of use" and can then be used by anyone who turns up for treatment without asking any questions. Unlimited immigration and free treatment for all-comers has broken the NHS, nothing else, and the high birth rate amongst immigrants makes the situation even worse. Locally, the maternity wards are probably under similar pressure to A&E, with mothers often being sent home within hours of giving birth.

Until you are prepared to charge all newcomers to this country there is no solution, short of more and more funding from ever increasing taxation; the NHS has become a World Health Service. I'm told by a friend at a hospital near Heathrow that it's not only immigrants from poorer countries, her hospital gets quite a few US citizens who "are taken ill" here whilst on "holiday" as they don't have adequate health insurance back home for some major operation.

It is time that everyone coming into the country was made to have adequate medical insurance. You can't go to work or live in Australia without health insurance; two retired friends of mine recently went to Australia to live near their children, they had to take out a bond to cover health treatment which cost them about £100,000. They also, incidentally, had to prove that they had the capital to rent or buy a home along with sufficient pension income which would ensure that they wouldn't become a burden on the state. We are only going to solve our NHS problems is we ensure that every user pays for the service, either indirectly by having paid taxes in the past or directly in cash, preferably from an approved insurance policy.

UKIP advocates such measures, and that is why I will be supporting them at the General Election.


  1. I should like to advise you of my recent experiences of the NHS in the Medway Towns.

    Three months ago, my father who is 92 and lives in a good care home in Gillingham, Kent, was taken ill. He said he had diarrhoea and stomach pains.

    As it happens, at the same time one of my elderly dogs had a similar problem and we took her to our vet.

    The care home monitored my father as the staff said that this happens often with the elderly and they often recover after a few days, but they didn't think there was much wrong with him; a week later my father said he was feeling worse.

    In the meantime, the vet had now thoroughly examined my dog and said he was not sure of the precise problem, further tests were needed, which included a stool sample. He gave her an analgesic to help her with the discomfort.

    After three weeks my father was now losing weight and having to empty his bowels after almost every meal, but the care home said they still had no evidence of diarrhoea.

    The results of my dogs stool test came through from the path lab the following day, by email.
    She had a bacterial infection of the small intestine, The vet gave her antibiotics and within 5 days she had made a full recovery.

    After a month, the care home decided to send my father to the doctor, who concluded that he could not find anything wrong with him, he thought he may be making it up, but as a precaution reviewed and modified my fathers medication for diabetes and gave him anti depressants. He also arranged for a stool test to undertake which came back 10 days later as 'negative'. (turns out it was the wrong test)

    My dog is now 'full of beans' and has now resumed hunting and spends her days chasing rabbits.

    After another month, my father is finding it difficult to walk, has lost 12 kg and says that he has constant diarrhoea and feels very ill and spends most of his time in bed. I phone the doctor who reluctantly talks to me. He says there is not much more he can do, but maybe my father should have a colonoscopy. He said he would arrange this, but the waiting list is more than two weeks. He said he saw no point in visiting my father as he was being well cared for.

    My dog catches and eats her latest rabbit.

    My fathers condition further deteriorates, he losses more weight and can hardly move or speak. True, my father is getting good nursing care, but no treatment. It is now three months since he became ill and we still do not know what is wrong with him! If we don't know what is wrong with him how can he be treated?

    I decide to seek private help and make an appointment at the local Spire Hospital for my father to see a specialist. The next day I take my father to the hospital, pay £150.00 and after 20 minutes the specialist concludes my father most probably has complications as a result of the winter vomiting virus which he had in August. He gives my father a prescription to coat the lining of the small intestine and writes to my fathers GP suggesting a further stool sample be taken and rules out a colonoscopy due to my fathers fragility.

    My dog catches her second rabbit.

    The stool sample is sent to a London Hospital, my fathers condition further deteriorates and he spends most of his time in bed asleep, exhausted and now totally incontinent. He is moved to the nursing floor for an extra charge. After a further phone call I persuade the GP to visit my father. He concludes there is nothing more he can do, he is well cared for and we have to wait the results of the stool test (which bye the bye said he had never heard of)

    Today my dog catches a squirrel.

  2. My father is now at deaths door and when we visit him he is always asleep. His weight continues to drop and he now weighs 61kg. After three weeks there are no signs of the stool test results and the GP refuses to chase them, saying we have to be patient, "the results will come when they are ready." One of the care staff at the home phoned the Path lab to chase the results but they said they would only speak to the GP, who is now on holiday for two weeks.

    The Vets receptionist phoned to ask how my dog was as part of their follow up.

    We are expecting my father to pass away over Christmas. In a last ditch effort to save him, I phone the GP's locum, who phoned the Path Lab and chased the results. The results arrived on Christmas Eve by fax saying my father had raised calprotectin levels and suggestions for treatment were made. My father received his first medication PM on Christmas Eve and I am please to say it seems to be working. I visited him yesterday and he was dressed, sitting in a chair, alert, eating and not suffering from diarrhoea. I hope he is the mend.

    Dare I say the moral of this story is that if your are old and ill in this country, you get better treatment if you are a dog.
    My father has unnecessarily suffered pain, distress and humiliation for months due to the failure of our National Health Service.


    Note to the new GP

    I visited my father yesterday, and he seems to have taken a down turn. A small piece of cake caused severe diarrhoea within 5 minutes of eating. It is possible that this may be a reaction to diary cream which was given to him yesterday, even though he is on a no dairy diet.

    As we have no notes, due to the change of GP and for the unbelievable fact that the new GP cannot have his notes for up 6 weeks (why?)* and the almost certain long wait for a NHS specialist to examine my father, could you please advise me of a reliable private consultant so that I may make an appointment to have my father examined. I am deeply concerned that 4 months after the first symptoms appeared we still do not have a precise diagnosis.

    I am not prepared to stand by and let the system kill my father.

    I have now found out that if you change GP's, the new GP has to request your notes, by letter to the NHS HQ. They then write to the old GP and ask for the notes. Then once a week a courier collects the notes from the old GP. They then go to a central NHS 'Post Office' where they are sorted and nothing else and then sent on to the new GP. This can take 6 weeks!
    I phoned the 'NHS post office' today and asked why they are running using such an antiquated method and was told "that is the system'!
    I said, why can't the old GP send them to the new GP?
    Why can't the notes be on line?
    ~ Both questions were met with hysterical derision:- no wonder the NHS is in such a mess!!!!!!

  3. Smith,
    I am appalled by what has happened with your father and you both have my deepest sympathy.
    I first became aware of the shortcomings of the NHS when my daughter had problems in pregnancy and numerous miscarriages. The local hospital seemed to be geared towards abortion, anyone who had problems in having a child was almost treated as a freak. When she had to have a dead foetus removed, she was put in a recovery ward with 11 other women who had had abortions, she was in tears, all the others were celebrating. Even the nurse said something like, I don't know why any woman should want a child, they more trouble than they're worth!