One thing I am tired of hearing from our politicians, especially rabid Socialists, is how wonderful the nurses and doctors in our beloved NHS are, as if every employee is a saint. With even Tory (at least I think he is a Tory) Prime Minister David Cameron espousing how great the NHS is, it has almost become sacrilege to differ.
Well, I do differ. Even Lenin would have found it difficult to dream up the NHS – it is a perfect Communist organisation where everyone is treated the same as if we were all the same.
Newsflash: we are not all the same.
A first year UK medical student knows that but still he/she falls hook, line and sinker into the mentality of a USSR apparatchik once he/she can add Dr. in front of his name. Well, it is hardly difficult to ignore this fact when the prospect of several hundred thousand pounds a year in wages is dangled in front of them. Never mind about the patients hey.
Politicians love to say how wonderful NHS staff are until their elderly mother ends up in an NHS ward and then they see their rhetoric hasn’t turned into reality. There are of courses some very good health care professionals but then there are some whose care is so bad it is illegal, as Ipswich Hospital were told by the Care Quality Commission.
I recently had the misfortune to visit my local GPs’ surgery. Firstly, despite paying thousands of pounds in taxes every year I was told I could not see a doctor but had to do with a ‘nurse practitioner’ – whatever one of those is – who, unsurprisingly, was not competent enough to assist. Once she pulled out her laminated crib sheet I knew I was in trouble! Luckily, I am not an elderly person and was able to stand up for myself and demanded to see a doctor, who was able to assist, although he failed to spot I had a perforated ear drum. Finally after seeing a third health professional, I was diagnosed correctly and provided with the medication I required. I despair what the experience must be like for a confused elderly lady.
I then heard an anecdote from my wife who was told her friend’s sister had recently, after much head scratching by doctors at Ipswich Hospital, been diagnosed with a brain tumour and was booked into see an oncologist at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge. On the day of her appointment, she was called by Addenbrooke’s and told not to bother coming in as “there is nothing we can do”. Now, anecdotal evidence is not scientific but there is never smoke without fire and there are too many horror stories circulating for this story to be discounted.
The respected Channel 4 ‘Dispatches’ broadcast a programme on the incompetence of GPs only last week, where one doctor failed repeatedly to spot the symptoms of bowel cancer.
It was astonishing to learn that GPs never have to be re-tested* once they qualify so in effect they can be a GP for 30 years without ever having their qualifications validated. An airline pilot must be re-tested every five years! Why not a GP? No wonder they think they can walk on water, when in one ear they are told they are too good to be re-tested and in the other they are told by politicians everyday how wonderful they are. The care of patients is tertiary never mind secondary in that performance-management vacuum.
This has led me to be convinced that the last people who should be given more powers as a result of the Health and Social Care Bill are GPs – that would be a recipe for terrible suffering and the Lords should not allow the GP Commissioning aspect of the Bill to gain Royal Assent.
We wait and see.