helga_hansen 49F  
3122 posts
4/7/2006 12:10 pm

Last Read:
4/13/2007 3:18 am


Since the middle of the week, I've been feeling my blood slowly boil. It started with an article on my local television news. It was all about the NHS, the UK's famous health service provider.

Now, usually, I'm not one to knock the
NHS, because I have had some excellent care in past years, whilst having skin cancer, but as someone who has worked in the financial sector for 20 years, I get a little annoyed when I hear that some of the "trusts" (hospital micromanagement is all the rage with the NHS... it takes the blame off the Department of Health) are going to be cutting jobs "to balance the books". Pardon??? This statement was made on the last day of the country's recognised tax year (that's another quirk... just who would start a tax year on 6th April???)

Now, it's not uncommon to retrench people when a company is struggling, as let's face it, employing people is usually any company's highest cost. But when the people you're planning to sack are the most essential components of the business, does that make sense??? The trusts concerned are planning to retrench nurses, doctors and consultants. Now to me, a hospital is just a building if it doesn't have those nurses, doctors and consultants.

But our hospitals come with extras. Administrative staff, and LOTS of them. Pencil pushers, who are there to make sure hospital trusts reach all sorts of outrageous targets set by a government desperate to be seen to be doing something about an ageing white elephant which is costing the tax payer more and more every year. I don't hear any plans being made to cut their jobs! Most of these pencil pushers are managers, and managers have bigger salaries. So lots of chiefs, and few indians means that salary costs for the administrative staff are quite heavy.

So the trusts have "overspent" and their idea of balancing the books is to cut the staffing numbers. And then promise patients that it WON'T increase waiting times. I'm not just talking about when you sit in a waiting room at the A&E Department, or the X-ray department. I'm also talking about the waiting you go through once you've made a visit to your GP, who feels that he is unable to help with your ailment, and refers you to a specialist. You can wait days.... weeks..... months.... and even YEARS before seeing someone. And I am NOT kidding.

And once you're lucky enough to see said specialist, he/she may decide that you need to have x-rays/MRI scans/biopsies. So you wait again. This cycle repeats itself through the various stages, and some patients even get as far as having surgery scheduled, and then having operations cancelled. And for some, it won't just be once. It can be again, and again, and again.

And they're telling Joe Public that waiting times won't be affected by the lack of staff. Yeah, I'll bet.

Another issue is having to employ agency nurses due to lack of fulltime nursing staff. Now, hands up who doesn't know that nurses are quite poorly paid in the UK? So, because nurses are badly paid by the
NHS, they leave. And join agencies. Surely it would make economic sense for nurses to be paid more by the trusts themselves, and cutting out the middle man?? Agencies are not doing this for charity, and are getting a hefty chunk with the placement fees they charge... and the nurses are understandably happy, because they are getting a better salary working for the agency.

So why am I in a huff? I'm not a nurse, or a doctor or a consultant. Neither do I work for a trust. Nope. I'm a patient. A patient who has just received a letter from her consultant, who recently (well, December 2005 actually) arranged for her to go and have an MRI scan, as she has an ongoing problem with her right hip and lower back.

The MRI finally took place mid-March, and then that waiting I was talking about started again. Until today, when I got my letter. No explanation of what was wrong with me. Nope. A letter telling me that an appointment has been made for me, on 18th October 2006.

I kid you not!!!

Are they hoping my problem will just go away? Are they hoping I'll just forget about the constant pain I am suffering? Are they hoping the pills I take daily will be the cure?

Needless to say, I am NOT a happy bunny, and on Monday, I will be calling my consultant to find out just what is wrong with me. There is no way I am waiting 6 months to find out!!

Love, hugs and kisses from ♥♥HH♥♥

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