1 EAGLETON NOTES: The National Health Service (NHS)

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Friday, 27 October 2017

The National Health Service (NHS)

I wrote this a while ago.

On Friday I had my scans to see how my cancer was doing.

On Saturday I was called into the hospital because an eagle-eyed doctor had seen that my kidney stone had moved and was blocking the exit to my kidney.

On Sunday I had an ‘emergency’ procedure which was not successful (because of previous cancer operation damage).

On Monday I had a Nephrostomy.

On Tuesday I had a day of waiting.

On Wednesday morning I had an exploratory dye-scan and was discharged in the afternoon to come back another time for an operation.

That was 96 hours and four nights in hospital.

Four nights when I slept well.

96 hours when I didn’t have to think but had all the time in the world to think.

96 hours when the NHS looked after my every need.

96 hours when I observed hard-working dedicated staff at every skill level each doing their bit to provide a wonderful service.

96 hours when I had a lot of time to ponder on how darn lucky my generation has been with its free-at-point-of-delivery health service.

I do not have an extensive knowledge of the health services of other European countries and our press regularly says that the French and German services are superior to ours. They may be. We do not have a monopoly on being the best at everything.  

However one thing that my research has thrown up is that other countries which are held up as paragons to us have critics in their own countries just as we do.

I do know that in many countries I would have been dead in my teens because I had a disease that is often fatal today.  My parents could never have afforded the operation and treatment that I received.

So I, for one, have a great deal of praise for the NHS.

28 comments:

  1. Situations like this give us a dose of reality. We do have it great. Like you, many other people can look back and see examples of life saving. All the best to you for great treatment and recovery.

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  2. I agree with you 100%. Here in France I pay for everything. My doc' holds his hand out (€28 per visit), my pharmacist also requires paying (about €70 each 3 months), and my phlebotomist also has to be paid (about €10 every 3 months). If I was to require serious surgery, I would probably have to sell a house.

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    1. It's interesting to hear a French experience Cro.

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  3. Your experience reminds me very much of what I wrote here in 2010. German health services have, as you said, their critics, and certainly not all is well; for instance, hygiene has become a problem since hospitals have started to outsource cleaning to private companies whose main interest is, of course, profit. A rising number of people contract inflammations with resulting complications from being exposed to "hospital germs", as we call them. RJ's father nearly died of one a few years ago, and my colleague's father died like that. It is worrying but but does not diminuish what good things I can say about my short stint in hospital.
    Next year, I may have to undergo eye surgery. We'll see (!) what I have to say after that.

    Anyway, I am glad you are back home for now and hope your next operation will be successful.

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    1. I see "We'll see (!)" that you still have your sense of humour! I went to your 2010 life and, having read the post you mentioned (and a few more) I understand more about quite a few things. I go away on Tuesday for my next op on 2 November.

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  4. A good service - I think cancer and acute cases is one thing the NHS is good for, although I also think it is a 'post code lottery' for some. Plus in many areas there are just too many patients and not enough efficient and qualified staff to deal them. Certainly in the 22 years I have lived here in this area, I have seem much to underwhelm and be positively shocked about in service from them (and not just from my own experience). One recent example is my younger son (ASD) was admitted with stomach pains - they were going to operate without doing any tests - until fortunately the morning of the scheduled operation, a different doctor actually discovered he hadn't had a scan, so ordered one and he didn't have appendicitis! The doctor the previous day was just going to take it out regardless! It does make you shudder to think they will cut corners to cut down on costs of having scans, and yet by having a scan it saved him having a completely unnecessary operation.

    I am really glad you have had such a wonderful experience of them and it is reassuring to know that others have as well.

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    1. Serenata there are, unfortunately, occasions when the service falls short of what it should be and we've not been without shortages (of GPs) here on the Island although at the moment we seem to be fortunate. However careless of worse treatment is not really excusable in any circumstances.

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  5. I would have also died if it hadn't been for the NHS. All my family have received excellent care from the NHS whenever we have needed its help. To me it is tragic what Horrible Hunt and the Tories are doing to the NHS. It will be extremely hard to retrieve the ground that has been lost under their questionable stewardship. My wife has been an NHS nurse for 42 years and is very proud of her service to such a fantastic cause.

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    1. YP there sem to be a number of us who but for the NHS are still here to cost the state money. The question is whether the State will continue to have enough money to cope with an ageing and increasingly needy (I'm thinking in particular of illness caused by things like obesity) population.

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  6. The impression I have of the NHS is overwhelmingly good. I hope they continue to treat you really well.

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  7. I'm so glad you had such good care, Graham. How are you now? I do hope things are improving for you.

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    1. Frances I feel great. Hopefully by this time next week at least I'll have the kidney issue resolved. It will be good to get the tube out of my back.

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  8. So sorry you have to go through this at all, so glad that you are getting good care! It's a mixed bag, life, eh?

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    1. Mrs S, I'm so aware of just how much better off I am then so many people I konw who have, for example, constant pain or degenerative diseases (or both).

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  9. Similar to your self, except right from birth the British Health Service in 1943 saved my life and again at 8 yrs old it was then the NHS and here in Ireland I have and am receiving excellent treatment.

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    1. Heron, It's good to know that there are so many of us still around to be grateful!

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  10. The schedule of procedures you've had done sounds pretty thorough to me. When I was in hospital some years ago after cutting my little finger accidentally I was there 3 days, my surgery kept being put off and put off but when I think about it I saw all the staff who were so onto it and so busy all of the time that I felt grateful for even being there. Medical science has come such a long way over the years, at least the doctors can treat us now aye?

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    1. Yes Amy and at least we have hospitals and doctors. I was looking a several countries in Africa and the Middle East recently on the news and many of the population have access to neither.

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  11. I'm glad you're getting good care and that this is also how you feel about it yourself. I don't know how health services in other European countries compare either, nor how Sweden is ranked at the moment. From what I read every now and then, probably not quite as high as we used to. My own experiences are a bit mixed (with some things); but I too might not be here to have any opinion at all, if it had not been for good care in those emergency situations when I ended up having to spend unforeseen time in hospital. So I too am very grateful.

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    1. I'm glad, Monica, that overall you have had cause to be grateful.

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  12. I bet your nurses cried when you left, they must be very grateful to have someone who appreciates their excellent care!
    Don't even get me started on health care in the USA. I just have to pray for good health.

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    1. Well, Kay, I hope that your prayers are answered.

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  13. Graham, I am really happy that your experience was good. I hope it's the norm in Weegieland. I trust their ministrations will have you running round home quicker than a weavers shuttle.
    In Sheffield it isn't or wasn't for my mum who in the latter stages of dementia and she was a real pain drove them to violent behaviour. Can't blame them, I was tempted. Nursing used to be a vocation, something horrible to do before marrying well. These days it's a profession but they have to join a union and pray that their pension is intact. The bright ones sub their skills out on contract. Nothing wrong with that.
    I have had incompetent surgeons wanting to sort me and decided I wouldn't burden the service or pay private. I'll die when I choose. Trouble is I won't know what killed me. I'll guess stagnation of the lungs.
    Keep positive and get better but don't get conned by twenty year guarantees on anything.

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    1. Well, Adrian, I didn't get a guarantee with the op in 1998 but the 20 year milestone will soon be reached. I hope! The drugs trial is for 6 years but they won't give a guarantee with that either!

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  14. I'm sorry, Graham, I started to comment on this, got distracted and then forgot that I had been going to comment & closed the page. And now, I've forgotten what I was going to say! Oh, dear, oh dear. But in answer to your post, how glad I am that your experience has been so good, it usually is despite the unfair pressure the staff work under.Isn't it wonderful that many of them still find time to care, and hold your hand and be reassuring, too? Which makes me hugely exasperated and angry with the right wingers who are now pushing quite hard to destroy our NHS. (Oh, yes, that is what I was writing about before. I thought I had better not start ranting which is why I stopped the comment last time). I wish you the very best of luck with your next operation, I will be thinking of you on 2 November and sending good vibes your way, and will look forward to hearing from you afterwards.

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    1. Hi Jenny. I wander off to do research so often when I'm doing comments. I try and remember to copy what I've said because there are few things worse (in blogging) than having to try and recall a comment and re-type it. I think that keeping the NHS alive and well is going to be one of the great financial, political and social challenges of this century. I think it will survive my lifetime but I fear for my children's and their children's generations.

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