27 April 2009
This week I am going to be discussing the NHS.
Just remember you pay for this service and all the medical staff salaries through your taxes. Let me make one thing clear, I am not criticising the medical staff in any way from the admin to the doctors, most of whom are overworked and underpaid.
It's just the "men in suits" and the Government who devised this awful system, in order to meet impossible targets, with no regard for the patient’s wellbeing, and whom you only ever hear from when something goes seriously wrong and requires an investigation.
They will then say those four insincere words that they hope will absolve their trust from culpability "lessons will be learnt".
I speak from experience as I am in pain as I write this column and have been since last October - seven months now. If I had the money or insurance I could go private and this whole problem could be cleared up in a few days.
Now I have been a great supporter of the NHS - after all they got me walking again - but there was one factor overriding everything. I was still on my American medical insurance, and so the NHS hospitals treated me privately.
Which begs the question, are you treated better if you pay for it?
In London you can wait at least four hours to be seen by A&E. Outside London it’s 40 minutes and a lot quicker if you are private. Go figure!
The NHS is really failing the disabled, more specifically the learning disabled. A recent report (two weeks ago) by the health service ombudsman, found that the NHS was failing the needs of disabled people and "was an indictment of our society" after reviewing the deaths of six people who died. One man from Richmond died after he suffered a stroke and was not fed for 26 days!
He was a learning disabled patient just like the people discovered by the Southwark News recently, locked in a minibus while their carers slept in a dead end street in Rotherhithe. Some of them cannot communicate properly. The nursing staff at that particular hospital should have been made aware that the patient was learning disabled and would require feeding. His food would sit there untouched, then a nursing assistant a few hours later would scoop it up with the words "oh you weren't hungry then?"
More to follow in my next column. Until the next time may your God go with you.
The opinions expressed in this column are personal to the author and may not reflect the opinions of Southwark News.
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