NHS in crisis?

After fifty odd years my big toe toenails decided that deforming themselves would be a jolly wheeze.

After fifty odd years my big toe toenails decided that deforming themselves would be a jolly wheeze. Like most men I figured leaving it was a brilliant idea and that self diagnoses “Tell you what, I won’t cut them and they’ll grow out!” was the answer. The nails were becoming pretty lethal, cutting their own escape routes from any pair of socks that dared to try and contain them. After getting through most of Marks and Spencer’s sock inventory I decided enough was enough and visited my doctors for the first time since 2011. After being told “You’re a little overweight.” which was a tad cheeky given he hadn’t even weighed me, I was given an appointment at the Podiatry clinic to have the offending nails removed.

The waiting area left a lot to be desired, effectively it was some seats against the wall outside the lift! My daughter and I sat there not without some trepidation I hasten to add when the air was pierced by what was evidently a girl screaming “Aaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrgh” what little blood was sloshing around in my cheeks left my face and I assumed the pose of a scared rabbit caught in the headlights. The girl in question appeared a few minutes later sporting a large bandage on her big toe but clearly relieved it was all over. “Mr Cannon?” I tried to pretend that my name was in fact Yul Brynner but the Podiatrist wasn’t fooled because he’d met me before. A very nice nurse with cherry red hair and apparently formerly a Goth moved towards my toes with what looked like a whale harpoon! “Now Mr Cannon, I’m going to inject your toes in four places, here, here….” I held up my hand, “Any chance I can have gas?” I’m not going to lie, the first three smarted a bit, the nurse had said I could swear if I needed to but I’d promised myself I’d be a brave little soldier. “I’m just going to do under the toe, now it is a fairly big nerve.” said the nurse. SHIIIIIIITING HELL!” sadly I let myself down.

The removal of the nails took no time at all and I felt nothing. The Podiatrist kept asking it I wanted to look, sadist. I politely refused  although I did agree to look at the nails after he had used half of the cotton industries yearly output on my toes “Here you are then Mr Cannon, oh let me just remove that bit of flesh before I show you your nails.” while choking back the contents of my breakfast he proceeded to waft said gnarled up talons in front of me. “Now here’s is your paperwork, go and see your practice nurse tomorrow and she will change the dressing and give you some dressings so you can look after your wounds for about two to three weeks.” he said. Now this part is important dear reader.

The following day I went to see the lovely practice nurse who’s obviously fully trained in cross infection and basic body fluid practice as last time I saw her when she took my blood she wore no gloves and now she proceeded to remove my blood and puss impregnated bandages with her bare hands yet again. After cleaning my toes a little and applying some new dressings she announced “Podiatry have put here you need 30 dressings? I’m afraid we don’t have enough. I’ll write you a prescription.” Now the thing is, they’re supposed to issue you with these, “Well how much will that be?” I said. “£16.00” said typhoid Mary.  “Well hang on. It says here you should issue them?” I responded. “As I said Mr Cannon, I don’t have enough.” Typhoid Mary managed to ‘supposedly’ scrape together two INADINE (Iodine) patches and two gauze pads but no tubigrip for toes which technically made the INADINE and gauze pointless.

I hobbled out to the Rolands Pharmacy only to be told they didn’t have the tubigrip. “There’s another chemist across the road dad.” said my daughter. We crossed over to the Lloyds Pharmacy, no, they don’t have it either! but they suggested I try Boots the chemist. I bought some bandage because I needed ‘something’ for the morning because the dressings honestly need changing every day. The next day I went down the town, we have two Boots chemists neither had any tubigrip nor did Superdrug. The assistant in boots said “Why don’t you go to the NHS walk-in centre? They’re bound to have it.” so I went there only to be told “We can change your dressing if you like but we can’t give you any bandages etc.” so let me get this right, you’re supposed to be given dressings after an operation, hell you need dressings after an operation, but nowhere stocks them not even on prescription!

I ended up buying some INADINE pads at 56p each some finger bandage at £3.19 and some gauze at £1.79 a pop. Looks like I’ll have to make my own dressings. I wonder why I pay my National Insurance?

Paying for NHS services.

I had a conversation with Keith Milner on G+ about Prof Sir Bruce Keogh’s suggestion that the NHS may abandon free healthcare. I thought I’d reproduce my response to Keith’s question because I know David Cameron the Prime Minister reads my blog.

Keith: “So what has changed that the model that has worked well for the last 60+ years is suddenly no longer sustainable?”

People are being selfish and not dying.

The problem with the NHS is two fold.
Firstly when it was set up in 1948 a lot of the population had met their maker thanks to Uncle Adolf and the Luftwaffe so it was primarily built around the 55 Million population size of the time. Obviously they factored in growth but remember we still had elements of the empire so nobody considered that anybody would dare to try and live in the motherland or that there would be the increase to the 64 Million that we have today.

The second factor is probably the more important issue, although it is in effect the old ‘Chicken and Egg’ conundrum. The NHS is too good at what it does as is the medical profession as a whole. Whereas a few years ago for example, being diagnosed HIV positive was an immediate death sentence these days it wouldn’t surprise me if you can get treatment across the counter in the local chemist for it. Living to the age of 80 is so common nobody cares and only the other day they was talking about how there are thousands of people 100 years of age in the UK. Keeping people alive eats up resources like pouring water down a black hole. The NHS is becoming a luxury, throwing money at it because “It’s the right thing to do.” could bankrupt the country if we’re not careful.

I’m no expert but education seems the route to take which nobody seems to suggest or try. Turning cases away from A&E that can be treated by your GP for starters. If sadly one or two pop their cloggs because they in fact should have been seen is just sadly something we’d have to accept and deal with. Bring back those Government education films, show them at prime time, explain how many of the ailments people call ambulances for could be dealt with by a walk-in centre or your local practices nurse.

The population doesn’t want to help the NHS all they care about is using it coz it’s free. If they had to pay maybe for initial treatment or say for the ambulance you watch A&E empty overnight and Doctors surgery’s fill up.