Wednesday, January 02, 2008

"Please Sir, I want some more"

I had an appointment this afternoon, with the rheumatology nurse specialist. I was a bit confused when I got the letter as, like I'd said when I was at freak clinic, I was fairly sure I'd met my rheumatologist once (not the extra special bendy people rheumatologist in Leeds) but I knew I'd never met a rheumatology nurse specialist. That I would have remembered. Still, I've long since decided it makes for an easier life not to try to argue with NHS letters, so this afternoon I went along to my local NHS hospital.

First I spent the best part of half an hour
desperately circling the car park looking for a space along with every other car unable to find a space. The disabled spaces were particularly difficult to find, many I noticed being occupied by extremely expensive, top of the range new model cars without blue badges. Eventually I was able to park after just waiting by the disabled bays for around 10 minutes until someone left. This though is the same hospital that blocked off all bar one of its disabled bays outside the physio unit for several months last year.

I went to visit one of my neighbours before going to my appointment. She had an operation this morning, was full of praise for how wonderful the staff were. They did seem to be, lots and lots, of friendly, nice nurses standing around. My neighbour was in an 8 bedded bay. There were 5 empty beds. As the wind whistled outside, the windows rattled and I could smell the faintest hint of cigarettes from the mothers to be smoking below.

When I arrived in outpatients I found it was very busy. Nothing like the well staffed, half empty surgical ward my neighbour was on. This was packed out. Running late. I was reassured by the receptionist it wouldn't take too long as I was seeing the nurse specialist. Not too long turned out to be around 30 minutes. It wasn't. I remember orthopaedic clinics where not too long was 3 hours.

The nurse specialist was honest. Management of chronic conditions isn't a priority for the government. We're supposed to be looked after by our GP's. Diagnosed. Treated. Discharged. No matter how unstable the condition. Just hope you're one of those lucky enough to have a good GP. For those of us who need long term looking after this is it. No bright shiny wards with patientline and named nurses for me. Just an overworked nurse specialist, kind, caring, good at her job and unable to do it properly. To use this government's NHS I have to have something that can be fixed, put in one of their beloved boxes, ticked off and filed away. Like most of us who's need is most, I don't.

10 comments:

Casdok said...

Good post. Ticked off and filed away, i know how that feels.

Vi vi vi vooom!!!!!!!! said...

That is madness about the parking. If it was the hospital near me, those cars would have been clamped as soon as they parked there!

Elaine said...

Oh no, how much lower can this government stoop? Perhaps I shouldn't ask, because they probably will find a way to go further.

re the parking - I take a taxi to my local hospital for O/P appointtments as I too can never find a disabled bay. Quite what happens if I have to go to the near by town for a bigger hospital, where parking is even worse, I don't yet know.

Anyway, have a very Happy New Year!

BenefitScroungingScum said...

Casdok: I thought of you and C whilst I was there. This is a decent clinic, with good staff who are desperate to help their patients, but are increasingly unable to do so because of funding cuts etc.

Vi: Parking is always like that at our hospital, it's a major local issue. They apparently clamp, but I've never seen it happen. The very expensive cars without blue badges I suspect belonged either to doctors or managers having to move between hospital sites and not able to get into the limited consultant parking spaces. I will admit that usually I ask one of the security guards nicely to help me find a space, but it was so cold they must've all been hiding!

Elaine : They will stoop much lower as the direction they are going in with benefits is to assess much more on the basis of hospital attendance, equipment given etc. I may be cynical, but if they are underfunding these areas so those with chronic conditions are discharged, refused equipment like I have been, turned down for social care, or unable to afford it then deemed not entitled to benefits as they aren't receiving these other services either that seems to me a pretty good way of both manipulating statistics and saving money.
I couldn't afford to take taxis back and forth, it would cost me £15 + each time, and although you can claim the costs back, it's always further than I can walk to the offices where these things are administered.

On that cheerful note, a very Happy New Year to you too! BG x

Mary said...

I think a number of disabled bays in hospital car parks are taken up by people with the thought-process "I've broken my toe, it really hurts, I can't possibly walk on it, that's why I'm at the hospital, no one could argue that I'm not disabled right now!" Add a bit of righteousness about taxes and paying for car parks and we're there.

BUT, I would argue against looking at the type of car. I have known people (all men, now I think of it) who were disabled in an accident, got an insurance payout, and bought a really spangly car with the proceeds.

Pixie said...

what on earth makes you think it's a good idea to spend money on patients? when they can waste i don't know how many millions on ever more stupid initiatives, that will stop as son as there is a change in government, as the any new kids on the block will need to prove they are better than the last lot.
Not that i'm cynical or anything you understand, just two years of being an NHS manager has given me a ifferent perspective.
LOL
pxx

steph said...

Well-voiced! BG

You're so right. Most chronic conditions aren't sexy enough to get the attention they deserve even though they have the potential to destroy lives. I hope I'm not being too cynical here but... am I the only one who thinks that the cancer support network gets more than it's fair share of funding, at the expense of other diseases? I'll probably be shot down for saying that but please bear in mind that 1. I've worked in the cancer support area and 2. my brother died from cancer 5 years ago so I've some idea of what's involved.

Regards, Steph

having my cake said...

If I have to go to the hospital, I dont even bother with the car park these days. I either get a cab or park about a mile away and walk. It saves time. Sadly, the reason people with big cars park in the disabled bays is because the normal bays arent big enough to take a 4x4 and still open the door to get out without bashing the little car next door. They try to cram in too many parking spaces so they can raise funds by charging for them. It is a sad, sad system that truly needs sorting out. Did you see that entrepreneur who went into the hospital at Rotherham(?) and almost halved their waiting lists by making them conduct operations on Friday afternoons (when previously no one had wanted to do them because they wanted to go home early for the weekend) or something simple like that?

Emma said...

I agree with you so much after my run in with the Mercedes driver a couple of weeks ago, our local hospital is just the same though and there is that much work and scaffolding up at the moment you can't get anywhere near the disabled bays.

As for chronic conditions not being a priority you are so right about that one too..xx

BenefitScroungingScum said...

Mary: I think you're right about the first part, but I'm going to stick to my guns on the second, which is why I specified expensive, new model cars without blue badges. Some of the cars available via motability are very high range and there are all sorts of reasons disabled people, like any other might have expensive new cars, but I simply don't believe that all the expensive cars happened to belong to disabled people who had coincidentally forgotten to display their blue badge.

Pixie: You literally made me lol with that one! x

Steph: Absolutely. Were you in my appointment? That was something we discussed. I don't think you are being cynical, funding has been poured into cancer care, heart disease etc, all the things the govt think were vote winners, and quantifiable.
I do think there is something very strange about funding alternative therapies, homeopathic hospitals, and like you say all sorts of additional extras for certain patient groups, whilst others who have just as much need of the NHS are not able to even see a doctor so desperately under funded are some areas.

Cake : I had never thought of that, thank you! Yes, I did see some of that programme, I think it was Gerry Robinson? It seemed a bit like attempting to herd cats, but overall I'm of the opinion that the NHS is so precious to us that we should do whatever it takes to keep it. Stopping the waste and abuse of resources would probably be all thats needed

Emma: Why, oh why do they always put the scaffolding in disabled bays?! Drives me potty!
The good news for you is that apparently hip replacement surgery is well funded cos the government can tick it off in a box! Although, if it were me, I would avoid the new poly clinic type things like the plague and stay on a waiting list for my local hospital (or teaching hospital) x