I was going to write about Chris Grayling and the Welfare Reform Bill, but seeing as a fellow ticcer has got a bee in his bonnet I’ll write about what’s bothering him. Hopefully as well as my ticcer friend reading this blog hopefully his consultantS will read this, I emphasise the “S” on the end because he’s a special case (we all knew that already! It doesn’t take TWO of the top TS experts in the UK to figure that one).
What our good friend perhaps doesn’t realise that in order to change public opinion about something, the experience of a few needs to be ….well, not quite what it should be. What I mean is that the Condemns have a plan, what they are currently doing is in essence putting us off the good old NHS, it’s like what they advise you when setting up a business, if somebody gets a good level of service they tell one person, however when they get a bad level of service they tell on average 10 people. So when Cameron tells us that NHS cuts won’t affect the level of care that we receive from the NHS, they do, particularly when there are fewer nurses on the wards. What the condemns are up to is running the NHS into the ground and waiting for us to go private. I’ve just finished reading quite an enlightening book, I forgotten the title but it’s the memoirs of a junior doctor, it covers his first year as a junior house officer. If I remember correctly it was written by a guy called Tom Pemberton, he had a great analogy which describes the NHS versus private argument, he compared the NHS to a bus route, basically if everyone started to take taxis rather than the bus, the bus company would have to reduce the number of trips it takes, and as a result of this more people have to take taxis rather than the bus, and then as the bus has very few passengers the service is withdrawn. This is what will happen if more people go private, our bus drivers (NHS staff, doctors and nurses) will have to work for the taxi companies in order to earn a living, and those of us who can’t afford taxis will have to do without any transport. A decent health service should be available to all.
Back to my ticcer friend, as well as having a selection of neurological conditions he’s also diabetic, I did have for a while a diabetic boss, so there we are me, him and a pub to run, after a while being a pub landlord isn’t the ideal job, so the best plan of action was to make him sit on his favourite bar stool with The Mirror, make him endless cups of tea and if he became too grumpy make him eat a batch (in Coventry it’s a bread roll). Unfortunately for my friend he didn’t have his best barmaid accompanying on a trip to hospital for a few days so the TS experts could run a few tests on him. So of course being a diabetic away from home the catering went awry. This is an issue that is bothering a lot of people at the moment, apparently there are many older people leaving hospital malnourished so our ticcer friend isn’t alone. Even for us younger folk food can be a big issue, in the main you would think that most dietary requirements could be catered for in hospital, except if you are Audrey Two (see picture) maybe Audrey Two could start with Lansley…or Grayling? A couple of years ago I ended up in George Eliot Hospital in Nuneaton, the food was really nice, and yes, there were excellent choices for vegetarians, also as I’m not very good at tolerating cow’s milk there was soya milk available for me. One concern I did have regarding the food was the timing of the evening meal, it was at about 5.30, a couple of hours later I was hungry again, the other concern was that some days there wasn’t anything containing a decent protein source for me, I did remedy this with some nuts brought in for me by my partner. If you are diabetic, due to the size of the meals (fairly small) you get hungry quickly, if you are diabetic, this could be very dangerous, really the hospital should supply something for patients that have diabetes that’s at hand for them to eat when they feel that their blood sugar levels are getting low, (a ward fruit bowl for example?). This information should also be in a patient’s care plan; it should also be common knowledge amongst the nurses so they can prevent a patient’s blood sugars from lowering.
The worst hospital catering however was dished out to my sister-in-law, after a long labour and an emergency caesarean section she was fed cheese sandwiches for a week. Why? Because she’s vegetarian, she was made to feel as though she was just being fussy rather than her diet being a conscious, moral decision. As well as the catering the general cleanliness wasn’t what you’d expect of a maternity ward, the idea of using the bathroom repulsed her, often the bathroom floors needed a good clean, basically the bodily fluids that you would associate with childbirth.
Our ticcer friend had a similar experience, it’s expected that a fellow patient at some point will have a mishap, but how quickly are these mishaps cleaned up. Luckily at George Eliot pretty quickly, for those patients like myself whose mobility was only impaired by a drip it was quite easy for me to tell the ward sister that a bathroom was dirty (blood on toilet and sink) and the problem was quickly dealt with.
A nurse’s job is hard going; it would be better, better for us and enable them to do their job properly if there were more nurses. Now there is a question, if the services offered to NHS patients are delivered by private companies, who will train the nurses?
The problems that we are currently facing, and our ticcer friend are not the fault of the consultants, it’s not the fault of the nurses. It’s policy, it’s the hospital trusts outsourcing the catering to contract companies (and idea nicked from industry), the outsourcing of cleaning to contract companies (who’s going to come at a moment’s notice to clean up a mishap? ) and our old friend PFI, this came from a reliable source but I can’t tell you who, but this person said that the staff in a children’s ward wanted to display the kid’s pictures, they couldn’t do it themselves, the company that owned the hospital at £70 per picture put up the kid’s paintings.
So I would suggest if you are going to hospital, get your friends and family to bring you in some food, the lady in bed opposite me in George Eliot was brought in a veritable feast by her family, so much she couldn’t eat it all herself, also have lots of reading material, you will probably have to pay for TV, I was begrudged to pay for this so I had my new friend opposite for company, luckily she was what you’d describe as a “game old bird” so we could find some entertainment in quite simple things such as giving the House Officers marks out of 10, not for their medical expertise but for their other credentials, you know what I mean….