To be annoyed at how some people slag off the NHS?

(295 Posts)
snowtunesgirl Wed 28-Nov-12 16:45:55

No it's not perfect but I'm still grateful that we have a National Health Service where if you need an ambulance, they don't first check you for Health insurance.

A friend of mine wasn't feeling well and had a bad experience with his local GP where he's not registered and for some reason they wouldn't let him temporarily register as an emergency. Therefore, he had to go the Walk-In Centre which was about an hour away.

It turns out that he has an ear infection and tonsillitis so felt pretty rotten but he's making out that he was on death's door and is banging on about how the NHS is shit because the first doctor wouldn't see him. He's also saying that lots of people die on the NHS every day due to neglect. I'm not saying that this doesn't happen but surely it's more of a rarity than the norm?

I've had some shitty experiences with the NHS but on the whole a REALLY positive one. I think it's a shame that all the bad bits of the NHS gets reported in the papers and somehow all the good stories never do. sad

catcalledginger Wed 28-Nov-12 16:49:29

Completely agree.

My experience hasn't been perfect but overall good nonetheless. DH is foreign and medical expenses/insurance are extortionate.

We are very lucky.

Another agree here. I can only imagine the bills DH and I would have had if we didn't have the NHS. DH has had more operations than I've had hot dinners!!

PeshwariNaan Wed 28-Nov-12 16:55:27

YANBU. Being from the US originally it terrifies me that the NHS is being picked apart. It really is under threat. The worst is that they're looking at our system to "improve" it!

Before I moved over I definitely should've gotten stitches for a deep thumb wound (glass cut), but stayed away from the hospital as the A&E would have taken about 6-8 hours and charged me somewhere around $3-4000, which I didn't have. I was between insurance coverage at the time (my insurance had just run out). So I cleaned out the wound, packed it up with sterilised cotton, and bandaged myself. It took a good few months but it healed without nerve damage.

Then there's the woman whose insurance was cut without her knowledge due to secret redundancies - she was presented with a $19,000 bill for her C-section...

I work for the NHS (Podiatrist) so I'm in at the thick end of people slagging it off sad

I hear :
"Well I've paid in all my life/people who haven't paid shouldn't get".

In that case, should a newborn baby in SCBU be denied because they haven't paid. And if they say "Well the mum has paid" - well all her contributions would be used up with maternity care ,would it not.

Everyone has their own perspective. Someone whose child is suffering because they can't have Speech Therapy because the NHS in it's wisdom decides not to replace someone on ML or who leaves, will not give a Monkeys that you can't have your feet treated every 3 months.

And the one that really boils my piss annoys me "I don't get anything else free, so I want to have my feet done" (Usually people who are physically fit and well). There are enough people with problems without seeing patients so they get their 'money's ' worth.

There won't be an NHS when I retire.
I won't retire until I'm 67 at this rate.
And for all it's faults, I have no desire to leave the NHS and go private.

snowtunesgirl Wed 28-Nov-12 16:57:53

70 I salute you. I was treated on the NHS for my flat feet and now I have arches again and no foot pain!

snow - that's one field of podiatry I don't involve myself in (Biomechanics) .
I'm your treatment and ulcers kind (wound care) and Diabetic Patient Education.

So I can be a bit saluted but not for that grin

70 - I'll salute you then. I hate feet at the best of times. My mum saw a podiatrist as her feet were rotten (not literally but not far off!!) but according to the podiatrist, they weren't the worst she'd seen. <wretches>

snowtunesgirl Wed 28-Nov-12 17:08:05

I salute you anyway 70! grin

desperateaboutweight Wed 28-Nov-12 17:12:06

I've had some shitty experiences with the NHS but on the whole a REALLY positive one"....I think this is the crux of the matter, to be honest.

If you had been the unfortunate recipient of a very bad experience on the NHS your perspective would change.

Some people are critical of the NHS because it let them down when they were in need.

Rather than being really annoyed at people who complain, why don't you get really annoyed at the service they receive?

My experience of the NHS this year has included but not been limited to:

1. Sitting in a meeting with a consultant to hear the PM results on my baby and finding out the there is no cause of death because they they had lost the placenta.

2. Having the appointment above, something that I dreaded more than anything I've ever had to do before or since, rearranged 13 times before the consultant actually turned up for the appointment.

3. Nearly bleeding to death because I had a retained placenta with complications and the gynae ward I was on had no working examination lights and the doctor trying to stop the bleeding was relying on the torch on his iphone that the nurse was holding up.

4. After being told our baby was dead, being put in a room with a video playing of a giggling baby on a two minute loop for over an hour.

5. Wandering around in tears trying to find an EPU that wasn't where the signs said it was and finding out later that they had moved it to a different building two years ago but no-on had been arsed to changed the signs since.

Glad you get to be on your high horse and be annoyed with me, OP, for having the termerity to complain.

I'd rather you were annoyed at this kind of service.

lyndie Wed 28-Nov-12 17:12:24

YANBU. Well said.

I have seen healthcare in other countries so basic it would make you weep, and in developed countries where lack of insurance leads to completely unnecessary deaths and suffering.

And people here moan about a 20 minute wait for an appointment!

ChaoticforlifenotjustChristmas Wed 28-Nov-12 17:13:44

70 then I'll salute you because my mum's diabetic so you're one of the ones contributing towards her treatment...well not you personally but ykwim smile

OP YANBU For all it's faults I'd choose the NHS over the US system any day.

KarlosKKrinkelbeim Wed 28-Nov-12 17:15:23

I was about to weigh in with my whinges but my complaints don't begin to compare to yours, desperate. I am truly sorry for your loss and that it was aggravated in the manner you describe.

x2boys Wed 28-Nov-12 17:20:59

i work for the NHS i dont think people realise just how much the NHS is struggling during the labour years they threw money at it but the NHS just spent it on yet more managers [forget shopfloor workers ] computer systems that dont work,as a staff nurse i spend most of my days on a computer because we get into trouble if everthing is nt documented .Patient care is neglected. The ward i worked on was rebuilt from a day hospital just 5 years ago [costing god knows how much] it has been closed down for six months to gut it and completely rebuild [costing god knows how much] so males and females can use the same facillities . I,M at risk of redudancy despite having many years experience but there are never enough staff?!

Cortana Wed 28-Nov-12 17:21:15

Exactly OP. No health service free at the point of delivery or otherwise is perfect or without mistakes.

People imagine if they were paying for it it would magically be amazing and nothing would ever go wrong, because then you would be a paying customer! As if like magic all problems would vanish.

I think there is a huge difference between moaning about a major breakdown in service, which should not have happened/ only happened through gross negligence resulting in long term trauma and constant moaning about the nhs in general, such as waiting time at the GPs surgery, refusal to give antibiotics for a cough, an hour wait for an ambulance for a non-emergency call out etc. I am also fed up with people doing the second of these, but there are cases where the care has been unacceptable and this should be addressed. I am extremely grateful that I live in a country where my children have been born in a hospital with care freely available for any problems, where my son has been sent to hospital in an ambulance when he knocked himself out (playing football!), where I don;t have to worry about whether I can afford to pay for the GP call out when my back pain kicks in etc. However, there have been incidents that I would blame on individuals who that have left a lasting impression on me, where I haven't felt that the care to individual patients has left much to be desired.

snowtunesgirl Wed 28-Nov-12 17:22:54

desperate, I am truly sorry for your experience. sad But, and I'm sorry for the but here, but you are assuming that I would have an issue with you complaining.

When I was in hospital last year, the hospital made several failings with me and I am still bearing the brunt of them. I made a complaint about this as I felt that the service was sub-standard.

I do have an issue with bad service as per what I experienced and what you experienced. The reason for things like this happening is the failure of a very overstretched system where HCPs are being forced to overwork amidst impossible cuts.

My local hospital is currently being threatened with A & E and Maternity Ward closure which will further overtax nearby hospitals.

And yet, yes I am still grateful for the NHS. Would you rather be without the NHS?

NumericalMum Wed 28-Nov-12 17:30:40

Desperate I am truly sorry for your loss.

What is very bizarre is how people believe it would be better elsewhere. Maybe it would be but only if you are wealthy (very wealthy in some cases). For the vast majority the Nhs provides an amazing service which as someone not born here I thank my lucky stars for on a daily basis when I hear what my parents pay monthly for medical insurance.

CordeliaChase Wed 28-Nov-12 17:31:13

Unfortunately, with the amount of people treated by the NHS on a daily basis, there will be screw ups. Desperate, nobody could ever criticise you for complaining about the NHS given your terrible experiences. I am so sorry for your loss.

I used to work in the complaints team of a very busy hospital. Some of the complaints were heartbreaking. Others were just plain bizarre. Car parking complaints were common, which was crazy given the huge amount if empty spaces available. (Trust me, I used to go and check if there were spaces available after some complaints). Long waits in A&E for a none emergency (feeling rough so went to the accident and emergency department ) etc etc. most complaints are a breakdown in communication.

I was very proud to work for the NHS. I moved overseas, and had to take my two year old to the emergency room over here. I got an $800 bill for the treatment he received (luckily our health insurance will cover it). I had lots I treatment over the years through the NHS, maternity care being one of the main treatments. I didn't once see them holding their palms aloft asking for payment from me.

MolotovCocktail Wed 28-Nov-12 17:36:41

I completely agree: the NHS is one of the things - and perhaps the main thing - that Great Britain should be proud of

Look at it: squeezed by various Conservative governments over the years and it still a world-class system. It's battered. It lost it's polish. But my oh my, I wouldn't be without it.

I'm 30 in a couple of months. In my time on this earth, the NHS has saved my life twice. Without antibiotics for pneumonia, I'd be dead. My daughter had a Strep B infection as a baby and I can't bear to think what would have happened had she not been given promt antibiotics.

Thank Science for the NHS.

Oblomov Wed 28-Nov-12 17:37:54

Whats so awful OP about then checking to see if you have insurance? They checked when I was in the US. I had it. I didn't mind them checking. If I was told tomorrow that I had to buy insurance to get NHS treatment in the UK, I would buy insurance.

MolotovCocktail Wed 28-Nov-12 17:39:08

And thank the people who work within the NHS and make it what it is.

I had an ELCS with DD2 and my time in that NHS hospital and with those NHS staff were some ofthe happiest times of my life. I felt safe and cared for.

I know they're doing a job, but they're angels to me.

MolotovCocktail Wed 28-Nov-12 17:40:48

Dont people die of eality treatable ailments such as asthma in the US if they're checked but don't have health insurance?

MolotovCocktail Wed 28-Nov-12 17:42:34

'easily treatable' that should be.

And, of course people who do not pay NI should contribute to their NHS treatment. But people who live in America are left to die if they don't have insurance.

That is not the operable health system for me.

snowtunesgirl Wed 28-Nov-12 17:43:00

Oblomov, you might be able to afford insurance but many people would not.

Most of the declarations of bankruptcy in the US are from people whose insurance didn't cover what happened to them and they were left with an enormous bill.

MrsBungleBear Wed 28-Nov-12 17:46:01

I agree OP.

I had one bad experience on the NHS involving the birth of my first DC (a decision made by one doctor - the rest of the care surrounding my birth was good). I had an apology from the hospital concerned.

My mum died from cancer 4 years ago and the treatment she received from oncologists, palliative care, GP and district nurses was second to none. The support they put in place allowed her to die at home where she wanted to. All that without having to worry about how we would pay for her treatment. I can't imagine people going through that sort of thing and either not being able to pay for it or worrying about how to pay for it.

It might not be perfect all the time but I am very grateful for it.

x2boys Wed 28-Nov-12 17:46:05

it is nt just the conservative government who have sqeezed resources for years labour were cutting down units frezzing posts i blame the nhs big bosses they should start casring about patients again not box ticking and putt money available directly into patient care get rid of several tiers of manage ment which frees up money for essential staff like nurses and doctors.

EuroShagmore Wed 28-Nov-12 17:47:35

There are other models of healthcare provision that are not the NHS and not the US system. I've lived in two Continental European countries and received healthcare that I considered to be superior to the NHS care without the harshness of the NHS system.

Dead69Girl Wed 28-Nov-12 17:48:32

Completely agree

NumericalMum Wed 28-Nov-12 17:49:36

How much did you have to pay for those Euro?

scarletforya Wed 28-Nov-12 17:53:46


I sometimes throw my eyes up to heaven reading the whinges people have about the NHS. You don't know how good you've got it.

Come to Ireland and pay €55 per GP visit, pay through the nose for every bit of medication you need, pay for private healthcare. Pay for everything!

I'm often aghast at the way the NHS is taken for granted. FREE MEDICATION, FREE GPS VISITS, FREE TREATMENT! <faints with jealousy>

higgle Wed 28-Nov-12 17:57:41

In my experience NHS staff feel it is quite OK to give sloppy shoddy service because it is "free". Politeness and good customer service cost nothing. I feel continually anxious that we can no longer afford private health care insurance and suspect I am not the only woman who does not go for screening when it is offered because a dirty van in a car park does not seem to offer much dignityor respect.

mosschops30 Wed 28-Nov-12 18:02:00

YABU - and i work for them!

They treat their staff like shite
Dont give staff even basics with which to work
Some practice is dodgy - i am currently in a legal battle over medical negligence.

So YABU but at the point of need they are mostly excellent and we are very lucky. Like all other things experiences vary and you cant compare yours with others

purpleraindance Wed 28-Nov-12 18:21:30

how is the nhs supposed to cope with themillions of £'s spent on foriegn treatment? watching the documentary opended my eyes as to how many peope that are not uk residents come here to access free medical care - this needs to stop x-(

Doubledouble Wed 28-Nov-12 18:27:17

Snowtunes what did they do for your flat feet? I have them and didn't know they could treat it... Just thought it was something I had to deal with forever!!

And yes the NHS is fab and we are lucky to have it! I've had nothing but good experiences to be honest.

thebitchdoctor Wed 28-Nov-12 18:28:36

Thankyou OP. I work in the NHS and the current government are bringing it to its knees. Most of my colleagues join my fear of what we will be faced with after the ConDems are finished with it.

And we don't feel happy to give shitty service because its free because a) what a rude thing to say and b) it's not free! My hefty tax bills and other taxpayers pay for the NHS. It's free at the point of delivery and that fook for that

thebitchdoctor Wed 28-Nov-12 18:29:09

*thank, not that

lashingsofbingeinghere Wed 28-Nov-12 18:31:32

If you want to see how US style healthcare can bankrupt a family, read So Much for That, a novel by Lionel Shriver.

ENormaSnob Wed 28-Nov-12 18:31:48

I work for the nhs and my trust is in massive danger.

I think the hospital will close. A truly frightening prospect considering we are always full to capacity. Where will these patients go? Other hospitals are also full and struggling.

We do near on 8000 deliveries per year, our nnu is full to bursting. Our 50 bedded pn ward always over 90% full. We barely manage the numbers we have. Who will take these mums and babies? 2 local maternity units closed last year already. If ours closes too the effects on matenity care will be catastrophic.

I fear for the overall future of our nhs, I really think its dying.

grovel Wed 28-Nov-12 18:33:11

thebitchdoctor, do you feel that the NHS is well run or ever has been in the last 20 years?

badfurday Wed 28-Nov-12 18:37:10

I work for the NHS and am proud to be part of an excellent team who really work hard to provide the best care possible for our patients. I haven't really been on the receiving end of of NHS care, so cant comment on that. What I do know is if I or a loved one were in a serious car crash or had a bad illness, I wouldn't want to be anywhere else. We have some of the best Hospitals and expertise in the world as far as I'm concerned, and this is something we should be proud of.

I would say NHS staff are made up of two types, you have the ones who stay late, walk to the hospital miles in the snow when you cant drive in and generally bust a gut, then you get the ones who think the world owes them a living and really don't see the bigger picture. It costs nothing to be nice to people. I always put myself in the patients position and try and imagine what they are going through and how I would like to be treated.

3monkeys3 Wed 28-Nov-12 18:39:58

The NHS is a wonderful thing. I've had good and bad experiences over the years and I think it is fair to remember that, just like in any profession, some doctors/nurses/midwives/etc are better at their jobs than others. My dd was quite seriously poorly as a baby - she was misdiagnosed by the first consultant we saw as he was too busy bullying a student to look at her properly and her condition was significantly more serious and life threatening than the first diagnosis. It took a while and a lot of hospital admissions but we finally got to the bottom of it and the experience we had with the team who handled her eventual diagnosis and surgery were wonderful. Ultimately, all her appointments, tests, X-rays, scans, treatment, surgery, after care........was free and that is the reason the NHS should be protected and appreciated.

mymatemax Wed 28-Nov-12 18:42:08

we should value & protect our NHS.
My son has received first class care from numerous professionals and departments since his very prem birth 10yrs ago. He received world class life saving treatment & continues to do so, for FREE!
He is disabled & recently soem of the services he recieves have been contracted out of the NHS to be run by a profit amking company. We have already seen cuts & a reduction in service which is already ahving an adverse effect on him.

Sirzy Wed 28-Nov-12 18:44:06

There is no such thing as a perfect health care system and like any the NHS has faults which can cause problems from the little niggles to loss of life and people are right to be annoyed when these things happen.

That doesn't change the fact that it helps a lot of people, and its services are misused by a lot which makes it so the resources need to stretch even further.

I will be eternally greatful for the NHS staff at the local hospital who saved DS life by acting in seconds of us walking into A and E.

Pyrrah Wed 28-Nov-12 18:44:07

There are other systems beside the NHS and the US system. Much about the NHS is good (fantastic acute care) and much that is bloody awful (care for chronic conditions).

I wouldn't be without it, but that is no excuse for complacency or for not looking to make changes where necessary. I also wouldn't be averse to some kind of fine for people that miss appointments. Makes my blood boil to wait 4 months for a consultant appointment, have it cancelled 5 times and when I finally see them after 7 months find out that 110 people missed their appointment in that department in the last month.

Most of my family and DH's immediate family work in the NHS from senior consultant level, GP, Registrars, Speech Therapists, Audiologists, Nurses, OT's etc so I have a fairly good idea of what goes on.

I've also seen just how crap BUPA can be - seriously not worth the premiums unless very cheap via work.

So I think you are being a bit unreasonable - the NHS has turned into a bit of a sacred cow.

It's also interesting that the UK have one of the lowest government spends on health care in terms of per capita payments.

Flossiechops Wed 28-Nov-12 18:45:09

I agree with thebitchdoctor, this government are bringing the nhs down on its knees. I have been a nurse in the nhs for 17 years, did you know that Virgin healthcare have won a contract to provide district nursing care in some parts of the country? There is no doubt it will be privatised. I am not proud of working for an organisation than is working its staff to breaking point, I am on the brink of going off with work related stress. I had a patients daughter screaming at me the other day threatening me with going to the press and suing me for neglect, all because there aren't enough front line staff to deal with the increasing needs of an elderly population.

CarlingBlackMabel Wed 28-Nov-12 18:45:10

I can honestly say that every experiecne I have had of NHS care has been either satisfactory or exemplary.

It hasn't always been to my liking, but when I have been kept waiting or appointments for surgery cancelled I know the reason has been sound and to do with priortising emergencies. That's what I mean by satisfactory.

Desperate - you had a terrible experience, and I am sorry, and of course you should complain and get a meaningful response to your complaint. None of that should have happened.

SofaKing Wed 28-Nov-12 18:48:51

I've just come back from a 10 day hospital stay and am on medication for a neurological condition. I had no idea I was ill and was rushed to hospital after my eyesight started to fail in one eye.

Everyone I met in both hospitals I stayed in was outstanding, men and women utterly dedicated to patient care, kind, competent, and working up against it every single day.

I've also had bad experiences on the nhs, when having my DC, but I think so many failings are due to lack of funding and poor management, and doctors, nurses, and patients will be the ones who suffer.

Thebitchdoctor your post makes me so sad. HCP's are going to suffer most of all, and take all the blame when things go wrong, which is inevitable when working under such pressure. I hope they will be forced to realise nhs cuts will cost lives before its too late.

Oblomov Wed 28-Nov-12 18:50:16

snowtunesgirl, I think that many of us could afford insurance if we absolutley had to. I value the NHS service highly. You don't get it in many other countries. We give free care , i.e in and a&e situation to anyone, no matter if they are a national, on holiday, foreigner or whatever. Maybe we shouldn't. Maybe we should ask if they have insurance.
Some people can not afford insurance. some of very minimal income. But many could. I would have to cut back. We could all spend a little bit less on ourselves or less money on our childrens xmas presents. If we HAD to. I mean if we had to have insurance, because the gov made it a new law. Then I certainly would cut back on something, to be able to afford to have the insurance, to get the equivalent of the serrvice that I currently get on the NHS.

Wouldn't you?

purpleraindance Wed 28-Nov-12 18:50:50

the way we can protect the nhs is by NOT spending millions of pounds a year treating non uk patients. put that money back into treating uk patients. we are the only country that treats anyone who wants it - human rights & all that rubbish :-(

baublesandbaileys Wed 28-Nov-12 18:51:26

the NHS as a whole is an amazing blessing, we are so lucky! however I don't think that means that we should accept when it fails and not question it either!

Some of the worst health care experiences I have had have been in countries where health care ISN'T free FWIW

baublesandbaileys Wed 28-Nov-12 18:53:15

p.s. it's actually not free for all, its free for all at point of contact (a&e or gp) but if further inpatient treatment is required it's not free for non UK residents!

Sirzy Wed 28-Nov-12 18:53:50

An even better way we can save the NHS is think twice before using its services. Don't do what so many do and run to the doctor at the first sign of a sniffle, or go to A and E because you have a little cut on your finger. Don't call 999 because you haven't got money for a taxi etc etc.

baublesandbaileys Wed 28-Nov-12 18:56:45

plus prevention is better (and cheaper) than cure, obesity, alcohol/drug misuse, smoking, diabetes etc costs so much!

scottishmummy Wed 28-Nov-12 18:58:02

the NHS is fantastic,we are v lucky to have it
yes it has flaws, yes could do better
but overall amazing and free at point of use

piglettsmummy Wed 28-Nov-12 18:58:21

I am one of the nhs slaggers!! But I had very bad experiences over 2years and still. Continue! Basically my dd stopped breyhig as a baby, every doctor, midwife, Hv I saw turned me
Away saying its normal! I had rows on the phone with emergency doctors, kept taking her to A&e even told to "take her home stop being paranoid and enjoy my baby" eventually one nurse took pity, the one paediatrician agreed to see her! After running tests we found out her condition was so serious he was
Shocked she was still alive. He told me to my face she shud have died of SIDs! This doctor now has my most downright respect!!y dd is a miracle child! And nhs put her at such a dangerous risk because
They wudnt believe me! She has vigorous treatment now but the damage is already done when she is stable and I have the strength I will pursue my case further..... If I had the money I would move somewhere where I did have to pay medical insurance
As mandatory, atleast we wouldn't be in this situation ATM and treatment
Could have starter sooner! angry

thebitchdoctor Wed 28-Nov-12 19:01:12

Grovel. Thatcher and her ilk nearly destroyed the NHS. Labour did a lot for it but spent money is the wrong places.

I think if we had a government who knew what they were doing, the NHS would be amazing.

I tell you though it's demoralising seeing people slag it off and slag it's workers off. I work my backside off for my patients as do a lot of my colleagues. Yes there are some lazy bastards in the NHS as there are in other jobs but I've worked in 7 different hospitals and 4 GP surgeries and the vast majority of my colleagues are bloody amazing and are working to above and beyond in very constrained circumstances.

The NHS isn't perfect. I've been on the receiving end of some shit antenatal and postnatal care. But you know what I did? Instead of bitching about it I complained to my consultant (although it was a midwife issue).

purpleraindance Wed 28-Nov-12 19:07:21

baublesandbaileys - did you watch the documentary last month??!! all non uk residents atm are entitled to any free treatment and anyways, for £100 you can bribe a gp to put you on his patient list to get free treatment. also, why should the nhs pay for people who have no will power and demand a gastric band followed by tummy tucks, breasts done, lipo + smokers ect......

makes my blood boil that the nhs waste so much money on people who dont deserve :-(

wonkylegs Wed 28-Nov-12 19:08:32

Oblomov - you are forgetting that large section of the population who cannot get insurance even they can afford it because they have a pre-existing condition.
I was diagnosed as having rheumatoid arthritis when I was 19. I cannot get health insurance, believe me my company tried. Even on a group risk policy the exclusions are so huge I cannot claim as I cannot prove that any problem I had wouldn't be linked to the RA or the treatment I get for it (risks include heart/blood/kidney/liver problems, cancer to name a few) but actually that would be less of an issue as I would be unable to afford the treatment anyway and it wouldn't be covered as it's pre-existing.

baublesandbaileys Wed 28-Nov-12 19:09:38

purple yes all get free gp treatment, but if admitted beyond first contact, say to a surgical ward, they will be charged if the hospital gets wind of them not being a normal resident!

Alisvolatpropiis Wed 28-Nov-12 19:10:43


I criticise what the government is doing to the NHS.

I feel the same as you OP. I am profoundly grateful to live in a country with an NHS. The thought of it being privatised worries me deeply. I think NHS workers do a hard job that's being made harder through paycuts and government and media propaganda against it.

baublesandbaileys Wed 28-Nov-12 19:13:39

TBH purple if people are living in our community, do you really want em NOT getting treatment for things such as TB? because that's what happens in america if you wander off the tourist trail, you see a lot of people coughing up blood!

herd immunity/protection protects us all!

AuntieMaggie Wed 28-Nov-12 19:14:24

Ditto what carling said...

I'm so sorry for your experience desperate. I don't mind people moaning about such bad experiences - its the people that moan about the trivial stuff that annoys me.

I've had bad experiences too but IMO they are attributed to certain individuals/departments rather than the NHS as a whole which has also saved my life more than once!

purpleraindance Wed 28-Nov-12 19:18:55

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

DesperatelySeekingSedatives Wed 28-Nov-12 19:19:39

YANBU The NHS isnt perfect but thank fuck we have it because it means no one gets left to suffer in pain or discomfort simply for being poor like in many countries.

Your poor friend sounds like he has had a really rough time (ear infection AND tonsilitis must be a shocker!) but he's wrong. Ok the first doctor wouldnt see him but the one at the walk in centre DID see him and treated him. Without that walk in centre he'd be even worse right now!

MsElleTow Wed 28-Nov-12 19:22:34

I've lost the ability to walk unaided because of the NHS. I won't work again, my marriage has suffered, my children have suffered, I am in constant pain and need multiple hospital admissions every year because of the NHS!

So I will moan, I am afraid because those few doctors took my life, as I knew it, away from me and I will never get it back.

I am grateful to the NHS for the treatment I get now, but I shouldn't need it!

KarlosKKrinkelbeim Wed 28-Nov-12 19:23:44

To read threads like this you'd think that other countries were full of people dying in the streets. Oddly, this is not the case. Most other developed nations manage to provide decent health care without funding a massively expensive behemoth which supports, in my experience, plenty of freeloading jobsworths alongside the committed professionals. Even the US, which is no paragon, does some things better than here. When my ds was DX'd with ASD - which DX I had to secure by going private - DH and I had to fork out £3K a month plus for the intervention he needed. In the US you would get 10 hours a week of the same intervention gratis.

baublesandbaileys Wed 28-Nov-12 19:25:05

well how would you distinguish them from the many who move here for long term and then get ill before they have reached "normal resident" status?

actually its not non English people that are a problem in my local NHS, its Brits who moved abroad years ago, who didn't provide for themselves health care wise in the country they moved to because they thought the NHS would pick up the pieces even though they took all their equity out of the country and haven't lived here for years so paid no tax on purchases or earnings etc.
They get through gps and a&e fine then get a shock when they get to having in-patient treatment!

A lot of people are just not aware what "free at point of contact" means!

LeftyLucy Wed 28-Nov-12 19:25:50

I am living in the USA now. I miss the NHS so much, while it's not perfect it is so much better than the disastrous healthcare system here.

I hate to think of the NHS being picked apart. I feel very sorry for HCP trying to work with bad management and lack of funding. It is a treasure and we should treasure it. I also feel very much for people that have had poor treatment but privatisation and breaking apart the organisation is not going to help that, when human beings are treating other human beings there is always going to be some failure in the system. I was shocked to hear yesterday that the training given to health care assistants working on the ward, who often do the bulk of the hands on care, is at the discretion of individual trusts and can vary from nothing to perhaps a weeks training. That is in England and Wales, Scottish hospitals have a minimum 3 months training for the same post. Everyone providing patient care should be trained!

Looking at a healthcare system here that is driven by profits for the insurance and pharmaceutical industries and medical professionals themselves makes me really sad. The absolute inequity this creates in a nation with so much wealth is just tragic. I would hate to see anything like this happen in the UK.


Tinymrscollings Wed 28-Nov-12 19:30:32

I can understand where some of the frustrated posters are coming from I suppose.

My son has a rare and serious form of epilepsy. He has lots of different HCPs involved in his care from a variety of NHS sources. They have all (bar a grumpy night registrar but we'll let that one slide smile ) been kind, empathetic and so professional. I have absolute confidence that he's in great hands when facing an uncertain future.

However, navigating the corridors of NHS bureaucracy is bewildering and very time consuming. I've not had an appointment for him yet where I've not made several phone calls to chase and check and confirm arrangements. I'm lucky to be a native English speaker, reasonably intelligent and comfortable with spending hours on the phone gently badgering the powers that be. I also have wonderful support from my DH and family. I can completely understand how anyone not as lucky as me would find themself lost in a system they aren't equipped to deal with, frustrated and angry during the worst times they'll ever face. The care is wonderful but getting to what you need can be really difficult.

The career whingers who are narked about their ingrowing toenail treatment I've a little less time for wink

funkybuddah Wed 28-Nov-12 19:31:14

Wow re the 'non uk' lot

I have friend who is american, she has just moved here, she has just got a job.

Is she allowed treatment? She will be living here for the next 5 years minimum?

How about a heap of my eatern european buddies, all work, are they allowed treatment?

funkybuddah Wed 28-Nov-12 19:33:01

And actually I dont want to live in country where we would leave someone in pain and at risk of serious illness or death because of status.

Tinymrscollings Wed 28-Nov-12 19:33:16

oops, just noticed there was a big conversation about podiatry further up the thread. I didn't mean you about the ingrowing toenails, was just the first minor ailment that came to mind blush

KateShmate Wed 28-Nov-12 19:33:28

IME, when things get bad and you really need the NHS, they are unbelievably amazing.

I have 5 DD's and I can honestly say that if it wasn't for their brilliant staff, none of them would be here.
Yes sometimes they mess up, and with one of my DD's our GP ignored many severe health problems, but ultimately when the shit hit the fan and she ended up on Paed's Intensive Care on a ventilator for over 2 weeks, her care was second to none - I genuinely cannot fault it.

Oblomov Wed 28-Nov-12 19:36:18

wonkeylegs, I do understand. I am a type 1 diabetic since aged 1; my ds1 is autistic and my dh has had the whole of his large intestine and later small intestine removed. So I know all about pre-existing conditions.

KarlosKKrinkelbeim Wed 28-Nov-12 19:36:33

But that is often the problem, Kate. Unless you are in acute situation, the people who are meant to focus on you aren't really bothered. And the result of this can be that an acute situation is created where there needn't have been one. Bad for patient, bad for public purse. And no-one ever seems to be required to carry the can for it.

Sirzy Wed 28-Nov-12 19:40:41

I think part of the problem is that it is such a postcode lottery, some of the problems people have in one area in the country are positives in other areas. People have mentioned about the poor treatment of chronic conditions whereas my experience with DS is the opposite.

He was diagnosed with asthma at 12 months and his consultant has since done everything he can to try to get him as stable as possible. Thinking 'outside the box' and prescribing drugs which aren't normally used for children his age. I feel very lucky that he is being cared for by a team who are dedicated to helping the children in their care, when he is ill I have full faith in the staff who treat him. Its just a shame that it would appear that for so many the NHS doesn't work that way.

Solopower1 Wed 28-Nov-12 19:40:49

Clearly some people have had truly awful experiences, and of course they should complain! More than that, they should name and shame, in order to make sure it doesn't happen again to someone else.

But I always worry when people criticise the NHS, because I think it just plays into the government's hands and they can't wait to tell us 'Well, the NHS isn't working, so let's privatise it'. It's all part of their plan, and it's what happened to the railways before they were privatised, too. Privatisation will never, not in a million years, make things better in the NHS imo.

But Desperate, I'm so sorry for what happened to you. Clearly that should never, ever be allowed to happen to anyone else.

purpleraindance Wed 28-Nov-12 19:43:52

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piglettsmummy Wed 28-Nov-12 19:45:08

I agree solarpower I am going to name and shame all that fucked up my daughters life I think naming and shaming is important as it leaves those few good people out of the picture smile

baublesandbaileys Wed 28-Nov-12 19:45:28

funky if your american friend had a relocation package with the job it may well include health insurance to tide her over until she is a normal resident. Non residents do get gp and emergency a&e care! so that does buy some time. It's the further down the road stuff that isn't free, which is the kind of stuff that ex-pats often travel back for thinking that it doesn't matter that they havent lived here for years so long as they have an English passport (i.e. they've already been diagnosed and "patched up" but been told they'll need an op)

piglettsmummy Wed 28-Nov-12 19:46:03

blushoops swear word was sensored there sorry blush

SchroSawMummyRidingSantaClaus Wed 28-Nov-12 19:46:29

I agree, to a point. The NHS is an amazing thing and obviously helps many with serious/lifelong conditions. Myself included.

I also think though, there is so much going on to save money that they are probably actually losing money. It took me 11 years to get a proper diagnosis of a condition that could have been diagnosed very quickly in the first place had I been sent to see the specialist. Because I was un-diagnosed, I was at the GP every week for years in agony because no proper investigation above blood tests was being done. The amount of NHS time I have taken up!

Also, tonsillitus can actually leave you "at deaths door".

baublesandbaileys Wed 28-Nov-12 19:46:58

what has speaking English got to do with it? there are some people with poor english who are normal residents, and its easier to learn English once you are in an English speaking country - so what?

baublesandbaileys Wed 28-Nov-12 19:51:20

yes schro too many false economies!

lots of false economies

and cleggy-weg wants to demonstrate that spectacularly with getting rid of bank staff!

for those of you who don't know what banks staff are, hospitals used to spend a fortune on agency staff, they cost the hospitals about 3 times what the agency staff memeber was actually paid!
So hospitals set up their own in house "agencies" called "staff banks" or "nurse banks" so they could have a list of back up/stand in staff to call on instead of agencies, thus cutting out the massive agency fees!

but some twat has looked at the sums and said "wow you spend a lot on banks staff there, why not just not have em?"
err because you would then have to go back to using agancy you utter twat-head! and it'll cost the hospitals 3 times as much as they are spending on bank staff!

Solopower1 Wed 28-Nov-12 19:53:52

I don't like discussions about who should or shouldn't get treatment - it's so mean. As soon as someone has a medical condition, they should get treated, whatever language they speak, however long they've been living here.

And, fwiw, the people who come over here to live also pay taxes. People on temporary visas are often students who will be the next generation of doctors. You can't have a service that discriminates against certain sections of the population.

BurnedTheToastAgain Wed 28-Nov-12 19:56:37

Oblomov, the US insurance system is a total nightmare. One main problem is, the insurance is tied in with your job. When you change jobs, your whole life/future is in the balance. You get bridge insurance, but it's difficult and an already anxious time (redundancy, being fired, etc) is made worse by the fact that your family's entire healthcare is also at risk! A good friend of mine cancelled maternity insurance after 1st baby (one's all they wanted). Then she got pg accidentally, while waiting for periods to re-establish after bf 1st child and just before her coil appt. She and her husband were not just facing an unexpected pregnancy, but an approx $16,000 C-section bill (medically necessary c-section). Almost ruined their marriage, the stress about money. Charges in US are ruinous (a friend was in shock and trauma for years after his emergency appendectomy bills started arriving!) and the pre-existing conditions get-out clause for insurance companies is obscene.

purpleraindance Wed 28-Nov-12 20:00:59

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Oblomov Wed 28-Nov-12 20:02:12

sorry, i was refering to a much more simplistic episode, not re an american gettingn health cover, but simply as a british tourist getting medical insurance for pre-existing diabetes,for a holdiay to Florida and then needing treatment whilst there, and it all being plain sailing, before, during and after.

MissVerinder Wed 28-Nov-12 20:03:10

My DP has type 1 Diabetes, dx at 2yo, and he would probably be dead but definitely blind without the NHS.

Tinymrscollings Wed 28-Nov-12 20:03:20

I wasn't trying to be controversial, Baubles. I just mean that if I was, for instance, an Urdu speaker who had no need to use English in my day to day life and therefore I didn't speak it confidently I'd find it much more difficult to just pick up the phone and make sure that my notes hadn't fallen down the back of the Nurses Station. As the mother of a sick child I can tell you that you need to be able to be proactive, and as someone who lives in a very diverse community I can also tell you that there are plenty of people who would find that difficult.

babydude Wed 28-Nov-12 20:05:46

I am very greatful for the NHS. Thinking about the amount of health care my family and I have had to access over the last 6 years, we would have been royally fucked if we didn't have free health care.

From maternity services, DS's stay in the SCBU, my hospital admission, a scalding and burns treatments, psychology services for DS's SN and for me as well, the NHS has comee through.

I just wish it wasn't being so undermined and cut to pieces.

marriedinwhite Wed 28-Nov-12 20:06:18

Nope. I have encountered the rudest people in my life in the NHS, doctors, nurses, midwives, health visitors, admin staff. Personally I think if it wasn't free at the point of service and depended on payment from patients it would improve dramatically. The staff employed within it would have adopt basic standards of good manners and courtesy let alone effective clinical practices.

Also, I don't think non essential treatments should be provided by the NHS.

baublesandbaileys Wed 28-Nov-12 20:06:47

"how can people who dont speak english have intentions to come here to work?"

really? you really need this spelt out?
so say you are a professional, with poor English, who wants to work and live in England, you can't just go into your profession as English is essential so you work in a non front line job while you learn through emersion!

DH and I talk about moving abroad, I can only learn languages through emersion, he can get quite far with lessons or CDs/DVDs, so if we moved, he could go straight into his normal profession and manage, but I would either take a few months to just concentrate on learning the language, or do a non front line job (chambermaid, nanny for someone who wanted me to speak to their children in English etc) until I became more fluent

It's often grandparents who are "normal residents" without speaking English well, the provide a vital role by providing childcare for the rest of the family who work and pay into the country. Their adult children may speak English very well as they are out working, and the children speak English at school etc, but through the parent's choice the native language is spoken in the home

LDNmummy Wed 28-Nov-12 20:08:40


My home country have nothing like an NHS and everything is private. My mum sends money every month to her mother for basic medicines. My grandmother was involved in a minor car related incident during the summer and we had to send money back to pay for her healthcare because even though we have arranged some health insurance for her, it wasn't valid at the hospital she was seen in because it was outside the district covered by her insurance. She had traveled to the next town over for church when the accident happened.

When we visit next we are going to have to pay lots more fees and sort out a better level of health insurance.

baublesandbaileys Wed 28-Nov-12 20:09:08

"Personally I think if it wasn't free at the point of service and depended on payment from patients it would improve dramatically"

yeah that would be nice, but my experience of living abroad where it wasn't free was the opposite! real doctors are gods attitude and you just sit there like a good little wommin patient and don't question the -messiah- doctor! Oh and the nurses mustn't question them either!

BurnedTheToastAgain Wed 28-Nov-12 20:09:37

Agree BabyDude and others who really value the NHS (whilst recognising that it is not (nor is any system ever 100%) perfect). Have had excellent treatment (including a hospital appt today). Surgeries, babies, etc. All 99% superb care (except one pesky nurse, who (of course) was supply, not staff!).

expansivegirth Wed 28-Nov-12 20:11:29

I wouldn't slag off the NHS. I believe it ought to be here, and I have always trusted NHS care (so that when I looked for a private doctor I made sure that it was someone taking time out of a consultant job at an NHS hospital... NHS feeling like a stamp of quality).

But it's getting harder to feel proud. Not because there is anything inherently wrong with the NHS, but because the effect of cut-backs is showing. If anyone is to be slagged off, it is the policy makers who are allowing the NHS to be diminished.

CaseyShraeger Wed 28-Nov-12 20:13:46

Any contact anyone under 60 in my family has had with the NHS has been overall fantastic - yes, there have been a few minor cock-ups, inefficiencies and annoyances but it's been great value for money.

However, when it comes to older family members that becomes the exception rather than the rule - or perhaps it's just that "minor" cock-ups are harder to shake off when you're more vulnerable to begin with. If I had to guess I'd predict that it will be substandard NHS care that will finish off my father within the next five years or so.

CaptainVonTrapp Wed 28-Nov-12 20:14:41


People get some really bad treatment from the NHS (as we've seen from this thread). Its not ocassional, its all the time. I hate seeing that belittled by suggesting that complaints are about things like a 20 minute wait for the GP.

By the way, tonsillitis can land you in hospital and people do actually die from it.

Using the US system as a comparison is not a good benchmark. Many European countries have excellent healthcare systems. Much better than the US or our own.

Many of the excellent staff within the NHS are demoralised by the 'system' and the fact that they cannot provide the level of care they would like to due to the constraints of the system/ lack of money. I've had some great experiences too but have also been let down in a way I will never forget.

marriedinwhite Wed 28-Nov-12 20:19:18

Well I am exceedingly relieved that we have health insurance because I have too often reached the end of my tether being spoken to like a piece of shit by NHS staff. And listening to them whine about being overworked when they have hours to spend gassing loudly at a nurse's station about boyfriends and holidays but no time at all to provide patient care. [cross emoticon]

Most often however the worst manners are from the staff who are not professionally qualified. Apologies if that offends but saying it as it is.

Recollects Kingston Hospital when DS was admitted and there notices everywhere telling parents who to make donations payable to. The admission was an emergency; my period started; I asked for a tampon or towel and although it was late at night; my child had just come out of surgery, I was told to go and find maternity where they might be able to give me a sanitary towel. They were very busy gossiping - and not an isolated incident. Donation? I think not!

CaseyShraeger Wed 28-Nov-12 20:19:57

Re US insurance, a friend of mine was just (within the last month) made redundant from her job at 8.5 months pregnant. As a result her insurance benefits were going tp cease before her EDD, and as a result of that she had to be induced early so that the birth and hospital stay would be within the period for which she had insurance coverage.

Solopower1 Wed 28-Nov-12 20:21:36

Casey! shock

RedToothbrush Wed 28-Nov-12 20:26:10

Am I proud of the NHS?

Yes and No.

I am proud of the fact its better than the US system, but I'm not proud of the inexcusable fuckups and excuses being made about how the NHS can not afford things especially when a problem has nothing to do with money.

Too many problems are down to poor management/ignorance rather than pure finance and the money argument is actually a perfect excuse to allow it to continue.

And when we do talk about money, budgets are far too focused on short term economics and not long term ones. People should hang for PFI and I've dealt with NHS suppliers and could give you horror stories about wastage and corruption which I've not experienced when dealing with any other company or organisation.

And I'm not proud of the fact that too many people let the NHS off the hook, because 'its free' (its not) instead of complaining when they should do. I do believe a great many problems in the NHS are caused because of people NOT complaining and holding people to account when things go wrong. We are settling for a service that is mediocre in comparison to other comparable Western countries as result and not striving for excellence because the NHS is somehow often 'untouchable' because of our national pride about it.

Our pride in the NHS is actually very damaging at times. I'm not sure encouraging people to be proud about it is all together productive if they ignore its problems and get upset when people are critical of it as a result which DOES happen. I've no doubt there will be examples of that blinkered attitude on this thread.

crashdoll Wed 28-Nov-12 20:34:13

For those who think that if we paid for it, the NHS would be better, well you're wrong. Ask people who live in countries where they pay.

I've had lots of medical treatment - both privately and on the NHS. I've had fantastic experiences in both areas but also some appalling care too. My worst medical experience was in a private hospital post op. It left me with a real fear of being in hospital again.

CaptainVonTrapp Wed 28-Nov-12 20:35:39

We do pay for it Crashdoll

baublesandbaileys Wed 28-Nov-12 20:41:58

Red Toothbrush, yes not everyone complains, but I've never heard of anyone not complaining "because it's free" - if that happens at all I imagine it's a v small percentage

most people, myself included, don't complain about shite medical care because they are at the time too traumatised to go into to it.. then it feels to late once they feel more stable IYKWIM

and I've had good and bad in the NHS, in private treatment in the UK, and in non free health systems aborad - in every one there is something that I should have complained about but didn't, the NHS examples have nothing to do with me not wanting to complain because its free, it had more to do with being traumatised and post natal and not strong enough to at the time (and the fact that when I did later the drug charts etc had been falsely signed so it came down to my word against there's anyway and went nowhere!)

baublesandbaileys Wed 28-Nov-12 20:43:28

my experience of a private op in the UK was great at the consultations, the service when I came in, and the op itself, but the post op stuff was downright dangerous. As every single item used was then billed with a profit, they tend to over perscribe and gave me WAY too many drugs!

FreudianLisp Wed 28-Nov-12 20:46:21

YANBU, OP. I'm a clinician working in the NHS. I - and everyone I know - do our very best. We're not perfect, but nobody is. But we try incredibly hard to give our patients the best possible care.

Oblomov Wed 28-Nov-12 20:47:08

I don't bitch. I do complain. My Consultant asked to see my dh and me, so she could apologise.

Backinthebox Wed 28-Nov-12 20:59:45

That NHS is free and available to all in this country is marvellous. I was not too happy with them though when I ended up with a serious iatrogenic infection due to the arrogance of a doctor. Not over the moon either when a surgeon managed to cut through things she shouldn't have done and in the aftermath I was cable-tied by my catheter tube to the bed because I was bothering the nurses by getting out of my bed to go and see my baby after 12 hours of polite requests to be taken to see her. Also not to thrilled when one relative was sent home with a broken leg that hadn't been set despite her being in hospital for 10 days, and another relative had to beg his GP for tests only to discover he had been showing classic cancer symptoms for a year that his GP had ignored.

I am glad they are there to save lives when it's needed but I do think there is need for some improvement. Not everyone has 100% warm glowy feelings after a run in with the NHS.

marriedinwhite Wed 28-Nov-12 21:12:09

Freudianlisp I can sympathise to a degree but does doing their best include recording the correct information in notes (I can't see an excuse for nurses/midwives who are supposed to be degree/masters qualified), speaking to people with basic courtesy, ensuring that basic admin mistakes are not made. The difficulty I have on the sympathy front is that so often when dealing with the NHS I do not see people being busy; I see them gossiping, yacking and doing everything except helping the patients.

A case in point was my recent breast screening appointment for 21st October. It was postmarked 4th October 2012, I had to phone and cancel it because I had had it done privately, ie, I was sent a unilateral appointment. I phoned; I spoke, once speaking I realised the letter said 2011. The lady said "ooh I don't know how that happened but there's a note you didn't attend". FFS!! Likewise my surgery has offered me a healthcheck for the over 50s. They have 30 mins to weigh and measure me with a nurse. They have subcontracted their phlebotomy service to the other service where they expect me to wait in a queue for an hour at least. I am more than capable of weighing an measuring myself; I cannot give myself a blood test for a medical condition I don't have. PRIORITIES, COMMONSENSES, RESPECTING THE TIME OF THE GENERAL PUBLIC, BEHAVING IN A RESPECTFUL WAY TOWARDS OTHERS, BEING BASICALLY EFFICIENT. It isn't on; it really really isn't - it is a shambles and if these people expected to be paid their acts would be sharpened up smartly.

crashdoll Wed 28-Nov-12 21:17:12

CaptainVonTrapp I meant if it was privatised. I'm tired. excuses

marriedinwhite Wed 28-Nov-12 21:21:43

should have said medical condition I don't wish or choose to have.

threesocksmorgan Wed 28-Nov-12 21:25:03

I think the NHS is great.
but I hate that fact nothing is done when doctors/midwives cock up and brain damage your baby.

KarlosKKrinkelbeim Wed 28-Nov-12 21:30:46

I'm a clinician working in the NHS. I - and everyone I know - do our very best. We're not perfect, but nobody is. But we try incredibly hard to give our patients the best possible care. "
This is the sort of platitude whih is incredibly easy to spout but is certainly not borne out by my experience, in a number of areas of the country (I have moved about a lot over the last few years). The NHS is as full of timeservers and freeloaders as any other large entity, with one important difference; nothing seems to be done about them.

baublesandbaileys Wed 28-Nov-12 21:33:50

I must admit that I do hate that noone ever seems to get fired in the NHS, at worst they get relocated (to make another team miserable and drag them down)

Bouncey Wed 28-Nov-12 21:35:17

Yes. Having bitched about late antenatal appointments etc, I had a slightly complicated later pregnancy (waters broke at 34 weeks, dd born 35 weeks, post partum haemorrhage, dd in SCBU for a bit). All this meant a fair bit of hospital time, including a trip to A&E in an ambulance. I was bowled over by the professionalism, dedication and sheer hard work of the doctors, nurses, paramedics, midwives I met.

That said, I can entirely see how tragic mistakes could happen because the medical professionals I met were all working flat out and massively overstretched; It's a miracle they coped with their enormous workload.

AngryGnome Wed 28-Nov-12 21:36:44

I am surprised by how many people are dismissive if the way in which poor or negligent care provided by the NHS can actually change people's lives forever.

By saying "The NHS is a marvellous institution, yes there are bound to be some problems, but these are a rarity" the experiences and lives of these "rare" people who have been seriously affected are hugely undermined.

I was left with permanent spinal damage following childbirth, and my DS with permanent facial scarring. I was in hospital for a long while after the birth, during which DS essential pain and anti-infection meds were forgotten, I was accused of being lazy (lower body paralysis would be a more accurate description). There are lots of other issues I have had threads about before.

I am not disputing that there are pockets of good practice and pockets of bad practice, but to keep championing the NHS as the best model of healthcare is, IMHO, naive and actually not helpful. Yes, I agree that the NHS model is better than the US model - but to pretend that it is either NHS postcode lottery or US style bankruptcy if you are not insured is too simplistic. There has to be a third way, and I have read other posters saying that many European countries, for example, have a different system.

baublesandbaileys Wed 28-Nov-12 21:40:16

because AngryGnome I've seen the fuck ups being more frequent in the other european non free health care system I've lived in, the customer service was also worse

Those things are not happening BECAUSE the NHS is free, they are happening because of other factors WHICH NEED TO BE FIXED but which occur, often more frequently, in countries where you are charged per treatment/admission, so it cannot be because they NHS is "free"(ish)

baublesandbaileys Wed 28-Nov-12 21:43:06

its more to do with a cultural imbalance of power when a patient is sat on front of a HCP, white coat syndrome I think it's called!

white coat syndrome is not a result of there being an NHS, it happens in lots of countries that don't have a NHS

baublesandbaileys Wed 28-Nov-12 21:43:31

and it happens in private health care in the UK too!

AngryGnome Wed 28-Nov-12 21:44:40

so some fuck ups are fine then?

I am probably too close to this to be able to discuss it objectively at the moment, but i have seen and received consistently poor care from the NHS, and so I do not think that it should be championed as it is. It needs reform.

AngryGnome Wed 28-Nov-12 21:47:45

That is interesting baubles about the cultural imbalance of power in medical situations. I know a lot of women who certainly felt very intimidated and didnt speak up as strongly as they felt they should have done at certain times.

White coat syndrome is very real, but i don't think it should be used to excuse clinical errors.

baublesandbaileys Wed 28-Nov-12 21:48:03

no of course not, but I don't believe that the route cause is that the NHS is a NHS and not a billed service!

baublesandbaileys Wed 28-Nov-12 21:51:27

"White coat syndrome is very real, but i don't think it should be used to excuse clinical errors"

no not "excuse" at all, more to explain/explore. I felt much more the silly little woman who can't possibly know more about her own body than the clever doctor man in a non NHS system though which is why I think it's more down to culture than payment system

I also lost my voice a bit in both NHS care and private UK care, when I'm usually stroppy assertive and well able to speak up for myself in other situations. My voice just seems meeker and less important sometimes when in the patient-HCP dynamic and it doesn't matter if its NHS or not!

lisad123 Wed 28-Nov-12 21:51:39

I love the fact we have the NHS but hate that so much that its all about money. My dh cancer was missed for a year because they failed to test at cost. I had three years of pure hell before I refused to move unless referred. Two visits to consultant who knew what to do and I was sorted. Some times people do know what they are feeling and need but sadly GPs are the gateway to services and if yours sucks its horrible sad

Sirzy Wed 28-Nov-12 21:52:33

No fuck ups are fine. But every system will have fuck ups, unfortunately their is no such thing as a perfect health care system.

OpheliaPayneAgain Wed 28-Nov-12 21:55:19

I've always found people slag the NHS as an insitution, not the staff.

The NHS insitution killed my mother, not the staff.

On the other hand I would have had 3 stillborn babies without the NHS.

Different areas have different strengths and weaknesses.

PortoDude Wed 28-Nov-12 21:56:11

Hmm, being in work - and having insurance - in Belgium, the care is fantastic - but you pay and (hopefully) claim most of it back afterwards. I have no idea what you do if you cannot afford the 23 euros to see the GP....

My dd broke her arm last year on holiday in France. We had travel insurance. Still, before they transported her from A&E to the Clinique, where she had her arm reset under GA, I had to give the ambulance men 100 euros. It was lucky I had it on me - I certainly did not need all that stress at that moment in time. The care she received in the hospital though was 2nd to none. Private room, wonderful staff, nice breakfast, camp bed for me. The bill for a one night stay and surgery was nearly 1000 euros. ALWAYS get travel insurance.

On the NHS I think she would have received the same medical treatment - without the trappings- for free.

Dev9aug Wed 28-Nov-12 22:03:15

NHS gives you false hope. If you had no insurance or couldn't pay for it, then you know where you stand with regards to treatment. Instead, you get on an endless run of waiting lists which results in appointments with shockingly rubbish service compared to if you had gone private.

They are great at saving lives. They saved my sons life who was born extremely premature and I am grateful for that, but since then it has been one fuck up after another, so much so that I have decided to completely opt out and go private instead. Now at least I know where I stand and no more cunting waiting lists. and I do realise that I am one of the fortunate ones who could do that.

Dev9aug Wed 28-Nov-12 22:05:09

and what lisad123 said about GP's. Some of them really are beyond useless.

EuroShagmore Wed 28-Nov-12 22:05:42

To answer a question put to me back on page 2 (just logged back in)

EuroShagmore Wed 28-Nov-12 17:47:35
There are other models of healthcare provision that are not the NHS and not the US system. I've lived in two Continental European countries and received healthcare that I considered to be superior to the NHS care without the harshness of the NHS system.

NumericalMum Wed 28-Nov-12 17:49:36
How much did you have to pay for those Euro?

In one example, I had a bladder infection. I knew from past experience that if they hang around for more than a day or so, they will turn into a painful and dangerous kidney infection. In the UK, I would have had to take the next available GP appointment (usually days away) or beg for an emergency same day appointment at whatever time they could fit me in. Where I was I was able to chose a urology/kidney practitioner (somewhere between a GP and a specialist), see them the same day at a time that was convenient to me, have a 40 minute appointment all for around £5-10 (the rest being covered by the equivalent of national insurance subscriptions paid in that country). And there were safety net provisions for people who couldn't pay the small % contribution. Yes, £5-10 is a lot of money to a lot of people (it was to me) but in my view it was worth it for the superior service.

marriedinwhite Wed 28-Nov-12 22:28:16

Actually Porto when my son broke his arm it went like this:

A&E utterly filthy (four hour wait and no pain killers offered until I asked), Xray, temporary plaster from hand to elbow. Arrived 6pm - got home at 2.30am. (he was 6 - 18 now).

Follow up appointment in 11 days.

11 days later told bones had moved and he needed surgery to re-set them (he should never have been left so long in such a short cast when the break was beyond the wrist). No advice had been given that this might happen - no advice given that there was any risk (if there had been I would have made a private referral).

Arm re-broken under GA; cast from tips of fingers to shoulder for minimum of six weeks - ds woke screaming to hear the screams of other patients and a doctor telling him if he was in pain he would insert a pessary up his anus - and yes my 6 year old son knew what that meant and howled.

The lovely hospital stay outlined in post above. Exceptionally rude staff and no explanation provided about why we were not better advised.

DS's friend who broke his arm in Austria was seen by a&e consultant (similar break) and was then reviewed every two days to make sure the bones didn't move. After five days the permanent cast was applied. He was in plaster for a total of six weeks; my ds for a total of 9. The boy in Austria avoided surgery.

When DS's ear drum perforated in the UK we were told oh it's nothing, it's burst, we don't recommend antibiotics - he ended up with a dreadful infection and 8 days off school. When the same thing happened on a ski-ing holiday in Austria he saw the doctor; he was referred to an ENT consultant as is the routine, his ear was cleaned, anti-biotics were prescribed immediately. He was well within 48 hours.

There is in my opinon no comparison whatsoever in either clinical terms or in bedside manner, basic courtesy terms, and I know I would prefer to be in Europe and would not contemplate not having health insurance in the UK. As a family we pay health insurance to the tune of about £300 pcm. I am sure it would probably cost less in Europe yet here I would not want to be without it.

I find it extraordinary that staff at my local private hospital know little simple words like; Mrs, please, thank you, good morning, would you like to take a seat. In the local NHS facilities the staff don't seem to have developed beyond "oi you", "Marriedinwhite - in a busy clinic rising to MAAARRRIED IN WHITE I called you just nah - the doctah's waiting", "wodjya want", "nah, I ain't got no information". They get away with it because they are not dependent on the patient's good will for their revenue and it is an institutional disgrace in my opinion.

whiteandyelloworchid Wed 28-Nov-12 22:33:00

i can't see hwo the nhs can possibly survive in the future, i doubt it will still be here in 60 years

marriedinwhite Wed 28-Nov-12 22:40:49

Oh yes, and lest I forget: baby one - miscarried at 17 weeks - GPs response "did you want it".

Baby two - almost died because the midwife didn't notice the cord was wrapped round his neck and that he was posterior.

Baby three - miscarried at 11 weeks - sonographer's response - "oh was it planned - are you upset"?

Baby four - 27 weeks - died could have been handled better. DH was in court - chief midwife came to see me and gently talked about how difficult my life must be and then got arsy when I told her he was prosectuing - NOT being banged up. Evidently they were worried and had spent a lot of time on it. They could have ready my notes: father's occupation - BARRISTER!

Baby five - fantastic - insisted on consultant only care and got it because I was then regarded as high risk and we paid


Sirzy Wed 28-Nov-12 22:41:48

I find it sad that some people have had such negative experinced

Ds is 3 and has had over 20 trips to a and e about 15 of which have ended up with admissions to the ward. He is also treated at outpatients. The whole peads department is fantastic, perfectly clean (Ds has walked around in bare feet all day and still had clean feet at the end of the day) with domestic staff always in the department, every staff member pulls their weight and nothing is too much for them. Before now the senior sister has gone to pharmacy to pick up meds so we can get home quicker rather than waiting for them to be sent up.

On the other hands some of the parents are down right rude to the staff. I understand parents are worried when children are in hopsital but there is no excuse to f and blind at someone because it has took them too long to get you a bottle of milk.

PortoDude Wed 28-Nov-12 22:45:50

Married shock That is awful! We pay about 150 euros a year, top up - over what we pay in NI to the mutuelle. Each trip to the GP costs about 6 euros after reclaim - takes about a week to get the money back - but I can just turn up and see the GP the same day. If I need referring to a specialist, or for blood tests etc I would normally expect an appointment within one week.

marriedinwhite Wed 28-Nov-12 23:03:12

We are in London. I think it makes a difference to the quality of care. I think the really cutting edge stuff is probably excellent. The day to day bread and butter stuff for which we all pay handsomely is utterly disgraceful and too often delivered in facilities that are frankly woefully inadequate in terms of basic hygiene and basic good manners and communication.

WansteadG Wed 28-Nov-12 23:24:46

in the summer I had a massive asthma attack - drove myself to hospital was too poorly to walk around to A&E so just walked into the hospital - a nurse and a manager saw me - helped me round to A&E (I was turning blue at this stage). Don't talk just thumbs up or thumbs down at reception desk - straight through (nurse told receptionist don't leave her on her own and get a dr immediately. Within seconds a dr was there and put on oxygen, nebuliser and xray - even got a free sandwich - all the staff were absolutely fantastic and basically saved my life. You are all wonderful!!!!!!!

snowtunesgirl Wed 28-Nov-12 23:42:23

OP here. Just got in and will read and respond later. smile

lovebunny Thu 29-Nov-12 00:02:59

dunno. they had my mum on the liverpool care plan without consulting us, four weeks ago. good job the rules changed, eh? they didn't take any notice of what we said about her medication, so for two weeks before lcp, and afterwards, up to three days ago, they were overdosing her with a very potent medicine.

but if they hadn't been there, my daughter would be dead, probably her baby too, my mum would have died hours after i was born and so on. so i'm glad they're there. i just wish they'd listen. and that the nurses weren't mean to my mum. or rude to me - but at least i'm not at their mercy, yet.

Backinthebox Thu 29-Nov-12 08:27:43

The thing is, the NHS is one of the biggest employers in the UK and there are good bits of it and bad bits. It all depends on who you get on the day.

When I broke my leg a couple of years ago, the anaesthetist, plaster technicians and radiographers were fabulous. I actually wrote a letter in to say how good the plaster technicians had been, and the anaesthetist took into consideration that I was still breastfeeding. The consultant was an ignorant sexist pig with appalling bedside manner, no regard for NHS guidelines on supporting breastfeeding mothers and told me to give up my job and hobbies now as I was a cripple now! (Fwiw I am still doing my job, and still go skiing and riding regularly.) The ward staff who told me they couldn't give me any pain control unless I agreed to give up bfing could be better educated too. They still fixed my leg, but it would have been better if they could have done it without unnecessary battles!

Rolf Thu 29-Nov-12 09:42:42

I am proud of the NHS. I've had a few mildly crap experiences and a few very positive ones. These are some of the best things they have done for my family:

My GP referred my DD to CAMHS, and the NHS-funded child psychologist there has truly turned our lives around. Not only that, she has made the school implement strategies that have led to DD changing from being on the cusp of exclusion, to being a happy, engaged pupil.

Wonderful community midwives who rushed to my house (one on her day off) when I had a precipitate labour and delivered my breech baby on the bathroom floor.

An ambulance got me to hospital when I had (another) precipitate labour. They came straight away and got me there just in time.

Took my Dad to hospital when he was dying, and looked after him so beautifully in critical care, that when he died a week later, it was peacefully and with dignity.

I had ok ante natal care for my first 2 children. Then I had a late miscarriage and was very well looked after, including a very helpful post-mortem consultation with my consultant (which my community midwife attended on her day off). I had very vigilant ante natal care, including counselling, in my next pregnancy.

We've kept our local florist in business, buying thank-you flowers grin, and my brother and I wrote to the manager of the critical care unit to thank them. We are really, really lucky in this country. My SIL had a baby in the US around the time my DS1 was born, and my in-laws (who are medics in the US) were blown away at how good the NHS is.

musicposy Thu 29-Nov-12 09:55:45

The staff are usually lovely and I am always incredibly grateful for how friendly and caring they are in what must be a difficult job.

The system is rotten to the core, IMO. too much red tape, too many rules that have to be followed, in a bid to keep costs down, but in the end just escalates them.

Two very recent examples.

A friend's father had a fall. His eyesight is poor and he is waiting for a cataracts appointment to come through. After the fall he was taken into hospital. A few weeks on and he is still there. they are struggling to get him independent enough to go home, particularly as he can't see well and is disorientated.

Whilst in hospital the letter came through at home for the cataracts appointment. he didn't respond as he was in hospital (the same hospital) and missed the response date. Friend contacted them and explained his father was in their hospital and that's why it was missed. They said he now has to go back to his GP and be referred all over again. Friend says, he can't go back to his GP, he's in their hospital. They said there's nothing they can do. This is the most ridiculous system!

Second one. I was referred by my dentist to the hospital for major dental work under GA back in June. I cannot tolerate local except in minute quantities and have too much to be done under local. The PCT took it upon themselves to refer to the sedation place instead, ignoring that I cannot have LA. So i waited 4 months only to find it was an appointment I couldn't take. I had to go back to the start of the system all over again. 7 months on, I am still waiting for a first consultation - not the op, a first consultation at the hospital.

In that time I have had 4 courses of antibiotics because one tooth has a hole right into the root and is getting infected. Dental x rays show that the abcess has started eating into the jaw bone, but because i am not a medical emergency, they cannot do anything until the (second!) referral has gone through the system. Every time I have antibiotics I also get terrible thrush and as I am allergic to most antifungals, that has also taken up loads of doctor time.

Hours of medical time and masses of extra expense has been wasted because of the "system". Because I've been waiting so long without dental treatment, my teeth are getting worse and worse and it is going to be a far longer and more complicated job than if they had done it in June.

I could site so many other examples. I can tell you why the NHS is costing so much money and yet waiting lists are still sky high. I can see it for myself. The system is broken and I cannot see it can continue like this.

OwlLady Thu 29-Nov-12 09:55:52

I am proud of it but I have seen a lot of changes in the last few years regarding referrals and budgets and who will refer to whom and who will prescribe because it comes out of their budget, they wont do it it has to come out of gps, they wont prescribe as it's too expensive
etc etc etc
It should not be my job as a mother and a carer to chase it all up and wade between the politics. I worry about people who don't have parents/relatives or an advocate that can do this for them, it leaves people vulnerable

musicposy Thu 29-Nov-12 10:01:30

This is exactly it, OwlLady. I keep coming across, "we need to do this but we can't because x needs to refer you." Or the GP receptionist who says to me "you can't go to path lab for a blood test, it cost us too much, it has to be done here" despite the fact that every single time they can't get blood out of me and in the end send me to path lab anyway. Thus wasting two medical appointments.

The amount of chasing I have had to do to get a dental referral (which the dentist says I urgently need) through the system is just ridiculous. Hours and hours. Someone old with no advocate would have probably just died of the secondary infections by now. sad

Mooycow Thu 29-Nov-12 10:03:11

I also work for the NHS and I really get annoyed when Mums ask for Calpol or dry skin cream, on prescription because its free, its not free it still costs the NHS millions, go buy some in tescos . In my day we could only get it on prescription, now you can buy loads of stuff at the counter and not even see a medic.

OwlLady Thu 29-Nov-12 10:07:10

I know, that is my worry musicoposy. I had problems getting emergency epilepsy medicine, which is vital and it could prove fatal without it. They wanted to then change the prescription back to an older fashioned drug which compromises dignity if used in public and it was just down to cost. In the end I had to say to my GP, if my daughter has a seizure and goes into status and we have no emergency treatment I will hold the surgery responsible and they prescribed. My GP is LOVELY too, I have no issues with that, it's the too-ing and fro-ing, it's the paeds responsibility, it's the gp's responsibilty, it's x's responsibility. As a patient or advocate for that patient all you want is the end service or medicine, you don't want to be involved in all that. It must be extremely frustrating and upsetting for the staff/nurses/gp/physios/ot's etc etc involved too

Sirzy Thu 29-Nov-12 10:19:50

I agree mooey. The only time I have had calpol from the NHS is when DS (then 2) was prescribed a stronger (6 plus type) when in with pneumonia so it was sent home with the rest of his drugs.

musicposy Thu 29-Nov-12 10:33:51

Maybe we should take all easily and cheaply bought medications off of prescription so only things you can't buy can be prescribed. The doctor could write down exactly what you need to buy from the pharmacist. Lot of medications are so cheap to buy. Maybe that NHS money would be better used elsewhere. I do think things like this will eventually need to change.

The NHS is a great system to have, and built on a great Philiosphy, however people are unaware of the costs of basic treatment, and I think the system gets abused. I watched the programme "Sex and the City" about a GUM clinic in Manchester. I was really shocked at the number of people who get tested and treated for STD's then happily stated that they were going to go back out there and have unprotected sex again and again because they could! One US guy with HIV was regularly having unprotected sex and being treated for Syphilis. If they faced a bill of £300 every time they got an itch, perhaps it would make people sit up and take some responsiblity for their lives in some scenarios.

I moved out of the UK and pay £600 a month in insurance fees for healthcare and accident insurance for my family.

I had to pay higher premiums when we first moved, because my husband and I had slightly higher BMI's than the target range for normal coverage. It also meant that they wouldn't cover all the costs for obesity related illness.

So guess what? We lost weight. And feel so much better for it.

I really wonder how many people in the UK would do the same, knowing that the NHS would still pay for all their treatment regardless. I certainly wouldn't have. So it's actually made me a bit healthier. As part of my healthcare insurance I also get vouchers to use on gym membership and other exercise facilities.

I'm in Switzerland, and the healthcare is fantastic. No-one can be turned down for basic health insurance, and basic has to include the same level of treatment regardless of the Insurance company you select.

i think people only think of the extreme US model, when actually there are great alternatives to this in Germany, France, Switzerland and other countries around Europe.

Peetle Thu 29-Nov-12 12:00:49

It's the gross inefficiency that annoys me. My mother spent a long time at home, bedridden and with daily carer visits. We were told a hospital bed was
coming to make caring for her easier but nothing happened. 6 months later she was in a home and someone turned up to take the bed away - he took some
persuading that we hadn't had a bed in the first place.

The equipment distribution centre, for the whole county, has no asset management system at all - stuff is (or isn't, in our case) loaned out and collected in a completely ad hoc manner. They have no idea how much of what equipment they have or where it is.

Also, having been in hospital with her a few times lately you realise how low a priority anyone over 75 is. You wait hours to be seen, told to go somewhere else and wait hours again. All this time staff are casually strolling around looking important or chatting with each other. I'm sure they are performing a vital function and will pull together in time of crisis but it really doesn't seem like a great sense of urgency.

When the DTs were born we spent three weeks in Nicu, which couldn't have been better. However, DW was in a post-op maternity ward which seemed to operate in direct competition with NICU - contradictory, even combative advice, routines, etc. And lots of nattering, not particularly active staff.

The NHS is one of the things that make me proud to be British, but it could be an awful lot better.

picketywick Thu 29-Nov-12 12:05:08

proud of NHS in many ways. But nothings perfect

JuliaScurr Thu 29-Nov-12 12:07:30

my friend's father just had end of life care on NHS and it was FANTASTIC - there was nothing that could have been made any better for him. All pain/anxiety were controlled, all practical needs met. He kept asking who was paying for it. Well, we all did, including him when he worked for so many years providing for his family including me for a time.

my own care as an MS patient has been very patchy at best, more accurately inadequate sad

quietlysuggests Thu 29-Nov-12 12:21:26

Totally agree that too much is given away free - my DB hs a massive box of strong painkillers gathered over the years of sports injuries.
He heads out Sat, gets a knock, a twisted ankle, dislocated shoulder etc
Off to AE, x ray. strapping, crutches, painkillers all handed to him.
It would not kill him to have to buy some painkillers himself,it really wouldn't and he would not then have a suitcase of them under his bed.
Why does he take them?
They're free and they're handed to him.

joanbyers Thu 29-Nov-12 12:26:30

Well it's not bad. But proud, hmm, not really.

Nursing care can be terrible.

You get so much better care if you are willing to top up, e.g., 'xyz hospital: it will be 3 months for your scan', 'xyz hospital: why certainly we can do that for you tommorrow on the NHS' equipmanet, it will be £200.'

Have 'paid as you go' for a number of things and it doesn't bear comparison I'm afraid. There's invariably a sense on the NHS that they're doing you a favour, especially in walk-in centres.

Vagndidit Thu 29-Nov-12 12:41:25

NHS is bloody brilliant, in my humble American opinion. It has pretty much given me my life back. I avoided seeing doctors in the U.S. for YEARS prior to moving abroad. There are a few conditions that I've since been diagnosed and treated for here by NHS doctors (namely thyroid issues and hypertension). Had I pursued treatment back home, it would have lead to instant labeling of having "pre-existing conditions" and I would have been presented with massive health insurance costs or complete denial of insurance coverage all together in some cases.

There will come a day when DH's job contract here will end and we'll return to the U.S. to face the music. I can only imagine the skyrocketing health insurance premiums we'll face sad

babydude Thu 29-Nov-12 12:59:49

joanbyers - thats great if you can afford it, but there's a lot of people who just can't afford that extra £200 top up.

joanbyers Thu 29-Nov-12 13:04:31

Indeed not, hence why I'm not writing any paeans of praise to the NHS....

Mandy21 Thu 29-Nov-12 13:16:02

Fantastic in my experience. Yes I know there are failings, as there would be in any other walk of life with the number of people that are treated, and there are definitely real issues (desperate your situation is terribly sad and unforgivable from the NHS) but I think (in true British style) we only report the failings / poor performance, not the achievements.

I had twins at 27 weeks - could have lost both of them but had 1st class service from the NHS both in terms of their time on SCBU and follow up care.
My H has also had cancer - once when he was 23 and then it came back 6 years later. The first time he needed an op (and follow up treatment), the second time he was in The Christie for 3 months. They were wonderful. He's still seen regularly and yes, sometimes the appointments are re-arranged, sometimes he has to wait for a while, but is it a real hardship? No.

I have the NHS to thank for my family so yes, definitely something to be proud of.

CaptainVonTrapp Thu 29-Nov-12 13:21:45

lovebunny a system that saved your baby and also treated you with respect and cared for your Mum with dignity would be so much better though... I am not proud of a system that only achieves one of the above.

Clearly there are alternatives out there - without focusing on the American model which seems to be as flawed as the one we have.

weegiemum Thu 29-Nov-12 13:22:51


My dh is a GP contractor with them and I know how bloody hard he works. Next week he leaves home on we'd evening and I'll see him the following Tuesday as he's working in a rural area and it's his night on call. He cares so much about his patients.

As for me, on Christmas eve last year I got out of bed, took about 7 steps then fell on the stairs. I had lumbar puncture, CT scan, MRI, ultrasound, nerve conduction tests, x-rays, diagnosis by a specialist neurologist ( after they took, I kid you not, TWENTY SEVEN vials of blood!).

I've got a rare nerve condition. The only thing that helps is an immunological drip that comes in at £7,800 per month. After it I can walk, write, type, sew, talk, have pelvic sensation ( think about what that means!!)

I bloody love the NHS!!

gloomywinters2 Thu 29-Nov-12 13:42:17

I,m glad we have a NHS as i simply woulde,t be able to afford it every body deserves a right to be cared for money should not come into it.

realcoalfire Thu 29-Nov-12 13:46:05

Then funding of the NHS and the quality of service are largely 2 separate issues.

Spero Thu 29-Nov-12 13:58:09

I was diagnosed with breast cancer on 25th Oct. I had an operation on 22nd November and hopefully I will be fine. Between diagnosis and op I had two ultrasound scans and an MRI. When in hospital I was treated with enormous kindness and respect from everyone I encountered. I shudder to think how much I would have had to pay as an individual, or how high my insurance premiums would have been without it.

I have very little patience for people who slag off the NHS. Not only had it saved my life, it has allowed me to enjoy the rest of it without facing financial ruin.

LadyWellian Thu 29-Nov-12 14:20:53

As this is in DOTD, perhaps those who are in favour of the NHS would like to visit my thread in Chat here. It mainly affects people who live in SE London but there's also an important point of principle as regards whether one NHS trust can be penalised for the failings of another.

snowtunesgirl Thu 29-Nov-12 14:34:01

Goodness me, I didn't know this was one of the DOTD!

I'm at work at the mo so can't reply in length!

baublesandbaileys Thu 29-Nov-12 14:43:22

"Have 'paid as you go' for a number of things and it doesn't bear comparison I'm afraid. There's invariably a sense on the NHS that they're doing you a favour, especially in walk-in centres"

but in a pay as you go system you can get a terrible "well if you don't it you are free to take your custom elsewhere" attitude. Example:
Very young friend of mine, pregnant, wanted to refuse a certain intervention. Nurses warned her that if she did question the consultant, he would not admit her under his care if she had any problems later in the pregnancy, and she would have to find someone else to see her - not so easy since she lived nowhere near a big city where there was choice for consumers! So she had the proceedure that she didn't want and rightly questioned sad. Because if she didn't like it she could take her buisness else where!

LimburgseVlaai Thu 29-Nov-12 14:47:07

I have had some good service from the NHS, but also some bad experiences. Haven't we all?

But to say people have to be 'proud' of it seems a bit odd. Other European countries have cleaner, more modern facilities, shorter waiting lists and better outcomes. The image of the NHS abroad is that it is old fashioned, inefficient and grubby.

And remember the NHS is *not free*: everybody pays through National Insurance contributions.

JugglingWithPossibilities Thu 29-Nov-12 14:50:26

Yes, I think we're lucky and good to know the NHS is always there for you and your loved ones, especially perhaps in emergencies.

But in my experience, as both a student nurse and as a patient (well having my two babies !) I do think the NHS could be more efficient and effective. Maternity services in particular need improving so that women are really well supported especially in the first hours and days with their babies in post-natal wards and/or at home.

Spero Thu 29-Nov-12 14:52:11

NHS has been free to me - no way will my national insurance contributions ever make a dent in what they have paid for me over the years. But that has enabled me to be a happy and involved member of society - hold down a job, raise a child etc. It does make me immensely proud that I live in a society that didn't just throw me on the scrap heap when I was born disabled or expect me to find tens of thousands of pounds for life saving treatment.

I think a lot of these criticisms sound a bit petty to me. I owe the NHS my entire life.

AndrewD Thu 29-Nov-12 14:56:00

My wife is an NHS consultant so I am totally biased. People forget that the NHS does NOT cost taxpayers too much. As a % of GDP it costs about the average of all OECD countries. However, it's one of the only "free at the point of need" services in the world. It's a myth that it is wildly inefficient and that private markets would do it cheaper better faster. Healthcare costs in the US are more than double the rest of the world and that isn't because they have better healthcare - it's because it's mostly insurance companies and private clinics.

The best thing politicians could do is leave the whole thing alone for 10 years. Stop pressing for changes again and again and let doctors get on with keeping us healthy and alive.

(rant over)

larrygrylls Thu 29-Nov-12 15:07:42

I just have no idea why anyone would be "proud" of the NHS. It does a job, in some areas excellently and in some areas absolutely shockingly badly. And, it is not especially cheap. Its only plus is the oft quoted "free at the point of delivery".

Personal experiences:

2 days PICU for one of our children when they were a tiny baby. Phenomenally good. Could not fault care or attitude. I suspect we would not have one of our children without them.

The birth of both of my children. Neither good, one ended in GA EMCS and the other in instrumental delivery. Many things could have been done to ensure a better experience and possibly avoid the instrumental delivery altogether. In addition, there was not even a room on the labour ward for my wife's VBAC so the notes read "not in established labour" 10 mins before the pushing stage and 30 mins before an emergency rush to theatre (never actually saw the labour ward).

My mother, mid 70s, just diagnosed with cancer, still undergoing tests. Only referred for a scan when she insisted she had private cover. Otherwise, in great pain, would still probably be being treated with antacids. Shocking way to treat someone elderly and in a great deal of acute pain.

One of my mother's friends, mid 50s, died of ovarian cancer. Diagnosed very late in the day due to ascites. Dead in great pain 5 months later. V poor palliative care.

Aside from personal experience, you only need to read the testimony of nurses (on MN amongst many places) who are too busy to give proper care. And look at the outcomes from most serious diseases, a long way from the best outcomes in the Western World.

It is this blind faith and "pride" in an expensive and average-at-best institution which prevents people demanding proper healthcare for a first world country, especially for the elderly and pregnant.

Pictureperfect Thu 29-Nov-12 15:08:03

My prescription was picked up today £200 of drugs which I got for free.
I am very proud of the nhs but there needs a big shake up and not just for the sake of change which seems to happen a lot. Being a long term patient it is so hard having to fight non stop and be turned down for things that help but its a million times better than over countries. We all know someone who had a serious problem abroad and were refused an ambulance or treatment before they could prove they could pay, here non of us think 'they say I need an MRI but if I have it we will lose our house'.

JugglingWithPossibilities Thu 29-Nov-12 15:09:07

In my experience though as a student nurse I'm not sure they really get the most from their student nurses and junior nurses. It all seems too doctor led to me and I think would benefit from recognising everyone as (potential) skilled practitioners - all working as a team to give person centred care to patients.

valiumredhead Thu 29-Nov-12 15:10:20

Completely disagree I have had some extended spells in hospital and they have been shocking experiences.

Pictureperfect Thu 29-Nov-12 15:11:30

As I say this though I'm texting a friend whose medical parents (thank god) are removing their daughter from hospital as there is no doubt the hospital will kill her through lack of nutrition (BMI 11 and they keep 'forgetting' to get feed in for her and an elderly neighbour (both on tube feeds) sad

snowtunesgirl Thu 29-Nov-12 15:11:44

OP here. I think the DOTD subtitle has given this thread a slightly different slant which wasn't my intention. I didn't ask if people were proud of the NHS, I said that I was glad to have it despite it's imperfections.

Spero Thu 29-Nov-12 15:14:01

And despite it's imperfections, I am very proud of it.

snowtunesgirl Thu 29-Nov-12 15:30:06

Actually, you know what Spero, I AM proud that we have it! smile

My GMIL had a fall a couple of weeks ago and she broke her hip. She had it replaced within two days and is currently recuperating in a home after a short stay on a ward. She is 101 and has been treated with absolute respect.

I am not discounting the bad experiences on here as I myself have had them but I would still rather have the NHS than not.

nemno Thu 29-Nov-12 15:35:41

I want to praise the NHS but really I can't. This year has seen my family endure health care at its worst (whilst acknowledging it is at least some sort of healthcare). The systems in place from seeing GP to being referred to specialists to being treated are unbelievably lengthy and bureaucratic and in my family's case have caused immeasurable distress and poor health outcomes.

Some individuals within the system are outstanding but even more are not. Some departments are great once you finally get under their remit but the getting there can be horrendous.

It is embarrassing having to describe the care that my family get/have got to my german side of the family and when they visit us in hospital they are appalled.

And my last rant is about the great palliative care that supposedly makes euthanasia unnecessary here. What a joke.

Aboutlastnight Thu 29-Nov-12 15:45:43

I work for the OOH service.

I would say the system is used an abused by the 'walking well,' people who could easily wait to see their own GP, visit the pharmacist for advice..

It's never the 92 year old lady who is having dizzy spells and is vomiting while on the phone who complains.

It's always the 36 year old man with earache or a sore throat who rages because they have to wait for a three hour callback. It's usually after you've called an ambulance for an elderly person who ' didn't want to bother you.'

I think it's fantastic that we have access to healthcare 24 hrs, but it is soooo taken for granted.

XBenedict Thu 29-Nov-12 15:48:52

I am extremely proud of being part of the NHS. Yes it's not perfect but it's a fantastic service around here. I am currently on a Return to Nursing course and have just completed 200 unpaid hours - and I'd do it again if I could afford it! I loved it. Nursing has changed, some for the good, some for the worse (paperwork!!!!) but the care on my ward is really impressive.

I have used the NHS as a patient and as a relative and again no complaints.

DH is a GP and the hours he works are incredible and when he's not working he spends a lot of time studying! He is wiped out when he gets home but he loves his job.

Lilymaid Thu 29-Nov-12 15:48:53

Positive - treatment of DS last year after he presented at A&E with what he thought was a sports injury and turned out to be a form of leukaemia. I can't praise the hospital's oncology unit more - lovely kind people looking after him and DH and me. DS now back enjoying student life and receiving £30k worth of drugs per year at no charge to him.
Negative - death of DF last year where the first we knew that he had actually died was a message from the ward "when can we move the body to the morgue?" Fortunately, the admin person at the morgue was very kind and helpful, but the indifference of the ward staff was deeply hurtful especially as DF had contracted C-diff whilst in their ward!

Spero Thu 29-Nov-12 16:43:04

I am sorry to hear some people have had horrible experiences. Of course, it happens and no one is blind to that or thinks it doesn't matter.

But the concept of the NHS - the way it saved my parents because they didn't have to take the burden of my care all by themselves, the way it has quickly and efficiently removed the cancer that would have killed me. Without demanding that I put the money up front or pay for years into very expensive insurance policies.

The concept is fantastic. I do not understand why you can't be proud of that, while working all the time to be more efficient etc.

AmberSocks Thu 29-Nov-12 16:44:21

im not sure.

I am glad its there,but in other countries,for instance Japan,you pay health insurance through your work and you get a much better service,and its tailored to you.

We both have private health care(through dh at work else we wouldnt of bothered)and the difference in how you are treated is amazing when you are a private patient,which is wrong!We do pay for it even on the nhs,our taxes pay for it!

Spero Thu 29-Nov-12 16:54:33

Well thats lovely for workers in Japan - what do the self or unemployed do?

XBenedict Thu 29-Nov-12 16:55:56

But it's free at the point of delivery - that's the best bit about it but in some ways also it's downfall.

AmberSocks Thu 29-Nov-12 17:13:56

well theres certainillnesses and diseaes where the government pays 70 per cent.

the thing is over here we are used to things being the wayy they are,in other countries where there isnt free health care they have to work or find spme way of making money,and they know this,so people do.

we definitley have a sense of entitlement in this country.

snowtunesgirl Thu 29-Nov-12 17:31:44

No they don't. Please see what I said upthread about how many Americans have to declare bankruptcy due to not having a high enough level of insurance.

DyeInTheEar Thu 29-Nov-12 17:34:57

Desperate I'm so sorry for your loss - your post made devastating reading.

OP YABU. I get pretty annoyed that the NHS is treated like some revered national treasure. We are allowed to say it's crap when it's crap. Just as we can say how lucky we are that we don't get a bill for £30k when our child has an accident.

The NHS can be amazing. My GP was today, and I told her as much and thanked her for making extra effort on my behalf. But she had to make that extra effort because I went to see her because my MWives didn't do their jobs properly.

baublesandbaileys Thu 29-Nov-12 17:40:18

"and they know this,so people do" no they don't! my god no they don't, and you don't have to travel far off the tourist trail in the USA to see it sad

and to the poster that mentioned japanese workers paying through work, Japan has a REDICULOUSLY high unemployment problem! far far far worse than here! (with a suicide rate to match) so that's nice for the lucky few workers hmm?

jen127 Thu 29-Nov-12 17:41:47

Let me say I live in Ireland and If I want to see a GP today I can - for the cost of 50e, same cost for my DS(10) and anyone else.
I have private insuance which will pick up half of that cost.
Prescriptions are full cost. I had a kidney infection whilst pregnant and the antibiotics cost me 96euro!
So whilst the Nhs is not perfect it is superior to the service available in other countries.

AmberSocks Thu 29-Nov-12 17:42:02

oh right so just beecause you say they do that means they do?my husband lived in america for years and most people there make it a priority.

if they dont,then its their own fault.

snowtunesgirl Thu 29-Nov-12 17:44:50

Dye er, I've also said that the NHS can be bad AND good. Where did I say that people aren't allowed to complain about it?

DyeInTheEar Thu 29-Nov-12 17:49:29

show your thread title implies we don't have the right to slag off the NHS. Apologies if I've missed when you've qualified this. Because I think we do have the right to be critical of the NHS and that we can complain about the NHS which is why I plonked on the YABU side of the fence.

snowtunesgirl Thu 29-Nov-12 17:50:22

Amber, I suggest you Google: We are the 99%.

I am basing my knowledge on reported facts such as from Newsnight, articles in papers instead of just the experience of one example.

So are you saying the minimum waitress who gets injured and then afterwards has a pre-existing condition which means that her insurance premium is too high for her to afford has brought it on herself and it's "her fault"? hmm

baublesandbaileys Thu 29-Nov-12 17:52:36

FFS Amber, everyone who finds themselves in poverty or unemployed "deserves" it?

snowtunesgirl Thu 29-Nov-12 17:53:53

Dye, there was a very important "some" in the title.

I'm a firm believer in constructive complaints as only then can things improve.

DyeInTheEar Thu 29-Nov-12 17:54:41

That's fair! smile

AmberSocks Thu 29-Nov-12 17:55:44

not deserves it,but if you know you are not entitled to free health care then you make it a priority to be able to afford it.

scottishmummy Thu 29-Nov-12 18:00:33

utter rot.yiu see the disadvantaged,ill,and marginalised never get the breaks
they dont have a level playing field to pull self together and make opportunity
a liberal society humanely deals with doesn't just leave folk to fend alone

baublesandbaileys Thu 29-Nov-12 18:00:47

Yeah. Or you eat? hmm

scottishmummy Thu 29-Nov-12 18:06:13

how does someone with chronic illness make it a priority to be able to afford health care?

MadBusLady Thu 29-Nov-12 18:15:42

YABU. If we took this reverence to its logical conclusion, no-one would ever complain or grumble and the service would never improve. How do you distinguish between "constructive criticism" and "slagging off"? Does a bad experience have to involve death before we solemnly allow that the complaint about it is justified?

Your friend with the tonsilitis makes a point about the occasionally insane bureaucracy regarding temporary residence that, sadly, I recognise from my experiences and those of friends. As someone under 35 with chronic conditions who has mostly lived in urban areas, I have mostly rented, have moved around a lot, changed doctors a lot, and frequently found myself in need of treatment miles from where I am registered. I don't drive, so walk-in centres are a problem for me. Both DP and I have had problems with the residence thing several times, and different surgeries seem to have different policies on it. It's a pain in the arse and there's no logical reason why it should be like that.

I don't think this is the end of the world, or a sign that the NHS should be dismantled, but nor do I think there's any problem with flagging it up. Whether or not it's "only" in connection with tonsilitis.

Faxthatpam Thu 29-Nov-12 18:18:41

This whole argument will soon become irrelevant, as this government is determined to pull the NHS apart, piece by piece. And we are just sleepwalking into it. When this has happened, and the NHS - and it's founding principle of healthcare free at the point of use - is gone, I fully expect we will all be wishing we had fought harder to hold onto it...sad.

Alisvolatpropiis Thu 29-Nov-12 18:18:50

It's really not that simple Amber. The reality for some in America is that they have to choose between health insurance or feeding their children. That's employed people.

You realise in America that people deliberately commit crimes so they can be sent to prison and receive treatment for illnesses/medical issues like cancer,diabetes,crohns etc because prisons have to provide treatment for inmates? Can you imagine how desperate a person must be to do that?

But of course,they "deserve it" for having a blue collar job/not having the foresight to see they'd be made unemployed and be unable to afford to keep up the payments.


cinders005 Thu 29-Nov-12 18:23:56

Understand to a point op. I certainly wouldn't publically go around slagging off NHS like your friend. After all my dd probably wouldn't be alive if it wasn't for my emergency csection.
However, that is not to say that individuals don't make grave errors.
A younf father of 3 I know recently died of cancer. He had syomptons for ages and GP diagnosed hernia. By the time they realised it was too late.
My mum also had a serious heart condition which was again not diagnosed until it was too late.
Also lost a sister to lung cancer which again GP's faoiled to diagnose.
So, no, it is not perfect but is perhaps better than other systems overall.

baublesandbaileys Thu 29-Nov-12 18:25:08

what faxthapam said sad
it's very scary!

I'm shocked at the amt of posters not distinguising between rightly complaining about sub standard incidents, and slating the whole concept of the NHS sad

cinders005 Thu 29-Nov-12 18:25:28

really must preview my posts.

baublesandbaileys Thu 29-Nov-12 18:26:20

"However, that is not to say that individuals don't make grave errors"

individuals make errors in all health systems
there are absolute shits who shouldn't be let near people working in all systems

uggmum Thu 29-Nov-12 18:29:33

I do think that in this country we are very lucky to have the nhs and I have had some very good experiences.

However, some people 'slag' off the nhs with good reason and just because you have had good experiences doesn't mean everyone else should agree with you.

I was very ill a few years ago. At the height of the swine flu epidemic. I was mis- diagnosed with swine flu. As a result I was denied treatment and left at home to truly suffer for weeks. I made 11 calls to my doctor and nhs direct and on each occasion they stuck to their diagnosis and refused to see me as I was in quarantine at home. I begged them for help and steadily declined over a period of a month. Eventually, my doctor eventually listened( after I insisted that bloods were taken). I was so ill had septaecemia and liver failure. The blood results came in and they sent an ambulance to the house and took me to hospital.

I was placed on a isolation ward for 3 weeks, I did receive treatment but the actual 'care' I received was appalling and worse than many third world countries. You wouldn't believe me if I described it.

I was eventually moved to a private hospital and I made a good recovery.
My doctor launched an investigation and lessons were learnt. But a more vulnerable person would not have survived.

So yes, the nhs can be great but it can also fail you when you need it most.

MoreBeta Thu 29-Nov-12 18:30:15

I am proud that the UK acts like a civilised nation and that almost universally everyone believes access to healthcare is a basic right regardless of wealth. I am horrified by the US system.

There are some extremely hard working dedicated and actually world class people in the NHS too.

What I am far less proud of is the crushing bureacracy, waste, inefficiency, laziness, utter ignorance and indifference shown to patients by the organization itself.

Dontbesodramatic Thu 29-Nov-12 18:30:32

I always defend the NHS when others complain but I had a horrible experience last night. Dirty waiting areas we dealt with but to sit in a cubicle with an overflowing hazards bin full of other people's blood full swabsconfused

baublesandbaileys Thu 29-Nov-12 18:32:07

"I am proud that the UK acts like a civilised nation and that almost universally everyone believes access to healthcare is a basic right regardless of wealth"

not the vibe I'm getting from this thread sad, seems quite a few posters who would prefer a direct insurance based system sad

MadBusLady Thu 29-Nov-12 18:41:17

I'm shocked at the amt of posters not distinguising between rightly complaining about sub standard incidents, and slating the whole concept of the NHS

True, but I think that's mostly because they're responding to the original post, which didn't really distinguish between those two things either.

I see the OP subsequently did concede that constructive criticism was fine, but it sounds to me like that's exactly what the friend with the tonsilitis was doing - unless he also went off into a rant about the inherent superiority of insurance-based systems that has not been recorded here.

As long as some people read every specific criticism as an attack on the whole idea of the NHS, and as long as other people read every defence of the principle of the NHS as being a defence of every single thing it does, we'll have stalemate.

baublesandbaileys Thu 29-Nov-12 18:46:24

madbuslady, some individual examples on here are directly followed with something like "if you paid as you go you'd get better service than that"

so it's not "reading into" it, that is what people are saying! they are blaming the individual incidents on the fact that we have a NHS system.

MadBusLady Thu 29-Nov-12 18:51:52

baubles Yes, but the OP is effectively saying something similar in reverse - that her mate with the tonsilitis shouldn't "slag off" the NHS because the concept is wonderful, even though it sounds to me like he has a legitimate specific complaint.

Stalemate, as I said.

Ellypoo Thu 29-Nov-12 19:06:33

I'm so grateful for the NHS, and it genuinely scares me that this government are closing specialist units left, right and centre, and focussing on money & managers rather than frontline staff and saving/helping people.

baublesandbaileys Thu 29-Nov-12 19:55:11

but is it not fair to say that the OPs friends shouldn't slag off the NHS, which is a system/concept, but should slag off/complain about the individual department/individuals?

Aboutlastnight Thu 29-Nov-12 19:58:44

I really, really don't think op's pal had a bad deal there. He is a temporary resident, he was seen by a doctor at a walk in clinic. He only had tonsillitis which sure is miserable and needs to be treated, but he is not a priority.

People expect the NhS to be like McDonalds. They expect service NOW and dpn't seem to understand that the only reason they have to wait is because people with more serious health problems need to be seen ahead of them.

And yet, people ca blue light ambulances and then ask if it can stop so they can get some fags on the way to hospital, they miss OOH appts and then demand another and are furious that they have to wait.

The NHS is not perfect - I know from the care my grandad received how bloody frustrating it can be - but some people do not respect it at all.

snowtunesgirl Thu 29-Nov-12 19:58:51

Right, basically my friend said: The NHS is shit because of what I wrote in my OP. I said that I was sorry for his bad experience but on the whole the NHS does good stuff.

What I was trying to say to my friend is basically what baubles above said.

snowtunesgirl Thu 29-Nov-12 20:07:07

Yes aboutlastnight, my friend was saying that he was, in his words, "extremely ill" and might not make it to the walk-in clinic. However, he WAS well enough to walk to the walk-in clinic and provide a running commentary on FB.

notmydog Thu 29-Nov-12 20:26:38

I completely agree. Tomorrow will be our last day on medical insurance in our country because we cannot afford it anymore. I now have to hope and pray none of us ends up seriously ill or in hospital, as our state hospitals are horrible.

snowtunesgirl Thu 29-Nov-12 20:34:49

Sorry to hear that notmydog. sad Wishing you good health!

Mandz07 Thu 29-Nov-12 23:07:33

I totally agree with you the nhs may not be the greatest however I am happier knowing that if my children are ill or any one for that matter I do not have to worry about them being allowed treatment. I would hate to have to check paperwork while someone I loved was suffering x

Yes (in asnwer to thread title)

At this time of night, that is all I am capable of saying wink.

Or not so capable, as it may be: answer

MyBaby1day Fri 30-Nov-12 03:14:54

I think you are right to a point but having been in hospital just 3 weeks ago it resembled more of a filthy hell-hole and it VASTLY needs to improve. Yes o.k. in some countries things are worse and in America you have to pay but other than the drugs the NHS is rubbish in many ways. Uncaring staff, being treated like you're on a production line and don't get me started on the waiting lists. This includes NHS Dental care too. Although I do know of people who complain about private care which is also worrying. Very sad sad

VestaCurry Fri 30-Nov-12 05:25:08

I am very glad we have it. I have had some superb experiences - caring, insightful doctors and brilliant nurses with awesome people skills.
Equally, I've had some very frightening experiences which were due to staff shortages, leading to mine and one of my dc's lives being in serious danger.
Then there have been just frustrating experiences, which were down to staff not doing their job properly.

Flatasawitchestit Fri 30-Nov-12 05:33:45

I'm glad we have it and worry it isn't going to last.

I am a midwife so hear people complaining a lot, I've had less than perfect care myself (undiagnosed tumour was one cock up) but I still wouldn't be without it.

amyboo Fri 30-Nov-12 05:55:00

I think the NHS is good in principle, but a bit like privatised train travel, the reality is not quite as good... But it isn't like the only alternative to the NHS is the US system either. I live in Belgium, where the quality and, just as importantly, the availability of healthcare services is excellent. No waiting lists to see specialists, you simply make an appointment directly with the specialist concerned, no referral required. We don't pay expensive medical insurance, but we do pay towards the costs of seeing GPs and other doctors in consultations. Most hospital treatment is fully paid for, but if you want a single room for example, you have to pay a bit towards it.

As someone who has suffered a stillbirth and now am mid way theough a high risk pregnancy, I've been amazed how quickly I've been treated by the various specialists involved - something which I really don't think would be happening if I were in the UK simply because of the way the referral system works.

larrygrylls Fri 30-Nov-12 09:04:42

"I am very glad we have it. I have had some superb experiences - caring, insightful doctors and brilliant nurses with awesome people skills.
Equally, I've had some very frightening experiences which were due to staff shortages, leading to mine and one of my dc's lives being in serious danger."

This kind of post is so common on this thread. Why, oh why, are you very glad we have a service which is SO POOR it has endangered your and one of your children's lives?! The UK is a first world country with really quite expensive health. As long as people are grateful for the fact that we actually have medical staff who can save lives, the NHS will never get better.

People have to understand that modern medicine will save lives, no matter under what system and, although we should be happy for that, we should be no happier than the fact that we can watch good quality television on a modern television set. There are many better systems than the NHS and, even under the current system, there are many ways of doing it better. Those who love and are proud of the NHS should read this thread critically and see what experiences people have really had.

GhostShip Fri 30-Nov-12 09:51:02

I am eternally grateful for the NHS, I really am. I'd be dead now. Or in hundred of thousands of pounds of debt.

We all have our bad experiences, like everything, it isn't perfect. Which a lot of is down to money. But we are so lucky to have it.

GhostShip Fri 30-Nov-12 09:53:23

larrygrylls - because we have no other choice? Because we aren't bitter? because we know it's not the front line people's faults?

If we have had superb experiences, but also bad, we should still be able to praise those good experiences.

But I suppose thats just my view, because I'm not ungrateful.

CaptainVonTrapp Fri 30-Nov-12 09:59:47

sounds like uggmum was close to death yet still describes herself as 'lucky'. Shes not alone on here in having had a terrible experience but still thinking we should stick with the NHS.

I wonder just what it would take for some people to say "theres some much better systems out there, I think a change would be better" instead of insisting its great, throwing good money after bad and dismissing the (all too frequent) horror stories as inevitable.

grovel Fri 30-Nov-12 10:02:13

Ghostship, I'm grateful that we live in a country with a "free" NHS. I am grateful to the wonderful people who work in it.

I am also furious about the inefficiency of the NHS which allows for some of the problems people have encountered. I am furious too that the NHS don't sort out their bad apples until something awful forces it too.

For the same money the NHS could be so much better.

larrygrylls Fri 30-Nov-12 10:05:02


The problem with "free at source" is it feels "free" and who wouldn't be grateful for someone saving one's life and charging nothing. It is one of those thinking flaws which behavioural economics deals with. Sunk money does not feel like money and we only think of the fees in the present tense.

And politicians and especially health service managers shamelessly exploit the above with stories of how the health service saved their lives. As if in the rest of Western Europe people are just allowed to die.

CaptainVonTrapp Fri 30-Nov-12 10:15:57

totally agree larry but are you talking to grovel?

It also works the other way round I think. Some providers have the sense that their patients are 'getting it for free' so don't bother with good standards of care or even manners.

Note 'some' - I take my hat off to some NHS employees but often their jobs are made impossible by the rotten apples that don't seem to have any accountability.

mam29 Fri 30-Nov-12 10:21:56

Im not sure nhs can go on like it is to be honest

I have seen good and bad.

fil treated badly and died in hospital.
recently granda given drugs which should have been due to previous medical conditiion resulting in early death-hospital/gps incompetant luckily much of his palative care. was nhs funded but in hospice attached to private hospital.

A family freind whos prostate cancer was missed then he was diagnosed with parkinsons then his family ended up spending £3000 of own money asdrug was availiable in england but not i wales such a postcode lottory.

Talking of wales they get free prescriptions hows that fair?

Blood tests taking 8weeks!

I had 1st born in hospital delivery suite was ok but postnatal ward was truly scary and dire,
Got home was very ill and gp wouldent come out to see me until midwife made a fuss.

gps-mixed some good some bad but need to book 3weeks+to get appointment with decent doctor. so bit of a nightmare as get crap one they do nothing and not very child freindly.

However the 2gps who are designated to homebirth visits and infants jabs are good.

Had 2nd at home -midwife dident make it in time

999 were fab
2ambulances arrived within 10mins.
midwife arrrived half hour after birth many live miles away so its luck of whos on call.

I did see much less of midwives with 2nd/3rd dident really feel special.

I had complications in pregnancy with 1st 2 and the antenatal care at hospital was good. However we did mot have nhs free scans at 12weeks with nhs so went with bupa womens health which was fab really made us feel listened to.

I have few freinds who had awful biths/maternity care.

I even looked into private but a private maternity hospital just not possible outside londonsad

There are independant midwives but they not allowed to operate within hospitals.

we went private for kids jabs as nhs only offered mmr why they cant offer a choice god knows.

we used to have private cover through dhs work but we never used it plus labour added tax so was costing us 800quid a in year which wa sa free perk when he started.

I dont think health insurance should be taxed.

If i could pay to see a gp i would.

nhs walkin centres waste of time and in obscure places.

out of gps -ok better than current gps
helath visitor good but see lost whinging about them from others I think im just lucky with that one.

I have freinds who ork in nhs and theres so much waste .

Also they shut down perfect;y good hospitals build brand new ones with pfi and less beds.

The decsion to close our nearest is just about selling off land for housing and will cost lives.

Our 2trusts merging into super trusts which find very dissapointing.

I think we should make insurance more affordable not have us system.

so that the very wealthy who can afford it go private and eases burden on nhs.

I think many now would agree that they wanta reasonably prices private market.

so if I have sick child I can get a gp appointment without a battle.

Im just fed up of the battling for good service
being treated like neurotic mother.

larrygrylls Fri 30-Nov-12 10:29:11


We have had one superb experience with the NHS (St George's PICU) and they deserve all the praise heaped upon them. But so many bad experiences, especially pregnancy, childbirth, the elderly, palliative care...I have mentioned just a few in a post above.

It seems that when people cannot use money to buy care, they use knowledge and ability to shout. I am not sure it is any fairer. It seems to me that those who have time to research, people to look after them and shout when things go wrong do so much better than the old and alone, or the shy and diffident.

And again there are some wonderful docs and nurses but not in that bunch are the doctor who refused to put down her clutchbag (she was obviously dragged off break) while attempting and failing to put a line into our seriously ill 5 weak old son, or the midwife who told my wife off when she asked for help in picking our newborn up for feeding one day after a C section. Also not in line for the pride of Britain award are the team at The Royal Free who left my 81 year old father to sleep in a chair (or rather, not sleep) for 3 days over a weekend as there was no one on duty to prescribe a simple diuretic after congestive heart failure. Or the marvelous docs many years ago who told my mother she was a hysterical woman when she had a burst ectopic and was 15 minutes from bleeding out. I could keep going with the list of heroic failures of our marvelous NHS.

People need to wake up. Most I know who have experienced care abroad are amazed by the cleanliness of the hospitals and the care they have received. The NHS defends itself using the strawman of appalling or expensive medical care overseas, hoping that 90% of its "clients" will not have actually experienced it and so be able to contradict them.

JugglingWithPossibilities Fri 30-Nov-12 10:44:05

I'd sing the praises of St. Georges too for enabling me to have a water birth with my first, DD, in 1999. Night I spent on post-natal ward gets a fail though as I asked if someone could keep an eye on my new bundle whilst I went to the bathroom and pretty much got a "no, she'll be fine" as an answer. It was the way it was said that I found so unhelpful. This is a post-natal ward, first 24 hrs of being a mother, where's the friendly reassurance ?! That was all I needed but it wasn't available. I just share in the hope that maternity services can be improved - just a little more in resources and training, especially on post-natal wards, would make so much difference.

amillionyears Fri 30-Nov-12 10:51:20

The more that parts of my family, live and work abroad, the more I am grateful for the NHS.

AndrewD Fri 30-Nov-12 12:59:05

Find me a business with 60 million customers and no complaints.

Show me a more efficient and cheaper healthcare system in the rest of the world.

Find me a large organisation that got better because its finances were starved and systems changed every 2-3 years.

For those in London, the NHS budget is going to be cut by another 30%. Do you really want that? It will finish off the job that Thatcher started, Blair promoted and Cameron smirks about.

Wave bye bye the NHS.

I don't have private health insurance but can afford it. Can you?

funnyperson Fri 30-Nov-12 13:00:40

I think given the level of funding the NHS has from the state it could be much better.
Some doctors and nurses and managers are superb- with facilities worth every penny of my taxes and more.
Other doctors and nurses are in permanent posts, playing the system, not bothered about patients, doing the minimum, delivering a terrible standard of care, and where Labour didn't renovate, the facilities are still out of the ark.
The advantage is that it is free at the point of delivery - this is a massive massive advantage. The disadvantage is that the postcode lottery, or staff prejudice means that not everyone gets the same level of care from the NHS.
I read somewhere that a white man with chest pain is treated very differently from a black woman with chest pain. This is unacceptable.

funnyperson Fri 30-Nov-12 13:03:25

I should say as well that some doctors are worked to the bone whereas others have a fantastic timetable. Why is there so much variation?

GhostShip Fri 30-Nov-12 13:21:47

I read somewhere that a white man with chest pain is treated very differently from a black woman with chest pain

I have never experienced this, never heard or seen it happen. When I do my placement in A&E I shall see for myself.

BUT it is a fact that males are more likely to be suffering from a heart attack than a woman. Not sure why colour would come into that...

rrreow Fri 30-Nov-12 14:56:29

It's not perfect, it needs improving, but it EXISTS! Thank god for that.

Also, from experience I have to say that paying privately for things doesn't guarantee a good service or good treatment.

Strix Fri 30-Nov-12 15:15:30

My three year once suffered a concussion on the playground, nanny took him to GP across road, he threw up after head injury, was dizzy, and sleepy. GP said he wasn't registered and they could not help. Suggested he may have thrown up because he was nerous about being in unfamiliar GP surgery. hmm

Fortunately, my nanny had the good sense to walk out the door and phone an ambulance, which took them to A and E. Still no concussion diagnosis. But we did later get an appointment for the ey nose and throat specialist to check if were happy with the shape of his nose.

So, I do sometimes wonder if the NHS thinks we are there to support them rather than them their to serve our medical needs.

But, then, I've met stupid doctors in the US on the private system as well. So hey ho...

I did after the incident described above talk to our GP, whom I like. She advised I go to a different hospital next time.

pmcblonde Fri 30-Nov-12 16:02:55

The concept of a free at the point of care healthcare system is fantastic and should be fully supported but the NHS wasn't originally designed to be the only healthcare provider so is understandably creaking under the burden of providing the vast majority of emergency and non-emergency healthcare.

One of the biggest issues is that the service is incredibly patchy. Whilst many GPs are excellent and keep up to date on everything there is no way that they can be experts on everything so as gatekeepers to specialist care they are automatically flawed. I am lucky to have an excellent GP who doesn't always look for the most common diagnosis but is prepared to do the research to find the right diagnosis and refer appropriately. As a result his appointments always run late but it's worth it for the high quality personal care.

Mental health provision is frankly appalling across the country and successive governments have done nothing to support better provision.

Hospital care is also patchy. In my experience the NHS is pretty good at routine or common stuff but pretty awful at dealing with complex, multi-specialist cases. My Dad's hip and knee replacements and cardiac care have been fine, my Mum's broken ankle was terribly badly handled as she has complex mobility issues and they had no idea how to re-mobilise her. 5 months in hospital later...

The NHS interface with social care is dreadful and needs urgent attention.

There are many fantastic people in the NHS - I'm related to lots of doctors and nurses and they are all incredibly committed and caring, working every long hours in difficult circumstances. However some staff are rude, uncommunicative and downright unhelpful. Ignoring a patient or relative standing at the nursing station whilst you talk about your boozy night out is not acceptable. Nor is letting the phone ring and ring whilst you chat about your holidays. Nor is not actioning referrals to other departments in the same hospital or attending case conferences, or arranging porters for appointments in different departments, or calling patients by the wrong name or being overly informal, or telling a patient that their son is 'tasty' etc etc etc

I'm a firm believer in the NHS but there's a lot of wasted resource and a lot of demoralised, and sometimes unpleasant, people who shouldn't be in caring professions working within the system.

It's a mixed bag but as a country we need to define what service we want, pay for it properly and hold it to account. The NHS can't do everything and shouldn't be expected to.

cheapandchic Fri 30-Nov-12 16:20:59

Yes everyone can complain if there is bad service. But do you honestly think that there is no bad service in the USA?

Bad medical experiences can happen anywhere. Be lucky that if they do happen here at least you didnt pay 30,000 for the 'pleasure'.

The NHS is amazing and needs to be applauded.

mumzy Fri 30-Nov-12 16:26:38

You should see the utter pile of shite of a computer records system that we have to use at our care trust starting from next week so we can 'enjoy' a paperless working environment. Cost absolute millions and is the most unintuitive programme I have ever seen I can see staff really struggling with it if our training sessions were anything to go by and it seriously affecting patient care. I swear my dcs computer games are better tested. It would be funny if it wasn't so important and could be a matter of life or death. This together with the PFI building scheme has pushed the trust into the red for the forseeable future, so on order to balance the books frontline staff are being cut. But hey ho as long as the managers and directors can have blackberries, ipads and fancy offices who cares about the staff and patients.

baublesandbaileys Fri 30-Nov-12 16:27:51

for those of you who think you get better care if you pay at point of service, lets use the example of maternity/obstetrics..

okay as difficult as it is I will ignore the US in this one and concentrate on other european systems, which one of these is better service than we get here?:
- one where everyone is routinely given an epidural on admission!
- one where a midwife is in prison for attending a homebirth as the mother did not want to go to hospital!
- one where doulas are banned form some labour units and if you want a home birth you have to totally opt out of mainstream care and take your chances (not sure if this one has changed in the last 3/4 years, but that's how it was v recently
- one where everyone is forced to go natural/drug free, at least initially, regardless of their feelings about it

don't kid yourselves that the NHSs failings are due to they payment systems and everywhere where you pay you "get what you pay for" and are a respected consumer - that is total bollocks, pay as you go systems have as many flaws, with the addition of the payment issue

grovel Fri 30-Nov-12 17:05:48

mumzy, I had to smile when I read your post. A wry smile.

My DH was MD of an IT consultancy/software house. He stopped selling to the NHS because "they spend too long deliberating over which of the wrong products to buy". His company won plenty of profitable contracts but they were soul-destroying because the NHS had bought the wrong thing every time. He won the projects his competitors should have won and his competitors won the projects his firm should have won. As a consequence the NHS spent fortunes on consultancy tweaking to software to be like something they could have bought in the first place. So sad.

amyboo Fri 30-Nov-12 17:43:17

baubles - which europeancountries are you referring t with your broadly absurb statements? Here in Belgium, while the only pain reliefavailable during childbirth is epidural, they are not routinely given and I have friends who have delivered without pain relief both here and in the UK. However, thedifference here is that if you want an epidural you get it, no questions, unlike many people I know in the UK who had to fight to get it, were refused it or were told the anaesthatist was unavailable!

A dentist I see here reackoned the NHS has some of the best doctors in the world, but that the problem is that there is no real way for patients to show their dislike of the service that they receive. I I don't like my doctor, dentist, obstrtrician, hospital here I can simply go to a different one. That is missing fromthe NHS as you're supposed to all be grateful that you're not paying.

In fact, I also think that people forget they are paying for the NHS, just not at the point of delivery.

baublesandbaileys Fri 30-Nov-12 17:49:00

"I I don't like my doctor, dentist, obstrtrician, hospital here I can simply go to a different one"

you can here too, I have changed NHS consultants simply because I didn't like the first!

you can't "just" shop around and find a doc you like if you are regional in other EU countries, fine if you live near a city, but if you're out in the sticks its much harder, for example there were only 2 consultants in a certain dicipline covering 3 counties in one country I lived in, and they mostly worked together and had the same philosophies so it wasn't much "choice" really! you can be even more stuck with a shit head than you might be in the UK. Paying as you go ISN'T the route of that and doesn't solve that problem.

baublesandbaileys Fri 30-Nov-12 17:53:50

(I've also changed my NHS GP to someone I prefer)

baublesandbaileys Fri 30-Nov-12 17:56:27
Aboutlastnight Fri 30-Nov-12 18:01:53

Of course you can change clinician in the NHS!

baublesandbaileys Fri 30-Nov-12 18:02:32

amyboo if care in belgium is great, that's fantastic, but I'd suggest that it is down to many factors (which could be adopted under the NHS or any other system) and not simply because of how it is funded!

theporkofpie Fri 30-Nov-12 18:29:40

grovel It is good to have my thoughts confirmed.

I work in admin in the NHS and am sick of people sat in offices, who earn a fortune, decide that this and that computer system is a good idea without ever having done my job and never bothering to listen to feedback. They know best!!!!

People who work on the front line for the NHS work hard and try to do the best they can whilst the whole time people "at the top" keep throwing obstacles in our way

CaptainVonTrapp Fri 30-Nov-12 18:35:50

I think that is part of the problem cheapandchic. When it all goes wrong here people excuse it cos it was 'free'. Of course its not free we have paid, its just much harder here to work out the cost of the hospital stay that nearly killed you.

Cantbelieveitsnotbutter Fri 30-Nov-12 18:57:31

I think the nhs is truly amazing.
Yes they make mistakes, most of these are due to under funding. With less lawsuits (not saying all are unnecessary e.g long term care needed etc) less managers and more healthcare. To me the whole trusts bring run as businesses is wrong, I don't want accountability I want people to have the funds to do the job do their isn't the mistakes.


I fully appreciate that there are people who have had very poor treatment at the hands of the NHS, superbugs in hospitals, cancelled operations, missed opportunities to diagnose problems that could have been treated etc. Just today I heard that my cousin whose son was 6 weeks premature and who has been losing weight due to a tongue tie which is preventing him from feeding was told there was a 4 week waiting list to get the problem resolved or he could pay £150 to go privately and have it done the next day. It takes at least a fortnight to get an appointment at my local GP. It can frustrate you terribly to pay your taxes and be faced with that kind of situation.

However, the NHS have been so good to me during my recent mc and ERPC proceedure and so good with looking after DS when he has had glue ear, frequent chest infections and now needs to see a speech and language therapist. We have had quick referrals, genuinely interested and kind, professional staff and I have to say I think our hospitals, doctors and nurses and other healthcare professionals are a national treasure and something really worth defending and protecting from cuts.

Free healthcare for all, while it is rarely perfect in practice, is a noble idea and a hell of a lot better than the alternative - I've really struggled with money over the last couple of years, working part-time and paying for childcare for DS and a mortgage etc. and both he and I have had first class healthcare without having to pay a penny for it, which I will forever be grateful for because I could have never afforded to bankroll it if the NHS hadn't have been there.

mumzy Fri 30-Nov-12 21:42:25

I think the concept of the NHS is amazing and something this country can be very proud of but it has become , like the education system, a political football to get parties elected and as a result suffers from a lack of well thought through long term plans. As with education with the election of a new political party you get major changes which are never given enough time to bed down before there is change again. The amount of money I seen wasted on projects and equipment because no one is held accountable is heartbreaking especially when I know certain areas are starved of funds. I propose that the NHS and education system are run by an independent multidisciplinary body who can accurately assess our long term health needs and budget for them accordingly and are free from political interference.

EdgarAllanPond Fri 30-Nov-12 21:44:02

healthcare free at the point of service is great

the NhS could be better

management of it is rubbish in places
uncritical views of the service help nobody
unreasoned slamming of it doesn't help either.

MUM2BLESS Fri 30-Nov-12 21:50:51

THe NHS is brilliant compared to the health service in some countries. We get lots of things free.

When I visit my local GP sometimes I have noticed that over one hundred peopel have not turned up for appointments for the month. What a shame.

At the age of 21 I was involved in an accident which almost cost me my life. I was abroad when it happened. The hospital I stay in was not nice, the food was not nice either. I cannot remember having hot water and all the nicer things we enjoy in this country.

I am not saying our NHS 100% but compared to some countries its brilliant!

We should be greatful we have things so easily. Thats how I feel.

mumzy - i work in education rather than health but it's fair to say I would share your concerns and also agree that neither NHS nor education should be party political but independently, fairly and impartially monitored and managed, led strategically and delivered effectively. But to have health care and education for all is, I think, definitely something worth continuing to aspire to.

TheOriginalLadyFT Fri 30-Nov-12 22:36:40

If you get poor service from the NHS, then you should complain about it. Treating it like a sacred cow that thy shalt not criticise is ludicrous

When I had my DS, the hospital was frankly filthy (I was advised not to have a bath while there because of the infection risk, god forbid they might have cleaned the bloody thing), the midwives were rude and aggressive when I resisted being induced (I had pre-eclampsia and was dangerously ill with high blood pressure - four hours after a midwife virtually accused me of being too posh to push, I was rushed into theatre for a c-section), when I did eventually develop an infection the nurses regularly had to be reminded to give me the antibiotics and take my blood pressure. It was shocking.

We are not particularly well off, but one of the things we do make sure we set aside money for is private health care, largely as a result of that and other negative experiences within the NHS. Yes, there are many things that are great about the NHS, but there are also lots of things that are very very poor and pretending otherwise is ridiculous

TheCatInTheHairnet Sat 01-Dec-12 02:42:34

In my experience, neither the US or the UK have a perfect system. However, my DH's experience with the NHS, where after 2 years of ripping his ACL he still hadn't had any surgery, is a case in point where the NHS really lets people down.

It has more than likely taken 5-10 years of his lifespan, he is in his 30's and has arthritis in his knees, and all because old men were considered higher up the list than a healthy, active 21 year old new Dad. I feel pretty bitter about that, tbh.

Whizkidwithacrazystreak Sat 01-Dec-12 08:53:16

NHS has safely delivered my two boys by c-section, treated them for ear infections, head wounds along with other minor issues, it has also removed a large brain tumour from my head all with great success. I am forever grateful and thankful.

thunksheadontable Sat 01-Dec-12 14:03:33

I feel very mixed about this. I work in the NHS in an area that is not life-or-death and I think the cuts are so swingeing as to make what I do actually defunct. Really, if you only see someone for 45 minutes three times a year and expect to be in a position to advise them about how to feel about their communication, you really have no understanding of how human beings operate. My work is based on relationship with clients and I have none. It is a waste of money that I am even paid for doing it, I am burned out and considering leaving. I believe in the right of people to access high quality support and services for communication difficulties from birth or after stroke but currently they don't exist and the system is laughable. Yes, many more people get treatment than in other countries like Ireland etc but there is a dishonesty about the quality of the services they receive - people are told that what they are getting is evidence based in terms of dosage when it is patently not. It might not be a third world service but it's not good enough.

As a patient in the NHS this year, I had excellent - no, in fact, a luxurious - birth experience. I gave birth in a pool in a home from home suite with stars in the ceiling and colour changing lights. My friend, due three weeks after me, nearly lost her baby as there was no midwife to attend her and she had to labour on a trolley in the assessment centre without pain relief while dance music blared on the radio to be told that it had to be loud for "confidentiality" reasons. She ended up with a crash section under general anaesthetic. Not good enough.

I have had mental health concerns. I got a service here I would never have got in many other countries. I have had access to 25 sessions of CBT - AMAZING, beyond AMAZING to have this without charge. Yet I also had a Community Psychiatric Nurse who was, frankly, very damaging; suggesting I should leave my husband for not doing the dishes, downplaying all my progress in CBT so I doubted myself and laughing at my concerns my son wasn't gaining weight and encouraging me not to weigh him when I was to find out he had dropped from the 91st to the 0.4 of a centile while I sat there doing exercises to reduce my anxiety about his weight loss because I thought it was all in my head!!! Then when I was finally out of PND and well enough to chase it up, she had the gall to suggest that they knew all along and that if I hadn't worked it out for myself they'd have had to involve external e.g. social services!! Yet no one had said anything to me, to my husband etc, we had been up and down to the GP and had HV visits etc.. total arse covering bollocks.

So what's my judgement? I don't have one. I've seen friends with very poorly babies get amazing service from amazing people and I have experienced some of this myself. I've also seen some dangerous and damaging practices. The fact that it is "free" at the point of service does not excuse the bad experiences people have endured, even if they would have received worse elsewhere. Two wrongs never make a right.

I think the NHS is am amazing idea and I have pride in a lot of what it does. I also have despair. I don't think I can stay in it much longer because I just don't have the heart to turn people away who are suffering and pretend to them that it's for their own good and not a resourcing issue.

albertcamus Sat 01-Dec-12 16:55:17

so what's my judgement? I don't have one. I've seen friends with very poorly babies get amazing service from amazing people and I have experienced some of this myself. I've also seen some dangerous and damaging practices. The fact that it is "free" at the point of service does not excuse the bad experiences people have endured, even if they would have received worse elsewhere. Two wrongs never make a right

I completely agree with you, thunk - the NHS has saved my son's life twice, once with a bone marrow transplant for aplastic anaemia, secondly for Type 1 diabetes.

I've had 2 x C-sections & my husband's had excellent car for dilated cardiomyopathy; his consultant is second to none.

Our local much-maligned hospital cared well for my dad in his last days despite severely limited resources.

My only problem with the system is the lack of consistency - many of the nurses and some of the doctors at 'wonderful Great Ormond Street' hospital were disorganised, inefficient, unclean, uncaring & had to be PUSHED for his proper diagnosis and care. He would have died if I had not been both pushy and challenging of wrong diagnosis, unclean practice and total inefficiency. This was acknowledged by several mothers of other children who did not survive. The way they told me: 'I feel guilty for not fighting as you have done, I will never forgive myself' stays with me. Their losses should not have happened as they did, they should not have blamed themselves, compounding their grief.

It is more than infuriating to see the lack of resource management in the NHS (although I am going back 20 years). The good, dedicated, efficient and hardworking staff in all domains seem to carry those who choose to surf eBay when they think they can get away with it.

I am a teacher, and I know all about the difficulties of management in the public sector ... but health is even more important.

I am both profoundly grateful and yet frustrated to the point of paying to go privately, although I don't believe the care would be of a better standard, just more readily available.

albertcamus Sat 01-Dec-12 16:55:52

care, not car !

Boomerwang Sat 01-Dec-12 16:59:56

YANBU. It's a free service and I get really narked if someone who doesn't pay into the service has a go at it. I miss it terribly as I live elsewhere and I've had the debt collectors after me for unpaid hospital bills. Hugely embarrassing and humiliating.

threesocksfullofchocs Sat 01-Dec-12 17:20:57

ho can it be free if you have to pay into it??

It is NOT free, it is 'free at the point of service' ie you'll receive treatment when you need it without an accountant checking first whether you can afford said treatment.

The NHS is by far the best value for money health service in the world IMO.
As somebody else said, where would you ever find any kind of organisation that employs and serves so many people, without problems?? They need addressing, but the NHS is still better than any kind of alternative as far as I can see.

I think one problem is in the expectation (encouraged by politicians keen to be re elected) that a health service ought to provide the best imaginable health care to every individual on every occasion. The NHS if founded on a public health idea aiming to provide as much health care as possible to as many people as possible. Of course it would be nice to have everything for everybody, just not affordable or payable.

People who remember health care before the NHS are beginning to die out and the rest of us need to be responsible users of a system that relies on the 'strong' looking after the weak/sick/old. As it should be in any civilised society IMO.

Boomerwang Sat 01-Dec-12 23:40:15

Yes I did word that badly. In other countries the tax rate is higher and you still have to pay for your own healthcare insurance, whereas it's much cheaper in the UK, particularly if you're not paying at all. I understand that benefits are also taxed, but that's still free money.

AndrewD Sun 02-Dec-12 10:37:46


excellent post. I agree

PS - "somebody else" = me grin

GreenBeer Sun 02-Dec-12 11:12:20

Absolutely hate it. It's not free, I pay and have to go to the doctor they tell me too.

The hospitals are old and dirty and the staff I've had to deal with have been the rudest people I've ever come across and shockingly, so uncaring.

I miss the system in Australia. If you can afford to pay you do, if you can't afford it you get a Medicare card and its free.

GreenBeer Sun 02-Dec-12 11:15:45

Agree Pacific too, we should look after those that need it. But I don't like the NHS and how it is set up as one-fit for all.

ParsingFancy Sun 02-Dec-12 11:21:28

"I just don't have the heart to turn people away who are suffering and pretend to them that it's for their own good and not a resourcing issue."

I feel for you, thunks, but why do you have to pretend this? Why not just tell them it's a resourcing issue?

On the grand scale, the public are the ones who set your budget - through the dreadfully imprecise medium of which govt they elect, but the NHS is still a vote winner/loser.

And on the personal scale, telling people it's for their own good - when you know it's not - has consequences. They may believe you, blame themselves and make bad decisions based on what you say.

Or they may disbelieve you, think you and your colleagues are bad at your jobs, and turn up on MN saying the NHS is intrinsically rubbish and private hospitals are much better.

A while back there was a heart-rending thread about being "tricked" out of epidurals. It was completely clear that a lot of women were suffering not just pain but psychological damage because HCPs were bullying them through without pain relief simply because the unit didn't have resources. I can see why they did it, but pretending the problem was at the individual level ("You're just being a bad girl and not coping properly") was both intensely damaging and disguised the real problem.

If HCPs stopped covering for management decisions, it would allow patients' anger/distress and then attention to focus on the real problem. And we could make sensible decisions about what resources as a nation we want to spend on healthcare, and how.

Purplelooby Sun 02-Dec-12 11:53:58


It is an incredibly stretched service and I am truly sorry for the people on here who have had bad experiences. BUT. I want to share a story about someone I know...

This lady had had 2 early MCs and went on to get PG again. This time she paid for a private clinic to give her a very early scan (although she was entitled to one on the NHS). The clinic saw no heartbeat and gave her whatever she needed (I think a pill and a pessary?) to terminate the pregnancy. This lady found it very hard to do this so she went to her NHS appointment. They also didn't find a heartbeat but they insisted on re-scanning 2 weeks later. 2 weeks later, they found a heartbeat and went on to have a healthy PG.

I also had 2 scans on my baby, on private and one NHS, which gave me different dates. Guess which one ended up being right? Yup, the NHS.

I trust the NHS more than private hospitals because, when it comes down to it, most private hospitals are about making a profit.

thunksheadontable Sun 02-Dec-12 15:16:08

Parsing, I would face disciplinary action for questioning the pathways... I have been very vocal and made lots of written complaints and escalated it and it has always come back on me: if I can't see 42 clients weekly in six slots for that caseload (one day) and do the paperwork, I get told it's my poor time management... even when I did out a chart showing how it was impossible to provide care as per the pathway and escalated it up the organisation, I got sent on stress management training! If only it were that easy... anywhere I am allowed to eg services for post 16, I do say and have supported clients to complain to MPs and councillors where they needed language support to facilitate them. I'm just spent. Have just had horrendous perinatal ocd triggered in part by work stress and have no more to offer in terms of the fight right now...

thunksheadontable Sun 02-Dec-12 15:27:49

Also my own experience as a patient is that being told you should be getting x but are only getting y because of cuts just made me feel lost and desperate as there were no private options I could pursue, I was just told I would have to continue on until after the birth feeling horrendous and terrified as no cbt was available only meds. I was utterly, utterly low and this 'shame, if you'd been referred when you first flagged this up we could have helped but now it's too late, talk again in four months' when I had already waited 22 weeks for that appointment made me feel desperate. It might have led another woman not much different to me but with one more straw on the proverbial camel's back to destruction. I was really very unwell and was essentially told yes, you are but we can't help.... so there's no easy answer. Even if you have the strength and ability to fight on the basis of that info, it is not always great for a person to have to face, not everyone has the resources to manage that information without damaging themselves further in the process. Even if I chose to always be straight and damn the consequences, it still causes harm I'm not prepared to live with causing right now..

snowtunesgirl Sun 02-Dec-12 15:39:18

I trust the NHS more than private hospitals because, when it comes down to it, most private hospitals are about making a profit.

Yes, my midwife said that her other midwife friend had worked at the Portland for about a month before quitting as everything was so money orientated. When I was having my DD and wanted pain relief I pushed the button myself. At the Portland, it was locked out so that if you wanted that pain relief, you had to call for a nurse, then they would come to you and do it for you and you would be charged for EVERY TIME the nurse would do this.

Her friend said that the ethos at the hospital was more about how much money they could squeeze out of patients rather than really looking after them.

amillionyears Sun 02-Dec-12 15:47:04

When I looked into paying into a private scheme, it looked to me like if anything went wrong or got too complicated at the private hospital, they would whisked you away to the NHS. I decided, I would rather be at the NHS hospital in the first place.

somewherewest Sun 02-Dec-12 15:52:04

One point that needs to be reiterated is that the NHS is not free. It is free at point of use. It actually costs well over £100 billion a year. Money is a factor in all healthcare, whether public or private. The private sector needs to keep costs down to maximise profits. The NHS needs to keep costs down because there is only so much the average UK taxpayer is willing to pay. I believe 100% that everyone should have access to the highest level of care regardless of income, but am completely agnostic as to how thats achieved. Turning the NHS as it stands into a sacred cow and thereby insulating it from legitimate criticism is not going to do it any favours in the long run.

ParsingFancy Sun 02-Dec-12 16:10:05

thunks you sound amazing, and utterly heroic in taking stuff on yourself to try to protect patients.

Hope you're able to look after yourself a bit.

For me it's the other way round: knowing waiting is because of resources has helped me hang on in there till stuff comes round. But I agree you can't know how different people will react.

I've had the "there's nothing we can do for you" recently, and believe they mean it rather than are just trying to save money. So I know what you mean about being all out of fight.

confuddledDOTcom Mon 03-Dec-12 01:01:31

I've had bad experiences but my bad experiences have been down to people. I've had many good experiences and they far outweigh the bad.

Someone said about being a high risk pregnancy and if they had their baby here they wouldn't have been seen quickly enough - well I'm a high risk pregnancy and I was seen the day after I rang the hospital, I was given a scan to confirm and date the pregnancy and the prescription I need to be able to carry my baby. I only went to the GP to make my self-referral official. That wasn't a plan in place, that was me picking up the phone and saying I was pregnant and high risk, could I be see urgently please. Call was at 5pm, appointment 10am - guess why they didn't see me earlier...

Pregnancy for me has been the one place they've shone. I must have 30 appointments/ scans per pregnancy and generally I find out late and deliver quite early. I have regular tests to see if I'm in labour because I have constant contractions. I've been transferred across the country to an even more specialist hospital when things were bad, I've had drugs that cost £100 an hour. When my babies have been born they've given me a private room so that I'm not in a postnatal bay, they've kept me in always for as long as my baby has been in (granted climbing the walls at 7 weeks!) And then there's the after care for my 3 premature babies. The way my eldest (the youngest born and most issues) has been looked after is wonderful! She has the most amazing paediatrician and she probably would have been even more ill this year than she was without him.

I am in online support groups with people who have similar problems to me and don't even get Aspirin prescribed to them which is essential with this condition, let alone Clexane (although some people are fortunate enough to be on the right insurance or have enough money to pay) and have lost many babies that they didn't need to. I had a friend ask for tips on getting her daughter to take her inhalers, I asked if she had a chamber and she said she couldn't afford the $70 for one! I offered to send her one free as they only cost £10 here.

I do think there are some issues but most that I've seen have been about the people. As someone who has taken out of the NHS far more than I could ever put in, I wouldn't want to see it go.

snowtunesgirl Mon 03-Dec-12 09:19:48

A sick OP here. sad

But another huzzah for the NHS as I'm off to my doc appointment in an hour.

This time I'm being seen by a medical student first and then by a doctor which will be interesting. Especially as I do a lot of simulated patient work so am used to medical students!

funnyperson Wed 05-Dec-12 22:06:20

thunks raises an important point which is what to say to patients when there are not enough resources to provide nhs care in accordance with recognised national evidence based pathways.
I do think it is important to tell the patient what would be recommended and to say that it cannot be provided due to lack of resources because then that at least gives the patient and family the benefit of an expert assessment and advice. If possible they can then explore the private sector or charities or volunteers to plug the gaps. I dont think it is ethical to pretend that one is turning away a patient for their own good when in fact it is due to lack of resources.
The nhs is not ideal but it does on the whole provide a basic service to everyone. It provides an excellent world class service on occasion - though sadly not to all who need it.

funnyperson Wed 05-Dec-12 22:08:49

I have been shocked by the standards of care provided by some doctors and nurses. I think the permanent NHS contract should be abolished and all contracts reviewed at least every 2 years. There are a lot of NHS staff on a gravy train. There are a lot of agency staff who are unregulated.

Bananapickle Wed 05-Dec-12 23:47:25

Amillionyears - that's exactly right. When anything goes wrong in our local private hospital the patient gets rushed to the NHS hospital.
Another point to make is that mistakes aren't happening because it's the NHS, mistakes happen whatever healthcare system there is. The sheer volume of patients going through the NHS system means there will be, unfortunately, catastrophic events that occur.
Getting rid of the NHS and becoming more like the States won't remove these horrific events it will just mean that as a nation we will become unhealthiest and the divide between rich and poor will become even more defined.
OP YANBU, this country really needs to wake up to the fact that it is a huge privilege having the NHS and most people who are working in it know it isn't perfect and are working very hard to improve things. The government aren't helping this at all at the moment, David Cameron has a lot to answer for.

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