Sunday, 22 July 2007

Just Another Sunday

I had a phone call at 8 o’clock this morning to say that G wouldn't be able to do coffee this morning (which was fine, I took milk and biscuits, set it up and then nobbled a helpful person to take over) as she was over at the hospital with her mother.

This is a lady in her late seventies, who has been waiting for an exploratory operation since November. She still hadn't been given a date, but was increasingly in pain. Following a fall when she broke her hip a year or two back, she is a bit frail anyway. Last week, G rang to ask if there was any way of bringing the op. forward. "Well, she could go privately..." "How much?" "About £1,500." They decided to go for it, and on Tuesday were invited to come in this Sunday at 7.30 am.

In the event, G's mum was in such pain at 5 o'clock that she took her in early, which was the reason she felt that her stint on the coffee rota was just one job too much, and she was right.

Of course, they made the right decision for her mother's health - and, in addition, she knows that they value her sufficiently to make it. But I thought that waiting lists were supposed to have come way down. Now the operation has taken place, will it be counted as a target that has been met? Or will it disappear altogether from NHS figures? I know a good many people who have given up waiting and paid out for procedures that should have been carried out on the NHS - I would not be at all surprised if they were included in the 'success' figures.

The reason I don't like these targets is that they encourage fudging and fiddling. I see it too often.

Food to prepare, this afternoon, for a 'do' at one of the neighbouring parishes. Little canapé-ish stuff. I always think that, if you make it look pretty (and taste nice, of course), you can get away with really simple stuff.

Later - Sadly, having taken the photos, I plugged the camera into the computer, which promptly crashed. I unwisely unplugged the camera before turning it off, which means I have lost all the photos (including some from the festival which I hadn't got around to downloading). Sorry. The canapés were very nice, though, and so was the do.

14 comments:

Imperatrix said...

Many people here in the US have begun going to Asia to get surgery done. It's much cheaper (even including hte airfare), the doctors are mostly US or EU trained, and the service is supposedly incredible. It sucks to be ill in this day and age.

martin said...

I know a couple of people that have had to pay in order to get a service that they have paid dearly for all their working lives. It is a scandal.
Another little thing left to us by dear dear Tony.

Z said...

There was a surgeon, at the hospital concerned, who was in the news a while back because he set up a 'production line' operating theatre - he did the actual operation, but other people did the initial work and finished off. It brought the waiting list way down. But the government said it was too expensive and the hospital was obliged to cut back and there is now a 'designated minimum' wait for non-emergency operations. The surgeon has left.

Yes, it is expensive, but it's the half-truths and misleading statements I can't bear. People are forced to become liars or else their hospital will incur penalties.

jen said...

i thought perhaps Sicko was a bit too altruistic about your and other nationalized health care systems.

canape-ish? a photo would of course, be satisfying.

Z said...

It is never possible to put enough money into health care, as medical advances mean that more - and expensive - treatments come along all the time. Then there's elective surgery, preventive medicine, semi-cosmetic work (I don't mean facelifts, but sticking out ears, that sort of thing), drugs to slow down the onset of Alzheimer's, treatment of premature babies (who may, having survived, need long-term care) etc - it's never-ending. And the NHS can still be superb, especially in an emergency. But it's care and efficiency - and cleanliness - that matter, not meeting targets.

I'll see if they are worth a photo, Jen

Dandelion said...

I don't think it's fair to just blame Tony. Let us not forget what the tories did to the health service, as well as dismantling everything else that was great and good about the country. And I can't believe that my forefathers allowed it to happen and kept voting them in! There should have riots over what they did to the health service, but no.

I think if all the hospitals and trusts joined forces now and refused to be made to compete, then the whole targets thing would have to be re-thought. Ditto for the deficits. The government can't hardly shut down every hospital and trust in the land.

Your friend was lucky that her family could afford to take her privately, however much they valued her. Not everybody's could.

hey bartender said...

This is what my friend Jared refers to as a "Sticky wicket." (Not sure if I spelled that right.) While your waiting periods and other isuues make the system far from ideal, our cost without insurance is so high that most people I know don't even go to the doctor unless they are convinced they're dying. I myself haven't been in eight years- except for a broken bone (had to, obviously) and a couple of stitches. In my case, I think I'd be much better off on your side of the proverbial pond.
There has to be a better way, no?
Still working on your CD, by the way Z. I haven't forgotten.

Z said...

I last visited the doctor myself five years ago - and then he suggested I took myself, privately, to an osteopath. Indeed, if you haven't got the money, you may well be in trouble. On the other hand, at least she has freed up a place on the waiting list.

Aw, Julie, you're a honey.

A wildlife gardener said...

We were involved in our church fete yesterday afternoon too. I was on the plants stall and the toy stall combined. It was great fun. i sold the toys cheaply ...and the few cuddly toys that were left I gave away to the children who eyed them up, and they were 'big' boys who walked away proudly. Who says boys aren't cuddly creatures?

I'm so glad your friend got her op at last. Hope she continues to improve.

Z said...

Fortunately, even in this startling summer, the weekends have tended to sport rather better weather than the midweeks, so most of the local fetes have been successful. And it is rather endearing that, however sophisticated we think we are (or 'tough') we still enjoy them.

Thanks for your good wishes. I'll email G later and ask how her mum is - she was only going to be in hospital for the day (you don't get much for £1500) and return home to wait for the results.

The Boy said...

Its a tough problem. You need something to measure to assess wether things are improving or not. Thing is, the minute you measure and put financial values against the measurement people will do anything they can to improve, even cheat.

Dave said...

I have no comment particularly to make, but thought I ought to let you know that I do read your blog; indeed, you're on my list of 'spectators'.

Z said...

Sometimes the things measured are not those that actually show the quality of provision. And financially, they have put in vast amounts that have not always come through to the quality of patient care and that seems to be the first place that any cutbacks show.

Dave, honey, it's always a pleasure to see you - or, if I don't see you, to know you have dropped by.

PI said...

Bad luck about the films. I nearly did the same last night- working when I was too tired.