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Let’s be honest, the NHS is awful In public we lionise it; in private we share stories of its incompetence and heartlessness

The NHS is not heroic. Credit: OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images

The NHS is not heroic. Credit: OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images


September 1, 2020   7 mins

It’s become the thing to do after any interaction with the NHS, be it a broken wrist or cancer treatment, to post about our experience with a hashtag. During the pandemic, public displays of NHS love have soared — with murals, flags, homemade posters and, of course, communal clapping on Thursdays. For many, it was a source of solidarity; no matter how bad things get, at least we have the NHS. That’s what we do in public, anyway. In private, even the most progressive people, solid Labour voters, will share stories about incompetence, bureaucratic indifference, misery and tragedy. We hold two contradictory thoughts in our head: celebrate “our NHS”, but for God’s sake, try to have as little to do with it as possible.

I have two personal stories to tell, one short, one long. In 2015, my aunt, who was in her 70s, was meant to have an operation on her jaw. This was to correct an earlier operation that had been botched so badly that she could barely open her mouth. It was repeatedly postponed but finally the day came: she was on a bed, about to go into theatre when she was informed that there had been a mistake and it had been postponed again. She went home in bewildered tears.

Eventually she did have her operation, which involved a tracheotomy. After a long convalescence, she was discharged from Guy’s Hospital in London. A few days later, my aunt heard a pop and noticed that her tracheotomy had started weeping blood. The visiting nurse looked it over and said it was fine. That night, she bled to death while a friend watched helplessly.

My wife’s story is longer and more involved, but in its way equally damning. In 2016, she developed intense chest pains. She began to lose weight rapidly, couldn’t climb the stairs in our flat and was coughing up blood. She visited the GP three times but each time was told there was nothing serious wrong; the blood was from a raw throat from repeated coughing. The symptoms did not go away, so she went to A&E at Lewisham hospital.

Here, after a scan, she was diagnosed with pulmonary embolisms: blood clots in her lungs, a potentially fatal condition. She was put on blood thinners to break the clots down and prevent more from forming. Since then she’s had constant problems with her lungs, including pneumonia, but despite being passed from haematologists to pulmonary specialists to neurologists to more respiratory consultants, nobody knows or seems to care what caused the clots.

When Covid came round she was deemed high risk and we have been doing our best to isolate — which is not easy, as she became pregnant in November. She was referred to a high-risk obstetrician, who told her that the William Harvey hospital in Ashford would be informed of her condition.

We had a healthy baby girl at the end of July. I won’t go into too many details about the birth, only to say that it was traumatic and not handled well by the midwives. One of them, rather than waiting for the placenta to come out naturally, was tugging at it, despite my wife in agony pleading with her to stop, until it tore. Our daughter was whisked off to the resuscitaire twice because she was having trouble maintaining her body temperature. In fact, the room she was born in was freezing because the window was broken. Later she developed an infection from a botched cutting of the umbilical cord.

Because of the danger of blood clots and the pain she was in, my wife needed a doctor to see her, but 10 hours after giving birth, neither my wife nor our daughter had been examined. By this time, she needed her blood thinners, but despite asking for them repeatedly, they never came. She was meant to stay in hospital overnight but we didn’t feel comfortable being repeatedly ignored in the stifling hot ward during a pandemic, so went home.

We came back the next day. Our daughter was checked over by a pediatrician. But still nobody would attend to my wife, who could barely walk and was terrified of blood clots. A midwife asked her lots of questions, mainly about breastfeeding. My wife’s concerns about her insides were dismissed as “anxiety.” We went home again.

The pelvic and abdominal pain had increased the next day, my wife couldn’t walk and was worried she might have an infection from the torn placenta. She contacted her midwife who told her to call 111. My wife spoke to a doctor who said, no, she should speak to the midwife. Eventually she was referred back to William Harvey hospital’s Ambulatory Care, but nobody there knew what to do with her. They ran blood tests for infection which came back negative but also indicated high D-dimer levels, suggesting potential blood clots. They scheduled an ultrasound for DVT for five days later then sent her to Maternity Daycare because of her pelvic and abdominal pain. The team here also didn’t understand why she had been sent to them. Eventually a young Greek doctor took pity on her and conducted an examination. He then took a swab, a urine sample, and consulted some surgeons on her behalf.

The following Monday, when my wife called the hospital for the results of a swab and urine sample, she was told they had no record of her. The women on the phone didn’t understand why someone in my wife’s position would have been sent to Maternity Daycare and more or less implied that she was delusional. More than a week after giving birth, she had a scan and, thankfully, did not have blood clots.

It’s not as shocking as my aunt’s story but my wife was in pain, needed help and had a potentially life-threatening condition — yet she was passed around with nobody taking responsibility. She spoke with dozens of people who all gave her differing advice. There was no communication between the consultants who knew my wife’s case and the hospital staff. With every person she dealt with, she had to start from the beginning.

Anyone who has any experience with the NHS would see this as fairly routine, bad but not shocking. My wife’s American family finds the whole thing baffling: why can’t you make an appointment with the specialist you saw before? They don’t understand that once you have been discharged from one department, then it’s go back to Old Kent Road. You must start again with your GP, a call to 111 or a visit to A&E. Our Polish friends think the whole thing is a joke and go home for any medical treatment.

But at least it’s egalitarian, right? Not like that awful American system. Well, it is and it isn’t. Money won’t get you very far but getting to see the right person takes an enormous amount of time, persistence and ideally a sharp analytical mind and a good grasp of the English language. My wife keeps detailed notes of everybody she speaks to. Our recent experience took the best part of a week, and I’m lucky to be in full time employment, meaning I get two week’s paternity leave. I can’t imagine that an Uber driver or small business owner would find the time.

Several doctors have suggested my wife file a complaint, but if we didn’t complain about the death of my aunt, which we should have done, then we probably won’t about this. The ultimate arbiter, the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) has a woeful record: it had 103,965 enquiries in 2019-2020, of which it investigated a mere 1,493 complaints. The maternity ward at William Harvey has been a scandal for a number of years now for its “outcomes” — i.e. babies dying. It’s an almost heretical thing to say but I’m now at the stage where I simply don’t trust the NHS.

From talking to friends, family and neighbours, our experiences are not unusual, so why do so many British people regard the National Health Sservice as something close to a religion? Well, it’s there at the most critical moments in our lives: births, illnesses and death. With the BBC going the way of the Church of England in relevancy, the NHS is one of the last things that binds us together. If we admit to ourselves that it isn’t very good, then what else would there be?

But also, NHS worship does have a grain of truth in it: many doctors and nurses are heroic, delivering great care under difficult circumstances. When I was treated successfully for testicular cancer by the team at St Bart’s in London, it was like getting the keys for the executive washroom. Blood tests came back in half an hour rather than a week. The cancer nurse gave me her mobile number and said I could call any time if I had any concerns. The chemotherapy was awful, but knowing that I was in good hands was reassuring. That was 15 years ago but they still check up on me every year.

Why can’t it always be like this? Of course, more money would help, but anyone who has had regular dealings with the NHS knows the organisation has severe bureaucratic problems. There are lots of people working in the healthcare system who seem to consider the patients the problem, and all the money in the world isn’t going to change the culture in some departments. The inefficiencies are hugely expensive: think of all the highly-paid professionals my wife spoke to and how much it cost the NHS (that’s you and me).

Who would even attempt serious reforms when previous attempts at reorganisation such as the Conservative’s market reforms in the 80s or Labour’s PFI by all accounts made things worse? There are no votes in it and so, after years of being accused of trying to privatise the health service, the Tories have seized their moment with the pandemic and wrapped themselves in the NHS flag, all the better to hang on to newly-acquired working-class seats. If I hear Boris saying “our NHS” one more time, I will throw a brick through the television.

Bizarrely, during the early days of Covid-19, the message was to protect the NHS, not the people which it is meant to serve. This led to patients who had not been tested being discharged from hospital into old people’s homes, and so spreading the virus among the most vulnerable. It also led to cancelled operations and cancer treatments, and people afraid to come forward with ailments, some of which might be serious, for fear of overloading the system. Sentimentality towards the NHS costs lives.

At some point, with our ageing population and the increasing costs of healthcare, we will have to have a grown-up debate about how this is to be paid for. Once we accept that the NHS is not a deity, we stop clapping and painting murals or sharing stories about Donald Trump trying to buy it — when we’re honest about its failing as well as celebrating its successes — then maybe one day we’ll have a health service that befits one of the world’s wealthiest countries. I fear it won’t be for some time.

One encouraging thing, however, is the growth in low-cost private practices, mainly catering to East Europeans who don’t have time to deal with the NHS. Maybe this is the way to improve things: the gradual development of a parallel system for routine ailments with the full NHS for more serious stuff — perhaps, and this is a shocking thought, with some kind of insurance that covers both private and public care. If there’s any hope it lies with the Poles.


Henry Jeffreys worked in the wine trade and publishing before becoming a freelance writer and broadcaster, specialising in drink. He now works as features editor on the Master of Malt blog. His book Empire of Booze: British History through the Bottom of a Glass won Fortnum & Mason debut drink book 2017.  His second, The Home Bar, was published in October 2018.

 

HenryGJeffreys

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Gray Rayner
Gray Rayner
3 years ago

The NHS is a black hole at the centre of our economy and sucks in resources without pause. It is unsustainable but is also (sorry for the mixed metaphor) the third rail of British politics – touch it and you die. The silo approach must be smashed. If a GP sends me to a specialist who diagnoses that I am outwith his/her field, why cannot s/he send me direct to a colleague who might help? Why go back to the GP every time and start again?

lizhood1
lizhood1
3 years ago
Reply to  Gray Rayner

Actually, that does happen. I had oodles of scans in a short space of time prompted by the cardiologist my doctor referred me to (one of a team who comes down from St Thomas’s to conduct appointments from local GP surgeries). I thought they were being efficient as I felt perfectly fine – turned out I had a 99% blocked coronary artery. The cardiologist noticed something on my lungs from one of the scans and directly referred me on. I was then summoned for more tests and all was fine. No GP involvement. Plaudits to Bexley Cardiology and St Thomases.
I’m not at all a fan of the NHS I hasten to add – my instinct is to nuke it and start again with privately funded competition.

Andrew Crisp
Andrew Crisp
3 years ago

I have been both a patient and a nurse. The bureaucracy in hospitals has to be seen to be believed; way too much ‘management’ that have no empathy or understanding of the problems.
In the bad old days, the hospital was run by The Matron, who was feared by doctors and nurses alike, BUT there was more efficiency. Now there are layers and layers of bureaucracy with responsibility dissipated throughout, so that no one takes it.
The last time I was in a hospital, the ward Sister was not allowed to give direct orders to the cleaner, but had to go via the cleaner’s senior. This was the result of Union action.
It seems to be ‘Russian roulette’ as to the standard of care one receives because of lack of control of ‘production’. Where the unpredictable can happen any time, it necessitates good control at all the things you CAN predict. In too many situations the NHS is mis-managed to the point of negligence.

Joe Blow
Joe Blow
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Crisp

And in the bad old days, lengths of stay were ridiculous, perioperative mortality rates abominable, and patients had little expectation of respect or dignity.

Out-patients were routinely “block bookings”, and patients could expect to wait literally hours.

Clarity of responsibilities on wards is definitely a mess, and could be fixed. But “matron” is not a quick fix.

Kathryn Richards
Kathryn Richards
3 years ago
Reply to  Joe Blow

‘Out-patients were routinely “block bookings”, and patients could expect to wait literally hours.’
Still are here in Torquay. Maybe different where you are.

Joe Blow
Joe Blow
3 years ago

Astonishing. Unconscionable arrogance on the part of the NHS.

dandj26
dandj26
3 years ago

The same here in NW London, their time is precious yours is worthless.

SUSAN GRAHAM
SUSAN GRAHAM
3 years ago
Reply to  dandj26

If you think England is bad – try NHS Wales, they make English hospitals look speedy – the only way I could get even a phone appointment for a dodgy hip replacement has been privately.

Dr Anne Kelley
Dr Anne Kelley
3 years ago

It’s as though we should be humbly grateful we are taking up their valuable time! Same goes for our local GP practice.

Richard
Richard
3 years ago
Reply to  Joe Blow

You obviously know quite a lot about this. I assume that you have some clinical experience, whether as a nurse or doctor/surgeon?

johngrant4est
johngrant4est
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Crisp

It’s a popular sport, blaming poor management for the failed/failing NHS but we should look at the bigger picture. For what we spend, the NHS delivers reasonable efficiency. The problem lies in the huge imbalance of demand vs supply. If you look at our neighbours in the EU (especially Holland, Germany and Scandinavia), they fund health quite differently and as a result, care is faster. more reliable and, critically, their outcomes are better. De-politicise the NHS!

William Harvey
William Harvey
3 years ago
Reply to  johngrant4est

How can you de-politise something that is government funded? Its always going to be a political football and no amount of money will fix it. My experience of was at time very good and at other times awful. I dont see how it will ever change as there are too many vested interests. Maybe a large war or massive economic collapse might force a change.. without that you brits will have to put up with it.

George Parr
George Parr
3 years ago

“Our NHS” wouldn’t look out of place in a Margaret Atwood novel.
I have never witnessed such religious deference to a government function

Andrew Crisp
Andrew Crisp
3 years ago
Reply to  George Parr

Yes! It can happen when you believe they are your saviour, and of course, sometimes they are.

William Cameron
William Cameron
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Crisp

And often they kill you

Michael Quinnen
Michael Quinnen
3 years ago

Too right, 12 years ago they killed my father a fit 76 year old. Suggested he have an angiogram, which involves inserting a catheter into a vein. The result showed a healthy cardiac system. however, he became ver unwell shortly after because the catheter was not sterile – they had injected MRSA directly into his bloodstream. He died of organ failure a week later – No apology, nothing.

Sue Williams
Sue Williams
3 years ago

My dad got MRSA during heart surgery at St Thomas’. They tried to blame it on community transmission. They blatantly lied about Hospital MRSA cases in their stats because my dad wasn’t included in them. A disgrace.

chrisjwmartin
chrisjwmartin
3 years ago

Everyone has a horror story of grotesque NHS incompetence leading to a medical tragedy.

dave.wenham100
dave.wenham100
3 years ago
Reply to  chrisjwmartin

It’s true, and I have one. But of the millions of cases per year what is the percentage. But I agree with the article, massive change is required. But until we get a dictator I don’t think it will happen. Parallel service, it’s a thought.

chrisbeattie9
chrisbeattie9
3 years ago

The NHS is like the curate’s egg, good in parts. I have worked with many people in the NHS who are dedicated, caring and intelligent. I have come across others who seem to be none of those things. From a personal perspective, I have seen family members consistently misdiagnosed, notes lost and passed from one consultant to another with no one able to make a decision on treatment. The NHS as an organisation sends out mixed messages. The current campaign about losing weight makes me smile when I remember all the obese nursing staff on the ward my late mother was in. On the other hand, the fittest person I know is a dedicated nurse. We can admire some people who work in the NHS while not liking others, and can separate individuals from the organisation. If the NHS was a business it would have been shut down, having been sued into oblivion. Remember that the NHS is not ‘free’. It is paid for out of taxation. Those who work in the NHS do get paid. They are not angels, but just normal people doing their job, some very well, others less so.The problem is that it is, to all intents and purposes, a monopoly, with all the problems that entails.

chrisjwmartin
chrisjwmartin
3 years ago
Reply to  chrisbeattie9

I have worked with many people in the NHS who are dedicated, caring and intelligent.

The thing is, as you intimate, this is not an argument for the NHS, no matter how many times the left tries to persuade you that it is. Those dedicated, caring, intelligent staff would still work in whatever healthcare system we ended up with. And in a private system, where incompetent staff could be fired, and incompetent practices could be avoided by patients, they might even make up a higher proportion of staff.

Eddie Martyn
Eddie Martyn
3 years ago
Reply to  chrisjwmartin

The UK NHS is a complete joke .
Over run with foreign drs ‘ most of which can’t even say my name proper because their English is pretty poor .
These people constantly make errors and then get away with it because they hide behind the Race relations act .
Have you been to most big town / city NHS hospitals ?
You don’t even know where you are it’s like going to a united nations meeting or being in Calcutta .
You wait 4 months to see a specialist and you see a foreign Dr who says ” I can’t give you a diagnosis so I’ll discharge you ”
And when you complain ? You are call a Racist or if you ask to see somebody else who can give you a diagnosis ? You are called abusive and asked to leave .
The NHS needs to be privatised so when these incompetent Drs screw up then they pay up .
The NHS complaints procedure is an even bigger joke . It’s clearly there to blame the patient and defend the DRs .
The NHS sucks big time .
And it’s not that if it was privatised that people wouldn’t pay . It’s if it was privatised ? Then there would be more lawsuits then you could imagine . No insurance company would tolarate a paying client being forced to see a 3rd world Dr who provides 3rd world treatment .
And during this Covid 19 pandemic it’s difficult to understand why people are going out clapping for the NHS ? What are the NHS doing now what they weren’t doing before the Covid 19 issues ?
Oh yeah stopping all routine operation and making even more people suffer .

Lance Milburn
Lance Milburn
3 years ago

The NHS is awful. My personal experience and that of my extended family is one of shocking incompetence and indifference. Patients are not seen as persons with an illness to be treated but a problem to be solved. Most of the time its a tick box exercise. I am currently waiting for an orthopaedic operation. I have been told because of “saving the NHS” my operation will be delayed at least 12 months. Don’t save the NHS , let it perish so we can build a new one.

ian.lambton
ian.lambton
3 years ago
Reply to  Lance Milburn

A problem to be handed off to someone else, with no desire to solve it.

Eddie Martyn
Eddie Martyn
3 years ago
Reply to  ian.lambton

If you want a proper health service ? Then pay for it .
Blame LEFTWING labour for treating the world’s sick and importing all these incompetent 3rd world drs who give 3rd world service then hide in their offices hiding behind the Race relations act because they’ve been caught out

Eddie Martyn
Eddie Martyn
3 years ago
Reply to  Lance Milburn

Then all you get is change your diet ‘ stop smoking ‘ stop drinking .
That’s if you can understand what the drs say ?
It’s an outdated health service what needs flushing down the toilet like most of the incompetent Drs who work for it .
The NHS sucks big time

Joe Blow
Joe Blow
3 years ago

The tired old comparisons of the worst of the US with the best of the UK. The simple fact is that the UK has a national, universal health system, the US doesn’t. If you are well insured, you will generally receive a far higher standard of care in the US.

But there are more than two countries in the world. UK, and US, of course – but also Australia, Canada, Sweden, Germany… I could go on. The other simple fact is that the NHS compares poorly with many systems that ALSO provide universal coverage, and cheery anecdotes about Nurse Betty and how wonderful she was do not change that.

In the US, if insured, you are more likely to survive serious illness, and your quality of experience will be higher. You will be more likely to be treated with respect, not as some serf who is being done a favour.

The UK NHS has some good features, but overall, quality of care is poor. Quality, that is, defined as getting you better. A shake up is needed, and it is unlikely to happen.

Allan Dawson
Allan Dawson
3 years ago
Reply to  Joe Blow

Australia, Canada, Sweden and Germany all spend more on healthcare than the UK does….

Lee Johnson
Lee Johnson
3 years ago
Reply to  Allan Dawson

The NHS is undoubtedly cheap. See my comment above.

The cheapest solution would be to have no healthcare at all of course, maybe that’s what you would prefer ?

Allan Dawson
Allan Dawson
3 years ago
Reply to  Lee Johnson

I’d rather have the German or Dutch system but I also don’t pretend that we can have a Germanic or Dutch or Swiss style NHS in the UK without paying more – lots more – for it….either by direct funding via taxation, privately or via socialised medical insurance.

William Cameron
William Cameron
3 years ago
Reply to  Allan Dawson

an extra 2% GDP gives you Germany funding levels – but you will never get German performance with the State run NHS model.

Richard
Richard
3 years ago

Most of the spend on health care in Germany is via personal/company health insurance rather than the big spend on everybody’s tax which is the UK model.

Allan Dawson
Allan Dawson
3 years ago

Why not?

Stephen Follows
Stephen Follows
3 years ago
Reply to  Lee Johnson

Cheap and nasty.

Eddie Martyn
Eddie Martyn
3 years ago
Reply to  Lee Johnson

Typical labour response .
Labour created the NHS and labour have ruined it because of immigration .
And that isn’t Racist it’s Realist

William Cameron
William Cameron
3 years ago
Reply to  Allan Dawson

Bit of a myth that. We spend 9.6% GDP Germany spends about 11.5% -so its not miles different.

Joe Smith
Joe Smith
3 years ago

But that’s a lot in absolute terms. I think UK GDP is around 2tn, so a difference of 2% of GDP in health spend is about 40bn annually.

Allan Dawson
Allan Dawson
3 years ago

Year after year it amounts to a huge difference….think of how compound interest works…

Iain Muir
Iain Muir
3 years ago
Reply to  Allan Dawson

If bureaucracy is a large part of the problem, and many people (myself included) think it is, how would more money improve things? The bureaucrats would hoover it up and it might actually get worse.

I’d be prepared to pay more for a good system, but I simply don’t have confidence in the present setup. Throwing good money after bad.

Allan Dawson
Allan Dawson
3 years ago
Reply to  Iain Muir
William Cameron
William Cameron
3 years ago
Reply to  Joe Blow

An old argument . No one wants a USA system . WE want a European system like Holland, Germany, France etc.

Karl Schuldes
Karl Schuldes
3 years ago

I know someone who wants a USA system. Me. I live there, and I have had a fair number of medical issues, some life-threatening. It’s been nothing but good experiences, as is the case with everyone I know. I am middle class, Not wealthy. Insurance has been great. It’s expensive, but you get what you pay for.

croftyass
croftyass
3 years ago
Reply to  Karl Schuldes

But we get it “free”..oh b****r-its £134billion pa-never mind-easy mistake !

Micheal Thompson
Micheal Thompson
3 years ago

You might also consider a Japanese system. I have lived here for more than 20 years and it works. One national health insurance (compulsory), set charges, a choice of public hospitals and smaller clinics. All designed by US New Dealers during the Occupation !

unconcurrentinconnu
unconcurrentinconnu
3 years ago

Yes, the NHS is awful, and I have been saying this for 30 years. Anyone with experience of healthcare systems in other western democracies can compare and see the huge failings in it. It is, after all, about the only nationalised industry left from the wave that occured in the late 1940s, and it still has that mindset. It’s just another example of communism and the drift to the bottom of the pile.

Like the writer, I cringe when I hear reference to “our NHS”, just as I did when that clapping nonsense started. Half the NHS was on holiday, for God’s sake. How was the NHS protecting our health? It’s a bit like a population standing in front of its army when the enemy advances because it wants to protect its soldiers. It would be hilarious if it were not true.

I do not denigrate those people in the NHS who are diligent, knowledgeable and conscientious. I have met some. I have also met others. But the criticism is not about individuals but about the system – a monolith where accountability does not exist, and the patient has no choice but to put up with whatever the local Trust provides. Because we have no choice we put up with it. And we don’t criticise it much because we know we will need it at critical moments in our lives – a third rate service is better than none, and we know the NHS has power of life or death over us.

How can we get out of this downward spiral? Successive governments have ducked the question because of the religious status of the service. People think it good because it is “free”. Well, that nexus should be broken first. Defund all the hospitals (though not research) and GPs and other healthcare services and let them earn their revenue by charging for services. The taxation saved can be returned to people so they can pay directly. Let them see how much things cost and let them decide whether it is value for money. They can if they wish take out private healthcare insurance – and there would certainly have to be some form of subsidy for the unemployed/very low income people. But even with insurance everyone should pay an excess (or franchise as its called in France) so that there is a money cost to healthcare users. The corollary is that patients should have choice – of doctor, of hospital, of specialist etc – and that means breaking up the system and – that dreaded word – privatisation. It works well in that great socialist country, France, where the health care is many times better than the NHS.

Allan Dawson
Allan Dawson
3 years ago

France, a country that has been devoting more spending to healthcare than the UK for years….

William Cameron
William Cameron
3 years ago
Reply to  Allan Dawson

Yes but it doesnt use the NHS monopoly state run delivery model.

Allan Dawson
Allan Dawson
3 years ago

Still spending more….or don’t you think there is a link between cash spent and service?

Why do you think the USN can maintain a dozen or so CBGs…is it (a) the USN is super efficient..or (b) the USN outspends – by a huge margin – every other navy on the planet….

unconcurrentinconnu
unconcurrentinconnu
3 years ago
Reply to  Allan Dawson

Well, on a par these days. And an incomparably better health service.Whatever the French spend they get far better value for money (speaking as an ex-resident).

Allan Dawson
Allan Dawson
3 years ago

Because for years the French have been spending more…think of how compound interest works…..

Go Away Please
Go Away Please
3 years ago

I fully agree with what you have said except for one quibble. I don’t think ” they can if they wish take out … healthcare insurance” would work. In Germany everyone has to have insurance. The low income/unemployed have their insurance paid for by the state.

Andrew Giles
Andrew Giles
3 years ago

So many of us have had bad and good experiences, and know things could be better.

But the frustration comes when the NHS, politicians and the media are all not honest enough to admit te truth.

Nothing can be discussed or change while the NHS cannot be doubted, questioned, etc..

It is one of the most longstanding ‘cancelled’ topics for adult and honest discussion.

Ian Wilson
Ian Wilson
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Giles

Well said, and I shudder with the thought of ever having to see a doctor again, nevermind go into hospital. Fortunately it’s been over 20 years since i had to do either.

I can only feel immense sympathy for the stories told here. It’s just like immigration, we need a grown up debate with no mud slinging to understand and resolve the problem.

Fat chance for either in the days of likes and retweets.

John Nice
John Nice
3 years ago

WE, the people, protected the NH(C)S. Now perhaps it’s time they started protecting us again.

Richard
Richard
3 years ago
Reply to  John Nice

Fat chance. The NHS is our old British Leyland. We pay tax to keep it going, like it or not. We’re stuck with it and it continues to perform badly but we aren’t allowed to consider other models. We have Allegros and Maestros which don’t work, but cost us quite a lot in tax. We could afford to buy a BMW or two instead, but this would require our governments to accept that the NHS is a bankrupt institution which lost its value some 40 years ago.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

Yes, the whole thing is a racket that exists primarily for the benefit of those that work for it. We have all known this for years and the same can be said of all public sector bodies. But there’s nothing you can do that.

Aden Wellsmith
Aden Wellsmith
3 years ago

It’s worth checking out Jane Barton, and what happened at Gosport hospital. Over 600 killed. Why did the other consultants not blow the whistle?
Why didn’t the police find out what was going on despite repeated complaints?
Why didn’t the BMA act?
Why didn’t the NHS admins act?
Why didn’t the ministry act?
Why, when the deaths were identical to Shipman, didn’t the post Shipman warning system work?
Why no prosecutions?

Bob Green
Bob Green
3 years ago
Reply to  Aden Wellsmith

Jane Barton:-
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/

Tim Masters
Tim Masters
3 years ago

I once watched aghast as a ward nurse transfered a huge wad of patient notes from an old dog-eared ring binder into a new one. She took the pages out in sections; the top one from the old folder went into the bottom of the new folder with subsequent chunks of information following suit. This meant of course that large bits of what are presumably a patient’s important medical information had been completely jumbled up. I wondered then how on earth someone like that had managed to become an NHS employee.

As for clapping on Thursday evenings. I was among those who flatly refused to do so as I could not, and still cannot, fathom out why we were exhorted to ‘Protect the NHS’ and regard its employees as heroes, when those of us who have worked, generated wealth and paid large amounts of tax for most of our productive lives have done so in the belief that the NHS and its staff were there to save us.

It will never be reformed though. The infantile Leftists and everyone else with under-developed brains who lionise it as ‘the envy of the world’ when it obviously isn’t, would riot in the streets, burn buildings, mug, assault and even murder anyone who thinks otherwise. It’s what they do. They’re doing in the US right now. And our ‘leaders’ are terrified of them.

Steve Moss
Steve Moss
3 years ago

I wish I could say different, but sadly this story, comes as no surprise. I could report similar tales of personal experiences of gross incompetence, relating to myself and members of my family. I worked for a company, who were a supplier to the NHS for over 10 years, and subsequently spent much of my time both dealing with upper management and also at the sharp end on the wards. The repeated stories of mismanagement and inept decision making were rife, and I’m referring to internal reports, not external. I wish I had time to report in detail on the multiple horror stories they were either relayed to me, or I personally witnessed, as I feel people should be made aware of how broken a machine the NHS really is. Part of my reason for leaving the aforementioned role was down to the burden this ‘knowledge’ had on me. As the years went on, rather than improving, it simply got more and more depressing. It’s so sad, as there are undoubtably good people within the NHS, but I feel that even the most positive and resilient would become jaded and disillusioned within such an organisation. Change is desperately needed, but sadly I feel it’s too late.

chrisjwmartin
chrisjwmartin
3 years ago

getting to see the right person takes “Š a good grasp of the English language.

And this applies on the flipside as well: the staff you speak to have a good grasp of the English language too. But very few NHS staff speak fluent English, because it has been cynically staffed on the cheap with Third World medics, like everything else in our cut-rate, bargain-basement health-system.

The NHS is thus one of the few areas that woke puritans can point to as being an area where immigrants definitely contribute to Britain, rather than having to mention their dominance of the drug trade, prostitution, grooming gangs, etc. Therefore the woke have to defend the NHS to the death or lose their most plausible defence of the “Great Replacement” nightmare that is strangling European civilisation, and Britain most of all.

I don’t blame the foreign medics for wanting to get better pay and a better life. I blame the succession of governments that have deliberately imported those medics, and others like them, too fast to assimilate, thereby overwhelming British culture and undercutting our development of native medical staff, and depriving the source countries of valuable productive citizens. Multiculturalism is a policy in which the ordinary people of both rich and poor countries lose out, to the primary benefit of the rich countries’ elites.

Aden Wellsmith
Aden Wellsmith
3 years ago
Reply to  chrisjwmartin

In practice the medics integrate well. They have to be at a very high, and examined, level of English.

The problem isn’t with high skilled migration. The problem is when you import millions of poor people.

Hence the WOKE cannot say how a min wage migrant pays more tax than they cost.

chrisjwmartin
chrisjwmartin
3 years ago
Reply to  Aden Wellsmith

Mass low-skilled migration is a bigger problem. But mass high-skilled migration is a problem too. It encourages low-skilled migration (the feckless families of the high-skilled workers). It creates clusters of communities that do not have a need to integrate, because their group is large enough to be self-sufficient. It undercuts native training of these high-skilled jobs, resulting in a two-tier society, with natives on the bottom. And for the source country, it removes an important layer of civil society that could help stabilise those countries and make them prosperous enough that their educated classes wouldn’t need or want to emigrate.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  chrisjwmartin

Doctors are not integrated in the society at large?
LOL

chrisjwmartin
chrisjwmartin
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

Indeed, many are not. They are not magically integrated into local community organisations and civil society simply because of the job they happen to do. Despite the left’s fetishisation, there is nothing holy or sacred about the medical profession.

Lee Johnson
Lee Johnson
3 years ago

I had a mitral valve repair (open heart surgery)
In the following year I deteriorated with chest pains and breathlessness, repeated visits to cardiologists who did and said nothing.

Until it was so bad I told the (Italian) cardiologist that I could hardly walk from the car park.
She said “It it is policy not to carry out a second valve repair, Did they tell you that ?”
I said: “What does that mean ?” (I didn’t understand why it was relevant)
She said : “I’m saying nothing”

In desperation I went private, spent £10k on a cardiologist who told me I needed a second repair.
I had the second repair and I play tennis now .

Moral of the story:
The NHS has budgetary rules which they do not tell you about. Just wait and eventually dead people will conclude the case without awkward issues.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Lee Johnson

Yes, my mother, aged 87, was coughing for a few weeks recently. Not Covid. But she didn’t go to a doctor because she knew that if she was put into an NHS hospital – ever for ‘tests’ – at her age they would find a way to kill her. Fortunately, she is no longer coughing.

William Cameron
William Cameron
3 years ago

Most countries in Europe have universally available health care. Most of it has better outcomes than the NHS . No other country has copied the state run monopoly health service NHS model. Why would you ? Its a poor delivery model for personal services -to have a monopoly employing 1.5m people whose customers have to fit in with the supplier ?
Other countries are insured models. Everyone is insured- at various levels.
So Doctors and Hospitals see patients as an income not a cost and want to see them . Unlike the NHs which regards Patients as a problem rather than in income. We should go and copy from other better run systems.

davestraton
davestraton
3 years ago

I’m a doctor, originally from the UK. I emigrated to NZ in the 1970s, returned to the UK in the early 1980s and re-emigrated to Australia. I couldn’t stand to work in the NHS.

So often the politics of health gets reduced to Freedom (think US) vs Equality (think NHS, socialism). What gets neglected in that polarity is Power. In the NHS patients, and to a degree, doctors, are disempowered. The UK culture of ‘Mustn’t grumble!’ probably helps.

I regularly get friends and relatives visit from the UK with horror stories similar to those described above. They all feel powerless to get their health needs met. We post them through the Australian Medicare system where possible and frequently turn up NHS mismanagement.

The NHS is a tragedy, all the more because it enjoys political support from large numbers of voters who are unaware of alternatives that work much better.

davestraton
davestraton
3 years ago
Reply to  davestraton

PS The UK spends 9.6% of GDP on health. Australia spends 9.2%. https://data.worldbank.org/

Paula Adams
Paula Adams
3 years ago
Reply to  davestraton

Can you explain what you mean by power as far as healthcare and how to improve things in the US healthcare system?

David
David
3 years ago
Reply to  Paula Adams

There are many studies that describe how international health systems compare. This is a good one.

https://interactives.common

A central issue which tends to get neglected in the standard NHS vs US argument is the degree to which a patient has choice. In the NHS, it is hard for a patient to change doctor if they are unsatisfied. The doctors have limited choice over how long they have with a patient, and the budget they can work with when ordering tests or treatments. This powerlessness on both sides produces frustration, queues and stress.

In Australia, a patient can easily change doctor if they are unhappy. Doctors who provide excellent service get better remunerated than those who don’t, incentivising better service.

In terms of access, > 80% of GP visits are free to the patient and > 40% of specialist visits. https://tinyurl.com/y3trwapz

The central economic debate of the 20th century was how to best balance Supply and Demand. The jury is in; Markets do better than Command Economies. The dilemma in areas like Health is that when people are poor and/or sick, they can’t compete in a Market system. The Health Systems that work best can be thought of as hybrids; they provide state subsidy to the patient, rather than the health institution, while preserving choice of how the patient deploys their money, channeling it towards the health provider who delivers the best service.

Geoff Cox
Geoff Cox
3 years ago

There is one small piece of advice in this article which needs highlighting.

“My wife keeps detailed notes of everybody she speaks to.”

I can’t tell you how important this is when dealing with any branch of Government or large organisation. On hanging up the phone having been told someone will get back to you within 24 hours, it is easy to let it go at that. But 48 hours later when nothing has happened you are back to square one. Then after another phone call when they apologise about not getting back to you, it is again easy to be reassured until 48 hours later, still no call … etc. A record of who you spoke to and what they said is absolutely essential to holding large organisations to account and, with a bit of luck, will add pressure to get good service in the first place. It’s a double benefit.

jud.gou
jud.gou
3 years ago

There are many many stories of poor NHS practice circulating at the moment . Too many to ignore. I think availability of an opt out into an alternative primary care would be greatly appreciated . It is amazing how having to actually earn the affection and payment from the customers sharpens the mind….rather than considering that one has a God given right to behave as a minor deity.

Francis Winton
Francis Winton
3 years ago

My post was deleted so I am repeating it. I worked as a doctor in Nhs since 1980 and retired a few years ago. Why? The NHS has a toxic culture. Each trust appears to have 2 parallel universes. One consists of demoralised unvalued staff trying to care for patients and the other is senior management/trust board who focus not on clinical care but the pressure to hit targets, tick boxes and balance the books. Senior management are under pressure from commissioners who themselves are ruthlessly pressured by the dept of health.
Clinicians are devalued and seen as a nuisance if they dare to question management. This is particularly galling when as a consultant I was the equivalent of a PhD and MA whereas most managers have nothing like those qualifications. Some only have GCSEs.
Bullying is rife, bureaucracy suffocating, clinical concerns dismissed and whistleblowers vindictively victimised e.g. Dr Day. In order to cope some staff change their vocation into a job. The better trusts have good managerial/clinician relationships.
The research is clear – high morale staff leads to better clinical outcomes for patients, reduced staff sickness and saves money due to reduced use of locums and bank staff. This is not rocket science but appears to be of no interest to those with power. There are many other issues but changing the culture would have a marked impact on the NHS. A problem is the Dark Triad – psychopathy, narcissism and Machiavellianism – which characterise a lot of people in senior organisational positions. They are not interested in valuing staff.

Olaf Felts
Olaf Felts
3 years ago
Reply to  Francis Winton

Reality speaking sadly. My work experience can confirm.

Liz Davison
Liz Davison
3 years ago

I found this post horrifying. It’s well known that in France we’re spoiled in the health provision on offer but I had no idea that such sheer incompetence and unkind disinterest existed. Plainly the bureaucracies running these hospitals are extremely varied in their efficiency. The climate of care and professionalism at Barts is clearly completely lacking at the maternity hospital whose callous disregard of basic safety procedures and the brutal treatment by at least one midwife make for a real-life horror story. I understand your reluctance to go the ombudsman route but feel that this story should reach the Daily Mail. That paper is always highlighting NHS abuses and I think you’d have more chance of this reaching a wider audience in this way. The effect of such stories tends to snowball as more come forward with similar tales. Truly hospitals who kill must be highlighted. You would be doing a great service to the public.

Julia H
Julia H
3 years ago

There is a long-standing professional feud between NHS midwives and obstetric doctors that means that sometimes mothers and babies get caught in the crossfire of poor communications. At its worst this results in dead or severely disabled newborns. It’s a cultural problem between the professionals but needs to be tackled if safety is to be improved.

As for GPs, they are essentially gatekeepers acting as the barrier through which patients must pass in order to access specialists in hospitals. The system requires generalists to decide when specialists are required. That seems to me to be a fairly fundamental problem with the system. Private patients can book directly with a consultant in the required specialty. Access to healthcare in the UK is not egalitarian and never has been. That’s a myth. Maybe primary or emergency care but definitely not specialist care in a secondary setting.

no2flags
no2flags
3 years ago

The writer’s experience of the NHS is an accurate reflection of the organised chaos that is the NHS. The answer to the question, “why do so many British people regard the National Health Service as something close to a religion?” is adequate but it doesn’t begin to address why British people accept such poor service. And that has to be due in large part to a cultural issue. My personal feeling is that it comes down to two things:

1. A collective lack of self-esteem. If poor service is what Brits think is due, then that is what they get. This is the cultural issue. I don’t know what it will take for Brits to take more pride in their self-worth and to reject crappy service which is the norm in the NHS but I don’t expect that to happen in my lifetime.

2. The second is the false narrative that everyone on both sides of the equation (staff and patients) tacitly buys into: It’s a free service so shut up and take what’s given. But of course it’s not free. We pay for it in hard earned tax money and I definitely haven’t got my money’s worth. 8 times out of ten I’ve given up with the NHS and just self-funded privately. That galls because I HAVE PAID in taxes for my health care and going private is paying twice since I have no private insurance that covers the pre-existing conditions that I have had to get private treatment for. The problem with human nature is that if the transaction is not more direct, then the service contract and culture does not kick in. The service from the other side is all too often supercilious, capricious, indifferent, shoddy or a combination of all these things. And at its root is an attitude that says, “Shut up and take what you’re given because, good or bad, it’s free.” This problem can be changed and it should.

Carol Scott
Carol Scott
3 years ago

I almost lost my granddaughter in the William Harvey some years ago as the midwife run unit refused any pain relief or to call a doctor despite my daughter In law being clearly in distress. My son kicked up such a fuss that a Dr was finally called and she was rushed to theatre for an emergency c section. This was not her first child and she knew something was wrong. My own experience there was ok but last year I had to have surgery at Guys. I went up on Sunday for pre op tests, when I went in on Monday they had all been lost and had to be repeated! It was not a good experience and I will avoid hospitals as much as I can now. Meantime I cannot get my annual cancer CT, can’t see my respiratory Dr. so just hope everything is ok. I lived in Germany for three years and it was a far better system. The hospitals competed for patients, little or no waiting and, apart from paying for those who couldn’t afford it the government stayed out of it so never a political football. High time a new system was designed that put the patients first.

Warren Alexander
Warren Alexander
3 years ago

Perhaps one day we will get politicians brave enough to admit just how awful the NHS can be. I am lucky in having an excellent GP and a first class local hospital but I’ve seen far too many instances of appalling care and utter disinterest in patient welfare in other hospitals and from other GP surgeries.

Tom Hawk
Tom Hawk
3 years ago

Think of the four pliiars of the post war Labour government; the welfare state, the NHS, the planning system, nationalised industries.

All four have failed this country and cost billions on the process.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Tom Hawk

Feel free to change the system. Tories can do that right now!

Aden Wellsmith
Aden Wellsmith
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

How? The socialist welfare state is 14,000 bn in debt.
What’s your solution to that mess?

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Aden Wellsmith

elections, democracy and all that.

Aden Wellsmith
Aden Wellsmith
3 years ago
Reply to  Tom Hawk

Billions? Are you for real?

The Welfare state is 14 trillion, 14,000 bn in debt. That’s its pension liabiltiies.

Bob Green
Bob Green
3 years ago

Perhaps a serious problem is recruiting “qualified” staff on a global basis.
Is the quality of training properly checked? Some individual cases suggest not.

After attending A&E I had a metal plate inserted in a broken wrist by an apparently nameless Arab surgeon.

I make financial sacrifices to maintain the private health care I had when working. Had I not I wouldn’t have been able to see a top British surgeon to have it removed in a private hospital after 18 months of pain, it having been incorrectly fitted.

I went back to the NHS hospital to try at least to suggest the surgeon should be informed but, conveniently, after only 18 months no record could be found of who operated on me. Not much effort was put into finding the records that I could see.

I would sacrifice my car before giving up what at my age is very expensive insurance .
.

Caroline Galwey
Caroline Galwey
3 years ago

What a horrible time your wife, your child and you have had – I could hardly bear to read it. Amazed you can stay so measured in the circumstances. How many hundreds of people must just creep off to die, unable to fight the system any longer …

William Cameron
William Cameron
3 years ago

According to the ONS over 700,000 new immigrants arrived in the UK in the year to March. No Health service can cope with those sorts of annual increases in numbers.

John Davis
John Davis
3 years ago

Well, there’s 60-odd million people in the UK, so 700K is just a bit over 1% increase, and few of them will be the over 70’s who really mop up resources. So not utterly unmanageable.
Besides, we need to keep the numbers growing to feed the Ponzi scheme.

William Cameron
William Cameron
3 years ago
Reply to  John Davis

No we dont. The Ponzi scheme is reducing GDP per capita and stretching public services to breaking point.
Its the Thick politicians that think rising GDP is enough-when its GDP per capita that matters.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  John Davis

Our GP’s are the best paid in Europe by a long shot. Most’trouser’ £100K +, yet now in this C19 Panic it is impossible to see one!
One of the reasons Germany does so well is they spend much more. Yet at the same that spend last than they should on their commitment to NATO. So embarrassed are they by their inherent military instincts, they prefer to let the US taxpayer defend them.
Perhaps we (UK) should cut our NATO spending to 1% of GDP and spend the rest on the NHS. Would it do any good? I doubt it.

ian.lambton
ian.lambton
3 years ago
Reply to  John Davis

Yours is arguably the least intelligent and most immature comment I have read here.

Idiots like you demand a great deal of time and effort to refute, time and effort that are always wasted because you are too stupid to know any better and so can never benefit from an informed reply. I long ago passed the point at which I could be bothered to sit patiently and type endlessly so will not do so, except to say that immigrants, these days many if not most of them illegal, ‘mop up’ far more in resources and contribute far less, if anything at all, than the ‘over 70’s’ (sic), many, if not most, of whom have worked and contributed for about fifty of their seventy plus years.

Abuse your inalienable right to express your opinions, however vacuous, and the opportunity I have given you to reply, by all means, but do not expect me, or anyone else, to take you seriously or let you get away with it.

CYRIL NAMMOCK
CYRIL NAMMOCK
3 years ago
Reply to  ian.lambton

No. Yours is.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago

Exactly, this is an insidious invasion, and unless action is taken soon, there will be “blood on the streets”.

Esmon Dinucci
Esmon Dinucci
3 years ago

“One encouraging thing, however, is the growth in low-cost private practices, mainly catering to East Europeans who don’t have time to deal with the NHS. Maybe this is the way to improve things: the gradual development of a parallel system for routine ailments with the full NHS for more serious stuff”

The NHS was originally set up to look after the most serious illnesses and diseases. The life threatening and crippling ones. It has suffered from enormous mission creep and a metastasising bureaucratic infiltration.

Cosmetic surgery? no problem. Tattoo removal? no problem. Infertility? no problem. Obesity cures? no problem – have a gastric band. And so it goes on – lifestyle choices and a feeling that everything about my life should be perfect as long as I personally don’t have to take any responsibility for it being like that.

The difficulty is empathic reponses to non medical problems some of which are just part of being in a physical body with a built in best before date.

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy would help a lot of people who just don’t like their lives as they are and want them to be better and want someone else to do it for them and pay for it,

Teresa Angus
Teresa Angus
3 years ago

Great article – my husband has pancreatic cancer and in May he developed chemotherapy related sepsis and when he initially felt a bit unwell we were terrified of going to A &E because of all the virus hype – I can’t begin to tell you the nightmare we had when we went there dealing with staff that had one diagnosis on their mind (COVID-19) and told me (and him) he would die “today or tomorrow “. It was a surreal three day experience until test came back negative. the rest of his cancer care has been mostly excellent but we can’t just keep throwing money at the NHS.
We need to talk about the NHS

Maggi Wilson
Maggi Wilson
3 years ago

I’ve believed for a long time that the NHS, as a national organisation, needs serious reform. I am lucky with the service in my area, not far from the author but a different Trust, and can only offer positive comment. However 20 yrs ago when my mother was in her final years I observed waste, disrespect from the GP – in a NW Trust. I’ve had a temporary job in a local Trust and was horrified by the number of managers, lack of security of records, etc – I fired myself to save them money! I have no idea what the answer is, but a complete overhaul is necessary, and let’s stop the idolisation of what in essence is a brilliant concept.

Richard
Richard
3 years ago
Reply to  Maggi Wilson

It was a ‘brilliant’ concept in 1947. It’s not been brilliant for a good many years. It’s now an anachronistic political weapon, protected as such, and harbouring far too many adminstrators on exorbitant salaries and pensions contributions. Recruiting Diversity Managers on a mere £75,000. Throwing X£100,000’s of taxpayers’ cash into pension pots for retiring/sacked ex senior staff. It’s the NHS, not a Merchant Bank or Coca Cola/Unilever/BP for Christ’s sake….

Jessie James
Jessie James
3 years ago

How many nhs staff does it take to process a middle aged man for a routine bowel scope screening? 9 according to my recent experience. I’m sure a private operator would have managed with considerably fewer.

Tobycann
Tobycann
3 years ago

Whenever the issue of NHS shortcomings arises, inevitably we are “rebutted” with the “heroism” of individual healthcare professionals. Well, they aren’t selfless or saints but yes – many of them do an admirable and (often) unenviable job, but they are no more heroic or competent than those of other countries, even (say it softly) the US.

Paula Adams
Paula Adams
3 years ago

As an American, I must say thank you for this honest and enlightening article! I’m so sorry about your aunt and your wife’s pain and suffering. These stories are also common in Canada and now becoming common in the US now with Obamacare. Health care for the working class is total crap. My child was suicidal and was sent to a terrible psych center that was later shut down. Now there is no local center available for the many people suffering from mental illness in the US. In fact mental health care is basically non-existent unless you are rich . I could write more awful stuff, but just want to wish you well and urge you to sue, just for the principle of it.

carpediem.modusoperandi
carpediem.modusoperandi
3 years ago

I am Russian, and I totally absolutely agree with your every word. I was shocked to see the attitude of NHS workers when I first came in to GP with a health issue. Comparing how Moscow doctors are dealing with COVID cases: my two cousins are the citizens of Ukraine, and to get the treatment through the Russian National Healthcare system you first have to register and get the Healthcare number assigned to you. Both of my cousins got COVID, and one of them didn’t have this registration in place: so while accelerating the registration which would have made it possible to treat her as an inpatient, the doctors and nurses were taking her from her home in Moscow to the nearest COVID dedicated hospital EVERY DAY with the A&E car. I think this scenario for NHS would be like opening a branch in another galaxy.

The problem I personally had was extremely irritated eye corneal, so as a foreigner on my first time hospital visit I didn’t know I shouldn’t go to GP with this matter. An officially polite gentleman had a quick look and said he can’t help me because they don’t have equipment. When I have asked where I should go or whom I should call, as I was a foreigner with no knowledge of the system and could barely open one of my eyes, he said: “Sorry, we can’t help you with any information. You may go”. The door is there, basically. I was terrified, desperate, and tried to ask for any assistance from the reception, when I had basically crawled there with no eyesight leaning to the walls. Everyone gave me an annoyed: “Sorry, goodbye, thank you, welcome, door is there, yay” stuff. I managed to call the taxi with the help of a stranger and went to the local Specsavers where I first was told off again by the receptionist, but then the doctor recognized me because I had bought contact lenses there and said: “We can’t leave you in that condition. Let me check your eyesight and see what we should do next”. That was for free actually. So a doctor in Specsavers was more humane than wooden smiles in the local GP practice seeing me as merely a nuisance and for whatever God’s sake reason unwilling at least to point their “overworked” fingers the direction where I should go. GPs don’t have a habit to help as a rule, if it’s not their concern, the a&ole may be dead for what they care? No permit to call 999? No permit to say “find a kind stranger and ask him to call 111 or 999, you blind useless crap?” Interesting bureaucracy. More like humane iciness and no empathy to the living. I would understand if it was towards a foreigner, because alright, I was taking a legitimate place if someone who deserves it more, though I do work in UK, but ok, we have in Russia as well, I do get that. But allbthe rest of the stories were concerning 100% brits, I would say it’s a plan to cut the population heads no matter the passport, but that would have been too cruel.

All the following experiences with GP led me to the idea, that I can easily work as a GP in such a couple of centuries back Healthcare standards and concern for people’s wellbeing. I will just tell everyone, with broken necks, half dead or with severe pain: “Drink water and pray. And come back in 2 months if you still can, we’ll see what may be done. You can of course call reception again if you feel worse and pass all the Dante’s circles again to convince you need our phonecall”. Voila, I am a GP! The best of them, I assume. Guessing the illness over the phone without even seeing a patient: another Merlin’s magic pattern. Good if after a discussion with a doctor you are actually invited to at least present your hurting intestines or bones for examination. The problem was to pass the reception (that matter improved, I can say in the past years, but all the other aspects still scare me off). Because those voices over the phone could easily dissmiss you easily as a “you’re alright, no GP time needed”. And if GP even sees you: fever for over a month? Severe abdominal pain? “Well, maybe it’s NORMAL FOR YOU?”. Like, what?! Are you being serious, sorry? Or are you kidding? Well, maybe it’s normal for me to be in pain, just doesn’t seem nice even to inhumane creatures with wooden smiles and automated answering machines where mouth is supposed to be located. Stories I heard from neighbours, antacids for a year to someone who has been brushed aside for a year with “ibs ptobably” and died of stomach cancer that could have been treated probably if caught a year before. A dismissal of a teen girl with abdominal pains and nausea with “some girly diets, you should just eat smth, and drink water of course drink water, drink water, water, drink water”. After a year when she wasn’t able to eat anything for 3 days throwing everything up: oh, actually it was Crohn’s disease. Surprise surprise, water didn’t solve the case. Bad water it was for sure. Delays of a 10 minutes talk with a requested consultant for a year? 365 days to try to find 10 min? Doctors and nurses waving off the need for anaesthesia to a girl who was giving birth and was begging for it. She received a hug and holding her hand. Erm. Which is awesome, empathetic, great, but, am I missing something here?. Have you heard of anaesthesia, or it’s all witchcraft and shouldn’t be trusted as much as water? The answer after complain was: “She didn’t seem as she needed anaesthesia. She was so quiet”. Well, did you check her pulse?. I would rename them into “Agency for PTSD implementation in public” and the slogan could be: “Frustration. Despair. Hopelessness. Dead end in the face of pain. Ailment. Suffering. Or worse.You can rely on us to give you the best motivation to boost your career and earn much more money for private healthcare. Even if you thought you couldn’t even walk”. And then be like *wink!* Or a more positive version of ad. “Doctor, it hurts when I lift my arm up” – “So don’t lift your arm up then! Next!”

And yes, complaints.. Complain and be afraid you won’t receive even that poor service next time, so even slightest hope to feel healthy and better one day dissapears in the thin air? Nope. Because they have power over you and your health. And you will be referred back to that person you complained about, and then you won’t get even those further analyses you could have got if you hadn’t p#ed the person in power off. Monopoly over your health, life and ultimately death leads to the only decision: run. Protect the NHS from annoying, always appallingly ill, rudely complaining creatures called “patients”.

Well, ok, sorry, but UK is not the 1st world country in this respect, sorry to be blunt. Like 3rd world not more. I am surprised you guys are still alive in such an amount on this amazing green beautiful island from pure lack of empathy, trust and attention to the ill as well as, sorry, incompetence and lack of judgement skills, which are crucial for healthcare. Like cornerstone. I honestly thought that only people with strong constitution from a won natural selection were alive, because everyone who was unable to survive without any help, just had died already from “natural causes” that could have been prevented. When COVID started, I was sure there would have been loads of deaths, as everywhere in the world, but here, I was terrified the treatment would have been too late, too misjudged, too “oh they’re just complainers with low morale”, sad to say, I am awefully dramatically sorry to say that, but a great strong country like UK needs to face the elephant in the room. I thought only those who would have had survived even without medical help would live. You can’t treat COVID with lots of water. Nor being blind, deaf and indifferent to the ill, and vexed by the ill. That just doesn’t work like that, ask anyone. So I am terrified to get COVID, I am terrified to be in the hands of NHS. I paid for the best insurance I could afford just to avoid wooden smiles and total medieval incompetence. Probably would have been only at the 1st steps, who knows how long of a delay I would need to die? I don’t need to watch horror movies. I have better things to scare me.

P.S. Private service is very expensive but great and 10000% quicker and more humane. And yes, I pay for private GP myself, yes, a lot per visit, but insurance scheme with “convince NHS that you need referreal, because constant pain and no eyesight is not normal for you” is not for me, I am too old, sorry. I do clap to nhs, I know there are great overloaded, very tired, sincere and compassionate people with perfect skills in NHS. I was just unlucky to have never encountered them, bit I trust they do exist. And those who survived and got to the doctors and surgeons they need: they do live on. Just not everyone reached the lucky room before the God’s whistle to finish the race. A year is a huge time of “grace”. Sorry for being so blunt, but honestly, I am happy you are talking about it. It needs to change. It’s worse than in Russia, does it not perplex anyone?! It needs to be changed to a service that will be useful, not just “with or without it, makes no difference most of the time”.

Aden Wellsmith
Aden Wellsmith
3 years ago

So what’s the solution? The NHS is a Beveridge system [another left wing Eugenicist]. The best systems in the world are Bismark systems.
Germany, Netherlands and Switzerland.

Now on costs, remember all the costs for the NHS exclude the treat now pay later costs of pensions. For Bismark systems, the customer doesn’t have that liability.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Aden Wellsmith

Germany spends more money! That means that the British citizens (directly or indirectly) have to spend more money.

Aden Wellsmith
Aden Wellsmith
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

Switzerland, last time I calculated it was round about the same. But I suspect you are looking at numbers that ignore the pay later costs pensions.

Go to a website for insurance in Switzerland, say http://www.swica.ch. Get a quote. Compare that against the UK but include those pension costs. 30% on top of the current costs.

Turns out that they are broadly similar and CH is one of the most expensive countries to live in.

Remember too. No one personally pays for health care in GDP. They pay in £, $, …

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

In all the countries mentioned by Aden, everyone has to buy health insurance. I know. I have lived in Germany and the Netherlands.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Again, British citizens directly (buy insurance) or indirectly (NHS and taxation) will have to spend more .

Stephen J
Stephen J
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

Measuring percentages does not give an accurate account.

However, if you just want to judge the various systems in that way, the German and other European systems cost between 11 and 12% GDP, whilst the British system is closer to 9%.

The system used in Singapore costs 2.5%, and is judged to be one of the best in class, it also manages social care in that measurement, which the NHS does not touch.

It is also in the interests of the British government (as with all governments) to sell their goods on the basis of how cheap they are, in order to save taxpayer’s money.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Stephen J

My stats are based on internationally accepted metrics. If you have better metrics show us.
Singapore spends 4.4% of GDP (Gov) + private spending.
Again, either you pay directly (insurance) or indirectly (taxation)

Stephen J
Stephen J
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

It is all private spending, except perhaps the QE element.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Stephen J

No, half comes from government transfers.

And UK is a not a semi-authoritarian city state .

Stephen J
Stephen J
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

Judging by the last few months the permanent state that is the UK looks increasingly more like a full authoritarian administration, complete with globalist (nation destroying) intentions and goals.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Stephen J

Empty words.

Stephen J
Stephen J
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

You are full of them.

Bob Green
Bob Green
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

If you took your rusty old car to the garage for the umpteenth time and were told yet again that the cost to repair it was astronomic, would you perhaps think that spending your money on a new modern model would be a better way to go?
Germany spends its money more efficiently.
.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Bob Green

Your analogy is pointless. Better healthcare costs more money. You either pay directly (insurance German style) or indirectly (NHS) but the results is the same: more money = better care.
No one is pushing for more private healthcare.
350M to NHS not private insurance.

D Glover
D Glover
3 years ago
Reply to  Bob Green

I notice that the people who defend the NHS model are the same people who praised the German response to covid, and blamed us for not doing so well.

Andrew Anderson
Andrew Anderson
3 years ago

Henry Jeffreys should complain. Without this feedback things won’t improve. A few years ago my wife’s aunt was in hospital (the Good Hope in Birmingham). My wife was there a lot. The care was mediocre; some of the staff should never have been allowed into a caring profession. Lots of small things wrong, with a lack of compassion and attention to detail – and of course communication was awful. When my aunt got home she asked my wife to write a letter to the hospital. “Good”, I said. “They want you to complain on their behalf”. Not a bit of it: they wanted to thank the hospital for its care. That sums up much of the deferential British attitude to the NHS.

I’ve read a few articles by practising doctors highlighting the way parts of the NHS responded during the pandemic, making changes in hours that would usually have taken months to implement. We need that can do attitude to be maintained and encouraged.

Stephen Follows
Stephen Follows
3 years ago

In fairness, I think he’s just complained in a much more effective way than going through the official channels.

titan0
titan0
3 years ago

Sociopaths eventually run most things of a high risk, high value nature. That needs looking at.
I’ve passed legal liability to my CEO, the company secretary etc. And refused to act unlawfully. Told them to do it, sign off etc.
They couldn’t give a toss. Probably didn’t have the nous to even comprehend the risks of imprisonment they believed they were shielded from by employing professionals that had codes of conduct with legal penalties for non compliance.
Trouble is, you do what you’re required to do and report it to government agencies or your professional body to protect yourself but nothing happens.
I’ve even had the police financial crime unit state that NHS financial documents I passed to them, all claiming to be the original, were prima facie evidence of forgery and massive fraud but that it would take two officers a year just to learn the processes used by the NHS, to enable an enlightened investigation to begin.
Everyone cops included, reach for the low hanging fruit and so, look at least as if they are working well.

Tim Gee
Tim Gee
3 years ago

“We spend 9.6% GDP Germany spends about 11.5% -so its not miles different.”
If you add up all of the multimillions ££that the NHS and various associated bodies gets from the multitude of charities that the country seem to think will fix the problem, id hazard a guess its probably higher! In my experience No-one seems to have any interest in doing anything more than getting to end of their shifts- this daft lionisation of the NHS has made the problems even worse – whisper it however there are millions of nursing and doctor and cleaners and cooks and ambulance “heros” all over the world that do wonderful things about saving lives every every day

Seb Dakin
Seb Dakin
3 years ago

I live in Japan and the healthcare system here is both cheap and comes with almost no waiting time. I needed a knee operation – chose the specialist I wanted to go to, paid the equivalent of 45 quid for an MRI, chose the day for my operation and the whole treatment came in under 200 pounds (the rest obviously paid for by the national insurance). Last time I was a burden on the NHS was for a broken leg and it involved hours lying on a gurney in a corridor. The reason people constantly compare the NHS to the American system is that the latter is the one healthcare system in a properly developed country that is worse. I completely agree that healthcare is one thing a state should ensure citizens have access to, but there are better ways to do it, and better outcomes to be had when you do.

jim payne
jim payne
3 years ago

I was self employed all my working (50 years). I was also the Boss! employing 4 or 5 guys none of whom could run the business. I took out Private Health Care about 40 years ago and when I retired my wife and I decided it would be the last thing we gave up.
I haven’t had to use it, but my wife has on three occasions.
Appointment, Surgery within a few days and home.
NHS! To many “Experts” running it. Waiting for fat pensions and a lump sum. Hardly any comebacks on their incompetence. Trying to keep their empires intact.
Nursing staff mainly fine, Office Wallahs naff. Starting with miserable Doctors Receptionists.

Stephen J
Stephen J
3 years ago

The NHS was a good idea in 1940, however it morphed into a subset of the communist manifesto by the time the Labour Party had corrupted the 1940 recommendations.

Which is just like everything that Labour have done… For instance, the skill shown by Blair when he corrupted our youth by telling them that they were entitled to tertiery education. In one swell foop our youth was turned from young adulthood, to endless childishness, with huge debts toboot.

Kill the Labour party and gradually the nation will recover, even with the NHS in charge.

Oh and… It is Barts or St. Bartholomews, rather than St. Barts.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Stephen J

“…For instance, the skill shown by Blair when he corrupted our youth by telling them that they were entitled to tertiery education.”
LOL
Ever since Prussians invented public education we have seen an ever expansion of public access to higher education.
There is a strong argument to be made in favor of technical education (German style) but that would not help UK much.

Stephen J
Stephen J
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

So you believe that our youth, including the vast majority for whom structured tertiery education is but a very poor substitute for direct training in a chosen discipline?

I didn’t realise that Prussians invented English education? I thought that was more to do with conservative constructs like the mediaeval church.

When the first children began to attend those public schools, it was a choice between sending them to Prussia, or setting up our own schools… I don’t think so.

As for Blair, he managed to achieve similar success with his reformation of the HOL, which went just as well. He is a better magician than David Nixon.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Stephen J

“Our evidence appears to show that our industrial classes have not even that basis of sound general education on which alone technical education can rest. In fact, our deficiency is not merely a deficiency in technical education, but in general intelligence.”
Royal Commission 1868.

Stephen J
Stephen J
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

Your comments are based on political myopia.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Stephen J

My comments are based on historical facts, your comment is based on political ranting (hence you bang on about communism).

Stephen J
Stephen J
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

There it is, I have hit paydirt.

Protect the NHS = Protect Marxist ideology.

You made the connection that I just hinted at.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

Hence the Education Act of 1870?

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

c.25% of Brits (aged 18-25) are functionally illiterate and innumerate.
It is c.12% in Germany.

Check out OECD stats for more details (as of 2016) and be “impressed”.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

I am impressed by the German figure, presumably most of the 12% are ‘Gastarbeiter?
As for the UK, this was predicted years ago, with the destruction of the Grammar Schools and the triumph of Comprehensive Education.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

Most likely yes, the Turks.
Southern/Eastern Europeans (Italians, Yugoslavs, Spaniards, Greeks) are very well integrated in Germany.
Greeks on average outperform the Germans. (education, wealth, income).
Max Planck institute for demographic has the stats – for more details.

Stephen J
Stephen J
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

At last, we agree on something.

We both seem to oppose multiculturalism.

We had that forced on us throughout the back end of the 20th C here, whilst many Europeans insisted that their immigrants act like Germans/Europeans, and restrict their old ways to the home.

The result is that more immigrants to this country than elsewhere remain completely detached from their new territory. Don’t learn the language or adopt any of their host’s customs.

Robert Cannon
Robert Cannon
3 years ago
Reply to  Stephen J

Is there not an issue here that some of the British customs as they are now in 2020, rather than as they were in say 1960, are not so positive things for immigrants to adopt?

I could give many examples, but looking at primary and secondary education, on average pupils from immigrant backgrounds outperform, and in some cases significantly outperform, white British pupils. The reasons are fairly obvious: more likely to come from intact family backgrounds and more likely to believe in the value of education for economic progress.

If 25% of 18-25 year olds in Britain are functionally illiterate then I would be very surprised if the illiteracy rate among white British is materially lower than that among those from ethnic minorities who have been raised in the U.K. Those from ethnic minorities often speak and write another language fluently in addition to English: whether hindi, urdu, French, Yoruba or Polish.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

That is very interesting about the Greeks.Thanks

Stephen J
Stephen J
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

Surely that is due to the success of multiculturalism?

The more that it is indulged, the higher the percentage of illiterate and innumerate… We even have them at senior levels of the political parties.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Stephen J

Multiculturalism (in a pan European sense) is not an issue. If (say) Denmark sinks tomorrow and you dump 5M Danes in Spain or Italy nothing bad is going to happen to those countries. I would argue that both could use a bit of Lutheran ethic. (And Danes are very good looking people, it will definitely improve the gene pool.)
5M Somalis is a different matter.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

“Prussia invented public education”,
what a wonderfully provocative remark. No doubt the miasmic view from your charming Counting House?

Well, we could waste time on what is, or is not, ‘ public education’, but frankly even I as an Englishman, have to admit that wee little Scotland had excellent public education, long before the Kingdom of Prussia was established.

Then off course there is that precious jewel, nestling in the shadow of Windsor Castle, and founded in 1440.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

Schools have existed forever, the modern public education system is a Prussian invention. It is one of those facts (sea is wet, the sun is worm) that no one questions…aside from you.
Learning (read about it) is not a waste of time.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

“sun is worm”.(sic). Were you educated in Prussia by chance?

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

Good catch

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

Thanks, no malice intended, but it was, as I’m sure you will agree, irresistible!

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

Hence I wrote Good catch.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

Reluctantly I must maintain that wee little Scotland got there first. The Education Act of 1496, and the Kirk system of the 16th century. (read about it, as you say).

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

What you are trying to annunciate is state funded, compulsory education is it not? Even then, I think the Scotch got there first.

However let us be generous and award Prussia the prize. Where did it get them? Total oblivion, literally wiped off the map of Europe. Well done indeed.

Even the wretched Bavarians, the incubator of Nazism, along with Austria, did better.

Aden Wellsmith
Aden Wellsmith
3 years ago

The avoidable death toll in the NHS is 12,000 a year. That’s the NHS’s most likely estimate

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

How long before the NHS spends more on compensation than it does on treating people? Probably about 10 or 20 years based on the current figures.

katherine.radcliffe
katherine.radcliffe
3 years ago

Ever since my gp refused to refer me to the dermatologist to have what might have been a second skin cancer lesion looked at, I’ve been paying privately where possible. I’m not wealthy but I can afford to see a specialist for a consultation (and that specialist can refer me back to the NHS should I need tests or treatments I can’t afford.) Why fight for physiotherapy or menopause treatment when I can just pay for it?

Simon Burch
Simon Burch
3 years ago

Thank you, Henry, for saying what has become almost unsayable. The fact that we can’t have a reasoned debate about about future health provision in the UK is such a sad indictment of our political discourse.

Eamon Downes
Eamon Downes
3 years ago

Have had similar, very, very troubling experiences with my daughter; yet it was always heresy to criticise the system that is “the [supposed] envy of the world”.

Italy is by no means perfect – no surprise there – but there is a level of private healthcare provision that takes the pressure off the public system. For example, if you need a blood test then it can be quickly and reasonably done for ñ‚¬10-20 and for those that can afford it, and prefer to pay for the convenience of speed, it works.

Lot of stuff I have had done, including MRI scans, at an affordable price. I remember in London the options were pretty much NHS or an extortionate fee.

Lee Johnson
Lee Johnson
3 years ago

How strange.
The free-speech website knows as Unherd has deleted all the comments from yesterday. Why ?

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Lee Johnson

Those who made them are currently in “close arrest ” in the Tower of London, awaiting trial for Treason and Heresy.
Both Capital charges.

Richard
Richard
3 years ago

An awful story and one which rings true. The chances of the voters in Britain taking stock and realising that they’re being short changed, over taxed for, and poorly served by the NHS are slim. The models which run with insurance in all other countries in Europe which include a back-up for those who can’t pay show superior health services than the service offered by the NHS. It’s a political sacred cow and has been so for far too long. Time for the abattoir.

Lucy Smex
Lucy Smex
3 years ago

From Pulse online magazine:

Hospital has ‘closed its doors’ to patients, LMC warns NHS England

GP leaders have written to NHS England to demand that an NHS hospital trust urgently restores routine referrals as it has ‘closed its doors’ to some patients, ‘destabilising’ practices in the process.

Oxfordshire LMC said local GPs are ‘concerned and angry’ about the ‘ongoing closure’ to routine referrals across multiple ‘high-demand’ specialties by Oxford University Hospital Foundation Trust, while warning GPs are also being asked to carry out tests that should be done in hospital.

A ‘significant’ number of specialties are affected, including ENT, general gynaecology, dermatology, ophthalmology, endoscopy and urology, as well as plastics and maxillofacial, it added.

The hospital trust said it had remained open for urgent and emergency care and was accepting clinically urgent and suspected cancer referrals, while reinstating services to support ‘the vast majority’ of routine referrals.

In April, NHS England told GPs to continue referring patients to secondary care despite restrictions on elective care due to Covid-19.

Last month, it outlined that trusts must make their e-referrals service ‘fully open’ to GPs.

But Oxfordshire LMC has this week written to NHS England and the council of governors at OUHFT to demand that there are ‘no further delays’ in restoring the services amid concerns of ‘patient harm’.

It said: ‘The LMC believes the continuing closure of some specialty services to routine referrals is now so serious for patients that it has taken a decision to formally raise the concerns of Oxfordshire’s GPs with NHS England.’

Oxon LMC chair Dr Raman Nijjar added that GPs are being asked to carry out tests that ‘should be done in hospital’ and are ‘unable to progress a patient’s care in the way they wish’ because services remain closed.

He said: ‘The reopening of these services for routine referrals is now urgently needed.

‘This disturbing situation at Oxford University Hospitals must not continue as it’s causing anxiety to patients and also having a deeply destabilising effect on local doctors’ surgeries.’

Joint chief executive of the regional LMCs Dr Matt Mayer added that the trust’s position ‘appears to be at odds with the national picture, which sees most hospitals again accepting all routine patient referrals’.

The LMC added that it is ‘understandable and a necessity’ that hospitals have had to focus on urgent unplanned care due to the coronavirus pandemic.

‘But our biggest local hospital cannot effectively close its doors on some of its patients for many months and give up on some of its healthcare duties in this respect,’ it said.

In a joint statement from OUHT and Oxfordshire CCG, the organisations said: ‘Throughout the pandemic, OUH was able to treat Covid-19 patients by asking staff to move from their normal activities to support affected patients. OUH remained open for emergency and urgent care, but in line with the rest of the UK routine and elective procedures were stopped.

‘During Covid-19, OUH continued to accept clinically urgent and suspected cancer referrals from GPs, and continued to carry out urgent and emergency treatment.

‘OUH is now able to reinstate services to support the vast majority of routine referrals, including plastic surgery and urology. GPs can continue to make routine referrals across all specialties, but some areas in high demand will see patients seen and treated outside of OUH.’

They added: ‘Patient and staff safety is an absolute priority for us, and we need to reinstate services in a safe and effective way.’

It comes as health secretary Matt Hancock this month signalled that he wants GPs to continue to consult patients who would typically be seen in secondary care ““ with specialist help ““ after the Covid-19 pandemic comes to an end.

Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, GPs have warned that they are managing more patients ‘outside their comfort zone’ due to increased ‘workload dumping’ from secondary care services.

Last month, an audit by the Royal College of Physicians revealed some specialties could take up to two years to clear their referral backlog ““ following similar concerns raised by GPs in Liverpool.

And GP leaders warned that hospitals rendered ‘untouchable’ by coronavirus measures were still rejecting around 75% of referrals and ‘reverse delegating’ patients back to their GPs.

At the beginning of the pandemic, NHS England had acknowledged that there would be reduced capacity in secondary care but said that GPs should continue to refer.”

The GPs are extremely unhappy about all this.
Several have commented that the hospitals are getting paid whether they see patients or not, so they’re not seeing patients, just bouncing referrals back to GPs. This is all going on with the express approval of the Health Minister, Matt Hancock.
No more face-to-face GP consultations. GPs can’t get patients referred to hospital. And now patients have to call 111 to book an emergency appointment at A/E.
I don’t know about anyone else here, but I certainly didn’t clap for the NHS. That was clearly a political campaign to divert attention and criticism at what the NHS was doing from March onwards.

Niobe H
Niobe H
3 years ago

THANK YOU for this article! As a foreigner living in London, I always feel crazy when I hear people saying phrases such as “national treasure” and “incredible” and NHS in the same sentence. “But but but it is free!”.
Yep, they act like the US and UK systems are the only healthcare systems in the world. Newsflash: most countries in the EU have awesome healthcare systems that are free at the point of use.
I am from Eastern Europe, lived in 4 countries in Europe and the British system is definitely the worst I have encountered.
Most of my encounters with the NHS were incredibly substandard.
All of my friends joke that if you go to a British GP, you just get paracetamol 90 percent of the time.
As a result, I have both private dental insurance, private health insurance and online GP service. Unfortunately, I cannot avoid the NHS fully. I am currently pregnant and the antenatal care has been so bad I ended up paying a lot of money for a private midwife.
In the UK, you get a few very short meetings with a midwife (never saw the same one twice) and 2 scans in total. In the Czech Republic, you always see the same doctor and nurse. They spend as much time with you as you need and you see them every 4 weeks from the 6th week of your pregnancy, every 2 weeks after 28th week and every week after week 35. Ultrasound is done at most appointments. The doctor and nurse are your single point of contact for everything – they do all tests (even pakd ones such as the Harmony test), prescribe all medicine etc. You can call them if you have any worries and arrange extra appointments really easily.
And all is free at the point of use!!
Even the NHS website cites a research that says that a scan at 36 weeks pregnant is important because half of breech babies are missed by midwives. Does it mean you get it on the NHS? No, you need to DYI and book a private scan.

In the UK, I had a few minor issues which would be non issues in a normal country, but they took dozens of hours of my time and caused me a lot of stress:
1) Minor UTI: midwife sent sample to the lab and received a report saying I need antibiotics. Simple, right? Not at all. It took me 4 days, many calls and 3 pharmacy visits to get the damn prescription. Midwife can’t prescribe antibiotics, so she asked my GP to do it. GP lost the report twice. Each time I had to spend 1-2 hours calling the surgery. Then it’s a day of waiting for a callback – good luck if you have to work and can’t pick up, because you will be back to calling the reception for the next hour!!! GP prescribed antibiotics that pharmacists refused to give me because it’s apparently not suitable for pregnant women (!!!). Pharmacist tried to call GP whilst I was at the pharmacy – no success because they did not have 2 hours. In desperation, I tried calling the private online GP (They told me they can’t treat UTI in pregnancy because it is urgent and I need to see someone in person HAHA) and then went to the GP surgery in person (doctors were apparently busy and they told me to call the next day!!!! They also could not provide another number for the pharmacist to call the doctor directly and scoffed at me for suggesting the doctor might have messed up) After many more calls, I finally got the right prescription. The system absolutely disregards the patient and their time.
2) Face to face appointments are very few and far between as well as super short. The midwives are nice, but the diagnostic tools are worth a 3rd world country. Why can’t they send you to an ultrasound to check if the baby is developing well? Answer: it costs money! Also, the growth chart says the measure should be taken every 2-3 weeks to be representative, but I went 6 weeks without seeing the NHS midwife at 30+ weeks pregnant. At one point, the belly measured small – cue me spending maaany hours trying to reach the ultrasound department during my working hours…
3) I had low iron levels and asked to be retested to see if I need to take iron pills again as they cause upset stomach – nope, they will only test me at 38 weeks. I had a private test and of course, my iron was low.
4) I had to have another bacteria test for done. GP took 17 (!!!!) days to deliver the results.

I love living in London, but I am at a point where I am doubting if it is worth staying in the UK. My husband and I are high taxpayers, we contribute a lot and yet have to pay privately for everything to receive a healthcare level similar to what we experienced in continental EU.
I am scared of having a true health emergency.

John Stone
John Stone
3 years ago

I don’t know how you stop any system going wrong – I agree with the objective of ‘free at the point of delivery’. I have been very well treated in recent years but many terrible memories in relation to older members of my family, and when I was a child. Private medicine has many horrors too.

Zhirayr Nersessian
Zhirayr Nersessian
3 years ago

The NHS is merely an extension of the welfare state

Paul Morrell
Paul Morrell
3 years ago

I had an accident on holiday – tripped and fell – nobody’s fault – and ruptured my left eye. The ambulance managed to find me where I was staying (in the middle of nowhere) at 3am in the morning. I was quickly patched up and operated on 7 hours later. The surgeon managed to glue the eye together. Of course, my sight in that eye was lost irretrievably – how could it be otherwise? Six months later I was fitted with a prosthetic – indistinguishable from a living eye. All for free. Life goes on as normal. That’s the awful NHS for you.

Kathryn Richards
Kathryn Richards
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul Morrell

For every story like yours there are dozens like the above.
Because they are exemplary a part of the time is no reason to lionise them.

pedanticjase
pedanticjase
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul Morrell

Yes that’s literially what we are all paying taxes for.

I think most people can tell you atleast one story about a time when the NHS hasn’t been excelent. I’m sure your doctor was great and that most are trying their best but in situations where diagnosis has to occur you’re often waiting weeks for each specialist appointment.

unconcurrentinconnu
unconcurrentinconnu
3 years ago

Just to add that the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford had a terrible reputation in the 1990s when I lived in Kent. Nothing has changed.

Deirdre RYAN
Deirdre RYAN
3 years ago

Australia has many problems with its Medical “Practitioners and Hospitals. The Complaint system is truly a joke. Despite giving new labels to various Complaint dep’t, etc., the culture gets worse. Doctors training is woeful and many people diagnose and self-treat, and /or tell the Dr which tests and Meds they need.

When I asked a Dr who was having problems with this wifes treatments, “WHY don’t you (Doctors dos oemthing about this” his reply “It would take years to fix it”. RUBBISH, its also about teh strangehold that Big Pharma has on Drs training, Pharmacies etc., started in the 1980s when Universitiies could accept funding from outside sources.

Now in the UK and so many countries Big Pharma control the Agenda(s). Professors paid to sprout forth at the Big Pharma COnferences etc., I read where BMJ years ago said that Drs were to be paid an extra 30 pounds for every Dementia patient they diagnosed?? tehy wre already being paid a salary. And so many Signs & Symptoms overlap, the mind boggles.

Ben Lovegrove
Ben Lovegrove
3 years ago

The NHS haemorrhages money through inefficiency, theft, fraud, incompetence, protectionism, failed IT projects, questionable job roles, loss of equipment, missed appointments, funding of projects overseas, and legal bills.

Curious Explorer
Curious Explorer
3 years ago

30 years ago when I was studying to be a Dentist a consultant told me ” You dont understand my motivation I didn’t become a consultant to treat people I became a consultant to treat rare conditions” Like many people I have had good and bad experiences. Incredible care when my son was diagnosed with a brain tumour, complete indifference when my father in law was admitted to hospital with a fracture whose treatment was complicated by his dementia. Without my wife, who was a nurse, he would never have been fed or washed. Ultimately it appears you rely on individuals who see you as a person not an illness for a good experience. Any sense that there is a deep ingrained culture of caring is hard to detect. It may not need complete dismantling but it needs bringing into the 21st Century and not operate as if it was still the 1950s

William Harvey
William Harvey
3 years ago

The biggest lie of all is that it is “free”.

I find it incredible that British people still believe it to be so. When i lived in the UK I used to tell people that it isn’t free and that in fact you just pay up front, whether you need the care or not. They’d often stare at me in stunned disbelief, rather like a flat earther on hearing that the world is indeed spherical. IMHO .. The NHS isn’t a “service” its a religion.
Its something people “believe” in without question and if you question it you are a heretic.

Maybe some of this comes from the UK always comparing to America and believing that
” at least you dont have to pay like they do in America”. Personally i think its so badly broken that its impossible to fix ..until the UK suffers an economic collapse of biblical proportions. who knows maybe the combined efforts of BOJO, Covid and Brexit will bring that about. if it does I’m not sure its a price worth paying

Drew
Drew
3 years ago

[… ]our experiences are not unusual, so why do so many British people regard the National Health Sservice [sic] as something close to a religion? Well, it’s there at the most critical moments in our lives: births, illnesses and death.

From across the pond, in the deep South, it is difficult to understand how a smart, observant people like the Brits can’t understand the very simple premise of the quotation above. Birth, illness and death are intensely personal situations in unique wrappings (the human body). How any enlightened people could think a system, which is so overly bloated and does nothing but separate an individual physician from his singular patient, is mind blowing. There is no overarching system which can address the unique, personal needs of an individual. It must be done one-on-one.

Medicine cannot be practiced ethically by treating people as a herd.

Although we, over here, understand that health, illness, birth or death are solely individual, the problem is we’ve adopted the NHS ‘jobs program’ model for hospital bureaucrats as well.
(Large voting blocs magically arise from these bureaucratic parasites. Imagine!) Even though these ‘box checkers’ don’t generally get in the way of a doctor and his patient, they have driven costs beyond comprehension. (Which, in a sarcastic way, is okay, for a while, if you’re running the world financials through reserver currency status. But everyone here knows that’s only a matter of a decade, or less, before it changes.)

dalrymplesdisciple
dalrymplesdisciple
3 years ago

Trying to compare the NHS with other systems is comparing apples with oranges. I work for it and am far more critical than other colleagues allow themselves to be. However, you’ve taken two (shocking) examples, when of course other systems have other bad examples.

The wife’s American family – middle class, I’ll wager – may well find it all “baffling”, but I find it equally baffling that people can be bankrupted in the US by the bad luck of happening to fall ill. Or that, for example, an old lady has to wait weeks for the pain relieving steroid joint injection her doctor knows she needs because the insurance company have to approve it first. The US spend over twice what we do on healthcare – that certain well off people can return to see the same doctor if they’re worried about something is hardly a triumph.

As for Eastern Europeans getting everything at the click of a finger, it’s true – because it’s private. Almost every NHS doctor will have a recent story of Eastern European patients trying to demand completely unnecessary and in some cases harmful treatment, surgery or investigations because “they’d do this for me in (Romania or wherever)”, simply because the more the doctors can come up with to request or recommend, the more they get paid. Go to the doctors with a cough for a week? Chest X-Ray. Never mind the number of people you’re irradiating in the process. This is where the “GP missed my…” stories come from; amongst many things, GPs are gatekeepers. Everyone with any symptom could be sent for a whole body scan every time, couldn’t they?! But at huge expense, and minimal benefit. Still, it would catch those unfortunate cases where a cough *was* cancer. You can’t have everything.

In my opinion, the NHS doesn’t need some vast reform or overhaul – it is the informal network or clinically skilled individuals who keep the NHS at its current flawed level of safety. Destroy that, and it really will be dangerous. But what it needs to do is admit that it is a state provider, and as such, is rationed. It should therefore try and do the basics well, and not try and be all-encompassing. If you want the very latest tech or treatment for your rare disease, pay a top-up insurance premium. No one should have to pay to give birth safely or have their appendix taken out, but likewise, Bevan never considered that we’d be spending hundreds of thousands for one person to have gamma knife therapy on some rare cancer. Universal basic cover, top-ups for those who want it/can afford it.

ccauwood
ccauwood
3 years ago

The NHS is run by accountants and politicians who employ IT, medics and facilities management companies. IT know nothing of medicine. Medics know little of IT. Accountants and politicians know zero of either. They all get on very well at the Xmas party. Like BA and passengers, the NHS have one fly in the ointment; patients with relatively non urgent symptoms. I had a fairly complicated bit of surgery recently. All went well until I was put on a general ward. Dreadful. Two words; computers and (no) Matron.

William Cameron
William Cameron
3 years ago
Reply to  ccauwood

IT ? The NHS still uses fax machines and its IT is hopeless.

Kathryn Richards
Kathryn Richards
3 years ago

They still use pagers.

Martin W
Martin W
3 years ago

I’ve worked in and around the NHS for nearly 40 years and watched it
get steadily worse, but more and more deified. But the worst thing is, I
don’t believe I can say so in public. If I mention it to friends, they
turn on me. I think I was the only person in the street not clapping
for the NHS, and I had to manufacture excuses not to be around so I
didn’t have to deal with the consequences.

How can anybody worship a service responsible for so many unnecessarydeaths, due to incompetence? See
https://www.independent.co….
or google “The Report of the Morecambe Bay Investigation” for examples.

It’s been on the verge of collapse for years. The sooner it collapses, the better for everyone.

The sooner it collapses, the better for everybody.

dandj26
dandj26
3 years ago

My wife was a Sister in the ITU of a Central London teaching hospital. She was talking to a workman, who told her that he had never seen so many people doing so little. The people shuffling about with a piece of paper were legion.
I had a temporary job in the NHS, and was advised that if I wanted a full time job it would be available. I was further told that by working just hard enough to make my boss worry I could apply for promotion and be confident of getting it in another department. By repeating this the sky was the limit. This I doubt, but the head of transport for the trust had been a bus driver and had a sandwich round, this was the limit of his qualification, even he could barely contain his mirth.

Joe Smith
Joe Smith
3 years ago

It’s been obvious to me for a long time that the core problem with the NHS is that it’s run by government.

Olaf Felts
Olaf Felts
3 years ago
Reply to  Joe Smith

Not being critical of your post Joe – but being run? A bit of a oxymoron I would suggest.

Della Reynolds
Della Reynolds
3 years ago

When you or a member of your family suffer at the hands of the NHS your eyes are opened to the failings of this organisation. If you have the temerity to make a complaint you will suffer the consequences. The NHS or rather their legal team will lose your data, put blatant lies into writing and discredit you personally if you continue in your pursuit of justice and accountability. You can read more real-life stories in a book compiled by a citizen-led group who are campaigning for reform of the Health Service Ombudsman. Read it before you complain – it could save you a lot of time and heartache. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Wh

Amanda Whittaker
Amanda Whittaker
3 years ago

It’s about time conversations are being started about how dire our Health System is. It hasn’t evolved since it’s inception. If you think about it, it’s just a Nationalised Industry and we know what happened to those.

We’re told it’s a free, egalitarian system – the only one in the whole world – and we should be proud.

Personally I’m not proud. I’m angry. I feel quite literally ‘conned’. Told all through my life (b1945) that the NHS was free and would be there from cradle to grave. As I approach the grave part of the deal, I find (and I know we’re in the middle of a pandemic – but said pandemic has really shown the NHS up in its incompetency), that I can’t see a GP for love nor money – actually that’s not true, I can pay to see a consultant privately and get an op – for money! We’re retired now and the BUPA cover we benefitted from all our working life isn’t within our reach for personal cover now. So I’m stuck with not seeing a GP and not having the op (ops cancelled – again), or fork out well in excess of £20k out of savings!!

What I call ‘the con’ is our so-called National Insurance. The promise that isn’t able to be fulfilled. Our tax payments were always too low to never ever cover the cost of running the health service, and more importantly they never gave us a personal health credit of any kind. If those payments had accrued into something personal I could now be using them for something I need. At the end of the day ‘cradle to grave’ was always a total myth, and not one Government since 1948 has had the courage to come out with the truth and bring in a proper insurance scheme based on people’s ability to pay. Other countries have been more realistic in their approach

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago

I NEVER said that NHS is doing a great job!
I stated OVER and OVER again that better care costs more money!
And that money has to come from the British people directly (insurance) or indirectly (taxation).
The British people (350M to NHS – remember that?) don’t want to embrace the German model – as far as I can tell.
No one (certainly not I) is stopping Tories from pitching to the public “German style healthcare”.
If I remember correctly UKIP was for private healthcare and it decided (should I say Farage?) to support NHS.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

Gordon Brown threw hundreds of billons at the NHS. A report (the Brown commissioned) revealed that the NHS had become less efficient during this mad spending spree. Needles to say, Brown ignored and suppressed the report.

Richard Gibbons
Richard Gibbons
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Technically Brown threw billions into PFI which financed new hospitals and now the annual budget is spending huge sums of money on meeting the finance costs of said PFI projects. These are the infamous ones were it costs £50 to supply and change a lightbulb.

G Harris
G Harris
3 years ago

The truly distressing examples given in this article are indeed a source of shame to those directly and indirectly involved and I’m sure that there are a myriad of similar unpleasant experiences that can be added to them.

There really is no excuse for them, but we must never let perfect be the enemy of good so it’s always worth reminding ourselves about the vast numbers of people who are treated successfully by the NHS each year.

By most broad, global metrics the UK NHS still ranks as one of the most effective and efficient health care services in terms of money spent and patients treated.

dalrymplesdisciple
dalrymplesdisciple
3 years ago

In addition, the “bureaucracy” accusation is really quite funny.
For an organisation of its size, an incredibly small percentage of NHS funding goes on bureaucracy. Quite the opposite problem in fact: We are *under* managed. We promote nurses to management roles and wonder why nothing dynamic ever happens. Compared to other insurance-based systems, with huuuuge departments dedicated to processing, exaggerating and trying to wheedle out of paying claims (Go and see what people are billed for a few paracetamol in hospital in America. It isn’t 43p, I assure you).

Robert York
Robert York
3 years ago

American. This criticism, while surely valid, misses a key point: You get to go to the hospital. Many Americans can’t go to the hospital due to fear of crippling debt.
Good things”while still far from perfect”should not be taken for granted.

nigel roberts
nigel roberts
3 years ago
Reply to  Robert York

Nonsense. Anyone in America can go the the A&E of any hospital and the law requires they be treated even if they have no ability to pay.

Fabian Destouches
Fabian Destouches
3 years ago
Reply to  nigel roberts

And then you’ll be in debt for the rest of your life. That’s why people don’t go even if they theoretically could.

Niels Georg Bach
Niels Georg Bach
3 years ago

But then why not compare NHS to existing European systems

Giulia Khawaja
Giulia Khawaja
3 years ago

I have compared the NHS to the Dutch two tier system for which my family members pay. The waiting times and difficulty making appointments seem to be similar.

m
m
3 years ago

incorrect. There is free care in public hospitals, and 46% of citizens get free care under Medicaid and Medicare. Google them.

opn
opn
3 years ago
Reply to  nigel roberts

And then they are put back on the street.

Fabian Destouches
Fabian Destouches
3 years ago
Reply to  Robert York

Yes, the NHS is probably overall preferable to the American system but these aren’t the only two choices. Look at France, Switzerland, Germany, Singapore, etc. Very different systems all preferable to both NHS and the American system.

Allan Dawson
Allan Dawson
3 years ago

About that Swiss healthcare system…

https://www.oecd.org/els/he

…and consider the comparison with UK spending.

Singapore is a city state….with a population of less than London….

Allan Dawson
Allan Dawson
3 years ago

About that Swiss healthcare system…

https://www.oecd.org/els/health-systems/Health-Policy-in-Switzerland-July-2017.pdf

…and then consider the comparison with UK spending.

Singapore is a city state….with a population of less than London….

Giulia Khawaja
Giulia Khawaja
3 years ago
Reply to  Robert York

Interesting that you got 4 downvotes for this. I am not totally in favour of the NHS but you are right to say it is there for everybody. Unfortunately many abuse it because of that.
Also, it’s problems are in some respect due to the custom of treating absolutely everyone regardless of whether they have paid anything in. The result is people newly arrived can access treatment and many who have paid in for a lifetime cannot. I speak from personal experience.

William Cameron
William Cameron
3 years ago
Reply to  Robert York

No one is arguing for a US model.

m
m
3 years ago
Reply to  Robert York

it’s true that that can happen to some people. But it is a small minority…most people are well-insured, and over 40% get free healthcare from the government programmes, Medicaid (for low income) and Medicare (for all over 65)

Fiona Cordy
Fiona Cordy
3 years ago

My experiences with the NHS have been mostly pretty good. Living here in Germany, I have experienced long queues to see the GP, been given someone else’s xray which resulted in a lost consultant’s appointment the day before she went on holiday, unappetizing hospital food (worse than Uk food), unanswered phone calls and jobsworth hospital staff. It’s also really not a joined up service. It’s possible to live here and not to be covered for healthcare. Put the extra 1,500GBP (Plus top-ups for hospital stays) per person into the service and there’s really no reason not to get what you paid for. The NHS principle is the best in the world.

Kathryn Richards
Kathryn Richards
3 years ago
Reply to  Fiona Cordy

‘My experiences with the NHS have been mostly pretty good. Living here in Germany,’
Isn’t that an oxymoron?
Regardless of that – Germany’s health system seemed to cope better with the recent pandemic than the NHS, and that isn’t just down to different Government decisions.

Fiona Cordy
Fiona Cordy
3 years ago

You seem to confuse preventative healthcare with treatment. The Covid figures in Germany are thought to be much lower than elsewhere due to their use of test and trace – which the UK government itself couldn’t work out how to implement, not the NHS – so as a result the government is making Public Health the sacrificial lamb. Also in Germany, Covid-19 spread among young people in its early stages, giving the country more time to figure out how to handle it. Look at France, with its much-praised healthcare system. Didn’t do so well, either. That aside, we will only know the true picture about Covid a few years hence.

I lived in the UK until 2015, when the effects of the Tory -led coalition’s underfunding were starting to be felt. As EU staff start to leave due to Brexit, no doubt the lack of staff will be blamed on the infrastructure rather than looking at the fact that Europeans are no longer welcome. I assure you there are jobsworths, massive bureaucracy and mistakes made in the German system too.

Kathryn Richards
Kathryn Richards
3 years ago
Reply to  Fiona Cordy

I used the recent pandemic simply as one example.
In Germany Test and Trace was given out to private Companies, PHE was actually the one in charge of that in the UK. An independent body, and they flatly refused to use private Companies early on, as was evidenced by the number of people writing in the media saying they had contacted PHE with offers of help and no-one even bothered to reply.
There has never been under funding in the UK. That is the type of false information put out to destabilise the Government. Funding of the NHS was ring fenced through the recovery needed after the total mismanagement of finances by the previous Government, specifically by Mr Brown.
The NHS needs to be reorganised, but as long as it is used as a political football that will never happen, and incompetence will continue.

Fiona Cordy
Fiona Cordy
3 years ago

Published in 2019 by the ONS:
In 2017, the UK spent £2,989 per person on healthcare, which was around the median for members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development: OECD (£2,913 per person).

However, of the G7 group of large, developed economies, UK healthcare spending per person was the second-lowest, with the highest spenders being France (£3,737), Germany (£4,432) and the United States (£7,736).

titan0
titan0
3 years ago

‘This led to patients who had not been tested being discharged from hospital into old people’s homes, and so spreading the virus among the most vulnerable. ‘
This didn’t lead to this. It’s been NHS standard operating procedures for two decades.
Get them home. Or put them in a home and make them pay for the care that some lucky others get for free.
Look at NHS Continuing Health Care Assessments to see what I mean.
These corrupted assessments are the great grandmother of those used to assess PIP, Universal Credit etc.
No one took any notice that the template could be applied to everyone.
Now we have people being given less of their own money to spend in their care home, each week than a prisoner is allowed to spend. And the prisoner is not usually disabled and sick and unlike the discharged patient, pays nothing towards his care.

authorjf
authorjf
3 years ago

One of the HUGE problems is that not everyone knows that Universal Healthcare and Single Payer are not synonymous. The latter is a sub-category of the former, rather than a pseudonym. This means that anything other than the current system is considered a plunge into an American-style dystopia; when in fact there are other countries who arguably do better, such as Japan, France, Canada. The other problem is that the NHS has become a national superstition. It is just common sense that the NHS is beyond question; this deeply rooted emotion in turn buttresses Problem 1 I mentioned at the start of this comment. A legitimate, authentic, healthy patriotism that is founded in both love’s innocence and knowledge’s experience is certainly preferable to the flag-stealing of Farage or the flag-burning of Momentum, but I’m not convinced this is it.

shpps.membership
shpps.membership
3 years ago

As the husband of an NHS consultant, I hear numerous stories, perhaps not in the detail related here, but similar in the repeated lack of communication between departments and fundamentally flawed Bureaucracy. The NHS ethic, I am convinced, is sound, with the majority……. but the NHS has become a monstrous beast that is beyond reasonable control. It needs to be broken down into manageable parts, as would happen in industry….but this is political dynamite/ suicide for politicians. The truth is that everyone in politics and the NHS alike knows what needs to be done, but neither have the will to implement it

David
David
3 years ago

See this article from today’s Guardian.
More than 1,000 UK doctors want to quit NHS over handling of pandemic
https://www.theguardian.com/society/2020/sep/05/more-than-1000-doctors-want-to-quit-nhs-over-handling-of-pandemic

edward.deadlock
edward.deadlock
3 years ago

what does this child know abouit anything, and we all know what copying any US system will do. but the ignorant market driven ideologues will drive it under if they can. Hell they sold off everything else and look what that gave us – Brexit! Damn fool kids know nothing ask those who were around before the NHS came into existence. One case soesn’t a mountain make.

markcalunius
markcalunius
3 years ago

My current interest is to what extent current NHS staff shortages are driven my staff absence due to fear of Covid.

An anecdote was shared on the Planet Normal podcast of a department with c. 50% absent since March partly replaced by agency staff (which my dark imagination fears could be staff from other trusts on long term Covid leave…)

Spurred on by this I did look at the Covid HR policies at a number of trusts which were all very similar and allowed staff to self-certify as to their vulnerability and forbade managers from even asking what the claimed vulnerability is! Of course staff at home due to their vulnerability are on full pay rather than furlough terms.

I’m sure most NHS staff are hard working but I can imagine the offer of “stay home on full pay forever” is tempting a few…..

john slater
john slater
3 years ago

This is spot on – its dreadul

Golden Horde
Golden Horde
3 years ago

‘If there’s any hope it lies with the Poles.’

Very droll.

Adam Penfeather
Adam Penfeather
3 years ago

Could agree more and endorse your views about that lying t**t Boris gummidge Johnston

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago

1) There is something weird (perverse?) about NHS worshiping in UK.
2) Better healthcare costs MORE money. Why Germany has better healthcare? It spends more money.
3) The real problem in UK is the gap between public demand for services and its unwillingness to finance it. As someone said (who?) “British want European welfare with American levels of taxation”.

Stephen J
Stephen J
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

How can you tell? As far as I know, the NHS gets its cash direct from the taxpayer, but the taxpayer does not know how much of that tax actually goes to the NHS. In order to achieve that, you need to adopt the German system (among others) who pay into a health fund.

It is in the interests of parties to claim that they spend more on the NHS than the last government, but it is also incumbent on the same people to demonstrate that our system is cheaper than other systems, and therefore better, due to its efficiency.

I would be willing to bet that the NHS costs vastly more than the system of public funding and private delivery of services, that is used in Germany.

Oh, and I definitely have not nor ever will, bang pots and pans for that communist outfit.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Stephen J

“As far as I know, the NHS gets its cash direct from the taxpayer, but the taxpayer does no