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Thread: NHS in meltdown

  1. #1
    Master
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    NHS in meltdown

    The planned implosion of the NHS is going well. It was bad enough a few years back - all say it is worse this year than ever.
    Having 4 day and 3 day weekends one after the other does not help, nor does the bug mixing festival we call Xmas/New Year. It does happen every year, but the reduction in available beds and the fact that staffing has not kept up with demand/activity does not help. And of course funding for Social Care has been cut back. Emergency care response is measured in minutes - Social Care response is measured in days if not weeks. So patients who are well enough to be discharged are trapped in hospital, and there is no room for the acutely ill, who get stuck in ambulances/corridors/staff coffee rooms.
    Listening to Hunt you would think there is only a minor problem, listening to May you would think there is no problem at all.
    I feel so sorry for the patients and the staff.
    Stay away if you can.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Travs's Avatar
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    I hesitate to have a go at the NHS as my sister in law is a nurse and works incredibly hard, but something is very wrong.

    My experience over the past couple of months seems fairly typical. I've had an ear infection/wax problem since the start of November which is still not resolved. After a couple of trips to the doctor I was passed onto the nurse for syringing. The first appointment was cancelled but they didn't inform me. After three attempts at syringing it was still no better and I was in incredible pain and virtually deaf, but couldn't get into the doctors even as an emergency, so ended up in hospital. I was supposedly referred to the Ear Nose and Throat unit about 3 weeks ago but haven't even had a referral letter yet. Completely fed up and in some pain, I decided to go private. It turns out I had been given poor advice by the doctors/hospital, and now I've seen some decent equipment at the private clinic, I can see that the equipment the nurse was using was completely inadequate.

    Luckily I'm in a position to be able to afford the private treatment (2 x 65, plus train journeys, and a third appointment next week), but if I wasn't able to afford it, I'd still be sitting here in a lot of pain, waiting for something to be done. I understand specific examples like this have varying circumstances, but the whole saga has been a shambles.

  3. #3
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    Sorry to hear about your experience Travs. It is my understanding that syringing should no longer be done, and that wax should be removed under direct vision with specialised suction equipment. 130 is pretty steep - ideally all GPs would know what to do and have the equipment to do it - but they are of course running a business and I doubt they would get any reimbursement for their outlay. Doing the wrong things, and not rewarding staff who do the right things, is undoubtedly an ongoing NHS problem, but the current crisis is pure and deliberate underfunding - you only have to look at staff/bed numbers in the UK compared to our economic peers - we are well down.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Hobbsy's Avatar
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    Having had to attend Huddersfield A&E with my wife last Saturday night, I can only heap praise on the staff, who seem to be working under the most difficult of conditions - lack of staff, beds etc etc.

    I just wondered what has to happen before Hunt actually holds his hand up, says "you know what, it's down to me" and resigns! I'm not holding my breath!
    Ian Roberts Fell Race. Dare you take on the Marsden Moor Tussocks? There's cake in it for you

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    Master noel's Avatar
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    Does anyone have experience in other countries? I was surprised recently to hear a colleague say the NHS is much better with much shorter waiting times than his experiences in Finland.

    As you'll see here: https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/blog/20...nternationally, Finland spend a similar proportion of their GDP on healthcare.

    Personally, I'm prepared for the government to spend more of my taxes on the NHS, and to increase taxation to do this. What's the point of having an NHS if it's not properly funded? I know there are many arguments about whether the structure needs to change or should the whole thing be scrapped and reinvented. All this doesn't get away from the fact that healthcare costs and we typically get what we pay for.
    No longer "resting"

  6. #6
    Senior Member Travs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike T View Post
    Sorry to hear about your experience Travs. It is my understanding that syringing should no longer be done, and that wax should be removed under direct vision with specialised suction equipment. 130 is pretty steep - ideally all GPs would know what to do and have the equipment to do it - but they are of course running a business and I doubt they would get any reimbursement for their outlay. Doing the wrong things, and not rewarding staff who do the right things, is undoubtedly an ongoing NHS problem, but the current crisis is pure and deliberate underfunding - you only have to look at staff/bed numbers in the UK compared to our economic peers - we are well down.
    The private clinic used suction equipment for the main "removal", but did use syringing as an initial "loosener". The syringing equipment at the doctors was rubbish and they may as well have just blown some water into my ear via a straw.

    I've only had one experience abroad and that was a one-off in Spain when I needed treatment. I was taken in and basically treated as per I would probably be treated here, I.e I wasn't asked for ID etc, was just wheeled in and dealt with.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by noel View Post
    Does anyone have experience in other countries? I was surprised recently to hear a colleague say the NHS is much better with much shorter waiting times than his experiences in Finland.

    As you'll see here: https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/blog/20...nternationally, Finland spend a similar proportion of their GDP on healthcare.

    Personally, I'm prepared for the government to spend more of my taxes on the NHS, and to increase taxation to do this. What's the point of having an NHS if it's not properly funded? I know there are many arguments about whether the structure needs to change or should the whole thing be scrapped and reinvented. All this doesn't get away from the fact that healthcare costs and we typically get what we pay for.
    All other things being equal, which of course they never are, if you under fund a service for a long time, you cannot just "normalise" the funding and expect a normalised service - it will take a period of overfunding to bring the service up to scratch.
    I cannot comment usefully on other countries, apart from Oz decades ago, but in the UK one of the major problems the NHS has is bailing out Social Services. If somebody needs help at home, or a residential/nursing home, this takes time to sort out, and in the meantime, through no fault of their own, they occupy a hospital bed. This clearly takes up space and costs money, and also risks all sorts of hospital acquired problems.
    So the NHS funding is partly spent on social care, to an extent that I suspect vastly exceeds what is spent on social care by the health services in other countries. In other words the NHS funding, if you just look at the comparative figures, is a significant over estimate.

  8. #8
    Master Witton Park's Avatar
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    I have experience overseas. My son fell from a height in Menorca and had a lump on his head. Luckily a GP surgery was just across the road.
    He wouldn't touch us until he saw the insurance.
    At hospital, they X rayed etc and then advised he needed to stay in, so I stayed overnight.
    The morning after, I had to wait for a Doctor to sign the release.
    I advised I would just go if they didn't get on with it.
    the allocated interpretor came to see me and explained that if I discharged my son before the Dr did, my insurance would be invalidated.

    They realised him 24 hours and 4 minutes after we were signed in.

    I called the insurers to advise them that they refused to accept under the then E111 and they said don't worry it is par for the course.
    They also advised me that a 24 hour stay is more lucrative, hence the long wait until being released.
    Richard Taylor
    "William Tell could take an apple off your head. Taylor could take out a processed pea."
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  9. #9
    Master Witton Park's Avatar
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    I don't like Hunt, but the NHS has been going through this annual crisis for as long as I can remember. IT isn't his fault. The Secretary of State is basically impotent.
    Whoever's fault it is we have an NHS that eats money.

    There have been better and worse years, but ultimately the NHS has been mostly tweaked and is trying to do the same as it did 70 years ago.

    I believe it needs a Royal Commission. I would ask Robert Winston and Digby Jones to joint chair. I would have two elements to it.

    1. Assuming you were setting up an NHS from scratch, device a system for universal healthcare in the UK.

    2. Advise how you would transition from the current system to the new one.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-poli...-care-services
    This about sums up what I think.
    Richard Taylor
    "William Tell could take an apple off your head. Taylor could take out a processed pea."
    Sid Waddell

  10. #10
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    The scandal of waiting lists and insufficient beds has been the hallmark of the NHS for decades. It's nothing new. I found a clip on YouTube of Milton Friedman from the 70s where he talks to an audience about some of the perils of socialised medicine.

    Its worth watching the whole clip but if not watch from 3mins 55secs. He discusses the NHS in Britain and Sweden: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VPADFNKDhGM

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