The NHS is failing, so let’s blame the sick…

NHS could be ‘overwhelmed‘ by people with long-term medical conditions, says the Guardian. Put another way, the NHS can’t cope with sick people. The purveyor of this let’s blame the sick nonsense is a Dr Martin McShane, described as “one of the health service’s most senior figures.”

I’ll take their word for that – personally I’ve never heard of him but, then, I doubt he’s ever heard of me, so honours are even, However, if that description is accurate, he must surely know that there are many other factors at work in trashing the NHS, and blaming sick people is egregiously simplistic and divisive. Probably wrong, too.

I sure as hell don’t believe it. From my experience in 2013 – a total of 10 weeks in hospital – probably far more money is wasted through sheer incompetence, stupidity, and carelessness, at all levels from trainee nurses on up and, in the case of my local hospital, millions spent (or, if you prefer, squandered), on cosmetic improvements to the buildings, while patients went short of beds.

**Cosmetic in that the work was not structurally necessary. This is not my opinion, it’s based on information provided to the public by the hospital.

And ,writing as a patient with a whole raft of long-term conditions, some life-threatening, and admittedly including one which is quite expensive (the dressings for my infected bilateral lymphoedema would have cost £45 a day, but my GP refused to pay, condemning me to a year of unremitting agony, barely relieved by morphine, which pushed me to the brink of suicide more than once), it’s all very well trying to guilt-trip us all, but WTF do you expect us to do about it?

Should we, perhaps, give IDS a helping hand and kill ourselves (save him the trouble of pushing us over the brink), so that this corrupt government can sell off a more profitable NHS, to the detriment of all current and future patients? I’m sure it would be popular with the lunatics currently running this asylum, none of whom I, personally, believe to be entirely sane – no-one who is could harbour so much hatred for a group of people who have never done them harm, or lie so prodigiously and compulsively. If they are sane, then I have to believe they are irredeemably evil.

Oh, and by the way, what the NHS is really “overwhelmed” by is the inadequacy of both its funding and its staffing levels, for both of which we can thank this deeply corrupt government in general, and the pathologically  mendacious Jeremy Hunt in particular. (Really, is there a senior minister to whom the term “pathologically mendacious” does NOT apply?)

Which makes me wonder why Dr, McShane isn’t lambasting them, instead of blaming the sick for, well, being sick.

The article’s penultimate paragraph says “Norman Lamb, the care and support minister, agreed with McShane that services for those with long-term conditions must improve. “We want to build a fairer society, and that means providing better care to people with long-term conditions so that they are able to enjoy an independent, fulfilling life, and have the support needed to manage their health,” he said.”

I agree, but it  leaves me wondering just how many other sick and disabled people IDS will force off benefits to pay for this scheme? Which is what “build a fairer society” generally means under these sharp-suited Nazis.

Or will it be new money?

How many guesses would you like?

One more thought. I’ve been seriously ill since the age of two (bronchiectasis and asthma, now rolled up, with emphysema, into COPD, plus a bunch of other, equally serious, conditions see footnote), and for most of my life various GPs have taken care of me, some not too well, some very well, most adequately – witness the fact that I’m still here at 69, despite having been assured, in my teens, I’d never see 40. Some (much?), of the credit goes to me, for keeping myself extremely fit, usually indulging in activities like rambling, backpacking, cycle touring, against medical advice, but with the approval of my physios, which I believe has been vital to my survival.

Now, though, not only can’t my GP be bothered with home visits, his stock response, by phone, is “Go to hospital.” That attitude, when he could do the job himself, does nothing to ease the load on the local NHS especially if rolled out across his entire elderly patient list. In addition, if the attitude is widespread among GPs then I can see how it actually could swamp the NHS, at least in some areas. A problem that needs to be urgently addressed, perhaps?

This is what’s wrong with me – this is what “long-term sick” means to me (from, and including, bronchiectasis on down, any of these can kill me, and will, sooner or later (apologies for the formatting of the “all lumped together” group nothing I can do, I’m afraid):-

ME since 1986

FMS since my teens

Osteoarthritis triggered by being struck by lightning in 1983, now widespread

Spinal arthritis (cervical spine) since my 20s

Pressure sores (this item might seem trivial to the uninitiated, but they’re very painful and can become dangerously infected – they’re caused, in my case, by sitting all day – and then sitting all night, as I can’t breathe if I lie down so I have to sleep sitting up in a profiling bed) This year

Bronchiectasis     }

Asthma                }All lumped together as COPD** First two since age 2

Emphysema         }Since 1996

Aortic valve calcification & stenosis (narrowing), of the valve. This affects the blood flow throughout the body. Diagnosed 2010

Heart failure Ditto

Angina, present sporadically since mid eighties. Getting worse.

Bilateral Lymphoedema, present since 2005. Last year severity was off the scale, massively infected and terrifyingly painful.

Plus several minor but disruptive conditions.

**It’s popularly believed that COPD replaces these conditions. It does not, they still exist, though asthma becomes increasingly irreversible. It’s the addition of emphysema that wraps them up together as COPD.

So that’s me and, yes, life is as much fun as it seems! But bear in mind that I am not by any means unique (though having so many serious conditions at once is probably quite rare), and that blaming us for being chronically sick, as if we had some fucking say in the matter, and being responsible for the failings of the NHS, is crass in the extreme.

Dishonest, too, when Cameron, Osborne and Hunt are far more culpable, jointly and severally, than all the long-term sick people put together!

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11 thoughts on “The NHS is failing, so let’s blame the sick…

  1. My understanding is that COPD was brought in as an umbrella term for both emphysema and bronchitis and did not include asthma or bronchiectasis. Privately I thought they had done this because Docs had difficulty spelling the individual diseases, whereas COPD is fairly easy to spell!! They could well have revised the definition, but I find that most people do not understand COPD, so I tell them that I have emphysema and bronchiectasis with a bit of asthma thrown in. At least there is understanding.

    • According to some support groups in the US, yes, but they are entirely wrong.

      Emphysema is the defining condition for a diagnosis of COPD. No emphysema, no COPD. Whatever else you happen to have in addition to emphysema – there will always be at least one causative condition – is pretty much irrelevant. Emphysema is what matters.

      COPD is not caused simply by having chronic respiratory illnesses like bronchiectasis or asthma (not bronchitis, which is transient), as is widely believed in the US, often by support groups who should know better.

  2. The cuts that this un-elected coalition have put upon the NHS are disgusting, but they have done it for profit so blame everyone who can’t afford health insurance. Now they want everyone to pay £10 for an A+E visit!!
    “An elderly lady buzzes her alarm to the community nurse due to chest pains which are severe – an ambulance is called and they see that she has suffered a stroke and chances are, she’ll be having another one soon. They give her everything that they should and then onto the ambulance she goes to get her to A+E as they are also not sure if she has broken her leg due to her falling during her stroke.
    Upon reaching A+E the staff their stabilize her and get ready to take her for a scan, which proves she has broken her leg. She is taken to the plaster room, whilst still being monitored continually, her leg is set and then she is taken back to the A+E while the nurse looking after her tries to find her a bed in a ward. A bed is finally found and she is about to go up to the ward when the night time arrivals clerk approaches and asks for either payment of £10 via credit/debit card or cash if she has it. She doesn’t have anything like that on her so is tutted at and then allowed to go to the ward where she dies an hour later due to a massive stroke. The family are traced and told the bad news whilst the poor lady is taken to the morgue. The family are told to come and collect her things, and could they also bring the £10 that the lady owed them for going to A+E”
    And all because this government want money from the sick, the disabled, the dying, the unemployed, the elderly, the poor and those who work but don’t get enough pay to let them live!
    As for Jeremy Hunt – he’s lost twice in court and still goes ahead and does what he damn well likes, as do the rest of this coalition!!!!
    I’ve only just seen a bill that was sent to a patient in the US for their treatment which is covered by so much medical insurance – it’s staggering and that’s how they want the people of the UK to go…
    I’ll try and find the bill and show you.
    Jay xx

    • Late one night in Arrowe Park Hospital, back in April – I’m sick of pussy-footing around just calling them “the hospital,” screw ’em if this offends them – I’d been to the toilet, and suddenly I couldn’t breathe, and felt desperately ill. I attracted the attention of the nurse who’d just finished the drugs round, a staff nurse presumably, from the uniform, and gasped “I think I’m dying.”

      “No, you’re not,” she said, and shoved me back in bed, where I promptly passed out (I assume I did as I have no further memory until the need for my next pee roused me).

      OK, I didn’t die, but she had no more idea, at that point, than I did whether I actually would or not, and what she should have done was fetched a doctor, but such cavalier treatment was par for the course.

      • Despicable! They should have fetched a doctor and they should have stayed with you to check that you hadn’t gone into heart failure!
        You should do a written complaint Ron – I was so scared about doing one but I couldn’t let the hospital get away with what had happened with my first operation. I was treated better for it – then when the solicitors letters arrived asking for my files they knew I was suing them – and have been treated even better.
        Worth a try Ron.
        Jay xx

        • I complained, in writing, about a consultant a couple of years ago – he wouldn’t even talk to me after I refused a dangerous diagnostic test when there was a safe option available. Complaining to Arrowe Park is pointless – they’re never at fault even when, to any normal person, they clearly are.

  3. Dr Martin McShane seems to have missed the point that without us ‘sickies’ he and many others would be out of a job that provides them with a very comfortable income.

    • A point I’ve made here repeatedly – I doubt any doctor actually understands that, on any real level. To most of them patients are just a bloody nuisance and, if they’re lucky – the doctors not the patients – a good training tool for the students and junior docs.

      Last time I was in they kept sending baby docs along to practise their needle skills. I’d let them have one go, realise they hadn’t a clue, and send them away. Whatever happened to practising on each other?

  4. well i was diagnosed with mild COPD about 7 years ago. but apart from 1 bad bout of bronchitis in my life and asthma since the age of 49.(a few chest infections over the years too).. that’s all the bronchial conditions i do have. no one has ever told me i have emphysema.they DID say was mostly down to having been a smoker though.

    • No emphysema, no COPD – it’s really that simple. Maybe you had a doc who routinely tells smokers they have COPD (because he’s likely to be right much of the time), to scare them into stopping. But COPD is progressive and needs intensive treatment during flare-ups – you’re not describing COPD.

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