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first bad personal experience of the privatisation of the NHS

(45 Posts)
StealthPolarBear Sun 05-Jun-11 20:51:06

A relative has recently had a straightforward op. The OP was done under the NHS in a private setting. Unfortunately there was a problem with the OP, quite a common one I think. The surgeon said there was nothing that could be done then and there because the sodding private hospital didn't have the right equipment. He has to go to A&E tomorrow and then they will assess him and book him back in again for some time next week. In the meantime he is in a lot of pain and discomfort, as well as making himself sick (literally) through anxiety. It will be the same surgeon - the regional specialist - but within the walls of our "failing" NHS - the NHS that picks up the pieces when one of the 'easy' hip replacements and catarct ops the private hospitals churn out goes wrong...
Why does it have to be like this?

StealthPolarBear Sun 05-Jun-11 21:16:01

Someone please stroke my head and agree this is CRAP

PhishFoodAddiction Sun 05-Jun-11 21:19:27

That's horrible Stealth- I'm sorry that your relative is going to have a painful wait for the corrective op. Tis CRAP indeed.

StealthPolarBear Sun 05-Jun-11 21:20:36

thank you smile
Worst thing is (this is cataract) - he now has to wait for the other one again...and i think they'll have to fight to get him seen in an NHS hospital

Eddieshead Sun 05-Jun-11 21:30:30

Its been like this for years sadly SPB. I always have a wry smile to myself when people think they are getting the very best by going private or using private facilities for NHS surgery (not judging your relative for this by the way). If something goes wrong, the back up care in treatment centres and some private facilities is way below NHS standards.

By the way, under most circumstances for most procedures you can choose not to go to private hospitals or treatment centres.

PacificDogwood Sun 05-Jun-11 21:31:35

It is shit sadangry.

Hope your relative is ok.
'Tis all political. And financial of course.

There are SO many people who are under the impression that private health care will get them better health care which is just not the case. Faster, as things stand, yes. Better, most definitely NOT.

StealthPolarBear Sun 05-Jun-11 21:32:16

No, he didn't specifically choose this. But you're right, he'll have no doubt had the option to turn it down i supppose.
Yes, it's always been this way. But as they look to cut costs more and more and measure quality through indicators around number of people seen and speed of treatment then quality will suffer.

PhishFoodAddiction Sun 05-Jun-11 21:32:53

Sounds like a nightmare- surely if the complication is a common one, the private hospital should have had the necessary equipment to deal with it? confused

I really hope the same doesn't happen when he has his other eye done, and that he doesn't have to wait too long.

StealthPolarBear Sun 05-Jun-11 21:33:06

PD - you get a better room, with a nice TV. (Not in this case, this was daycase grin) Surely it has always been that way.

stanausauruswrecks Sun 05-Jun-11 21:35:41

I think private health care is ok for simple, straightforward procedures eg varicose vein stripping, but anything remotely complicated - NHS all the way. In the speciality I work in, the family members of the surgeons (and indeed surgeons themselves) have had their ops done as NHS patients, which to me says it all.
IME, patients who have had surgery privately and have had to transfer to NHS because of complications have been shocked and surprised at how much better NHS care was compared to private.
Hope your relative gets sorted soon.

boysrock Sun 05-Jun-11 21:36:02

its shite. your poor relative.

I have lost count of private botch ups I have treated over the years (in the nhs) They should have it highlighted on the consent form that if things go wrong the lovely private hospital will bail out.

StealthPolarBear Sun 05-Jun-11 21:37:14

Yes, anything bog standard that doesn't go wrong.
grrrrrrrr
Let's make anyone who wants to provide that sort of service to rival the NHS have to also provide A&E services...let's see how long they last then

Eddieshead Sun 05-Jun-11 21:39:23

Traycloths. That was one of the things I noticed during a very brief sojourn into the private sector...but if the shit hits the fan, the legions of staff on duty/on call in NHS hospitals (especially anaesthetists who are the people you want if the shit really hits the fan) just arent available in the private sector or treatment centres. But you do get traycloths.

Hope he gets sorted very quickly sad

edam Sun 05-Jun-11 21:39:44

I'm really sorry to hear that, Stealth. Poor him.

Unfortunately it is going to get worse - the Health Bill essentially carves the NHS up. The duty on the government to provide a comprehensive health service is abolished - instead groups of GPs will be commissioning care BUT the bill says they can provide whatever they like or don't like, so it will be different in every area. AND they can impose charges - and again, they get to decide what charges. Scary stuff.

Back to your relative, do make sure his GP hears about this - it may well be ages before the hospital updates the GP, if at all. So your relative needs to tell them. And he could complain or at least contact the hospital trust's PALS. Or talk to the Patients' Association who will help him navigate the maze of NHS services and complaints procedures.

But he shouldn't have to do all this. sad He should be able to go into hospital, have an op, and know that if anything unexpected happens, the people THERE will deal with it straightaway.

PacificDogwood Sun 05-Jun-11 21:40:23

Oh yes, and the food is better, I do know all that.

But v little provision for any kind of emergency.
If you were to need a dr from another specialist (say you have a heart attack during your routine cataract op) there may or may not be one present. And if present, may or may not be prepared to attend. If you want treatment for your heart attack, say clot busting meds, you'd have to transferred to an NHS hospital anyway.
Not all equipment is in all private hospital.
Overnight there is often only one dr resident in the hospital who will be 'on' for 24 hrs/day for 7 days (well, that's how it was in 1998 The Bad Old Days)
Etc etc.

Don't get me wrong, I do think private hospitals have their place, it just bugs me when people think they are 'better' - better in some ways, much worse in others.

PacificDogwood Sun 05-Jun-11 21:41:37

Oh, and edam know lots about these things <taps nose knowingly>

She scares me - no, not edam, what she knows scares me sad

Eddieshead Sun 05-Jun-11 21:41:56

But edam he went to a private hospital not an NHS trust with PALS. Bet they dont have 'em.

StealthPolarBear Sun 05-Jun-11 21:42:58

lol at traycloths smile I thought that was some sort of complicated medical jargon to begin with

Edam - I took redundancy (reluctantly) from a PCT in November. The more I hear about the GP consortia the more I think we are going back to PCGs. The one thing I do agree with is that with this set up, public health should be part of the LA

PacificDogwood Sun 05-Jun-11 21:45:01

If his op was done as an NHS waiting list initiative and just happened to take place in a private hospital, surely he should be able to use the usual NHS complaints procedure?

A1980 Sun 05-Jun-11 21:51:23

I could write a book about private health care in this country. It's rubbish. I cannot say too much as I do clinical negligence law and I've seen alot.

Private hospitals are on the same par as nursing homes in this country. There is virtually no one on duty at night. If anything happens to you, most of them don't have an intensive care unit and many of them don't have an out of hours rota for anaestheatists or other specialists. So in short, if somethnig goes wrong in a private hospital, they do not have the facilities to treat you and you have to be transfered to an NHS facility. The NHS is where the expertise is, the private sector is tiny here and not very good.

You probably don't realise it but this probably isn't the first bad experience you've had with privatisation. The Labour government privatised out of horus GP care 7 years ago in 2004 with their inexplicable new GP contract. You know, the one that increased their salary by 40% for doing less work and allowing them to opt out of working evenings and weekends? Course you do grin Now access to GP's has been lost out of hours and as almost all of the GP's opted out of providing care at evenings and weekends, they employ private GP companies to cover them. You get a complete stranger who doesn't know your history or there is no cover and you can't get a GP. Labout privatised GP out of hours care yeas ago and the service has got worse. But this new bunch want to privatise the lot. Shudders!

edam Sun 05-Jun-11 21:52:50

Pacific, scares the hell out of me, too. Worst thing is, no-one's telling the public what is being done. If we'd had a referendum and everyone had voted to abolish the NHS at least that would have some legitimacy, even if it was a dreadful idea. But they are abolishing the NHS without giving the public any chance to say whether that's what they want.

Eddie, I suspect he will have been under the nominal care of an NHS trust - if not, should ask the Patients' Association how the hell to complain. Maybe to the PCT that presumably holds the contract with the private hospital. Local LINKS (patient watchdogs) are being disbanded (in theory turning into Health Watch but in many areas there is no-one you can get hold of so God only knows).

Stealth, sorry to hear that. Hope you are OK? Wouldn't be so bad if only we were going back to PCGs, at least they were unambiguously part of the NHS. GP consortia will not be, they will be private companies (dressed up as 'social enterprise but actually firms like McKinsey's doing all the management) but with enormous power to define what the NHS actually is in their local area - can shut down A&E departments if they wish and make you pay for physio or anything else they fancy. And the Government can turn round and blame the GPs...

Btw, some docs I know involved in health policy asked the DH why they weren't just going back to PCGs, as that would give them all the clinical leadershp they want with less upheaval (still lots but not as much). Turns out there's no-one at the DH who remembers them. That loss of institutional memory - from just a decade ago - is scary.

SingingSands Sun 05-Jun-11 21:57:15

That is sad and scary, I hope he gets first class treatment when he returns to the NHS to be "fixed".

Recently, a friend of mine had an op under a private setting and nearly bled to death post-op because she was in a private room, not being checked on and her emergency buzzer DID NOT WORK. She was terrified, quite rightly so, if she had been on a ward she would have been monitored properly.

I can't help but feel that the Health Bill is going to create a sinking ship...

StealthPolarBear Sun 05-Jun-11 22:01:45

yes very true.
shock at buzzer not working.

edam Sun 05-Jun-11 22:14:23

Bloody hell, singing, that's awful.

My godmother had a knee replacement privately. BIG mistake. She's permanently disabled as a result - and Nuffield or whoever it was are £15k up on the deal. Crap nursing left her with an ulcerated heel. And Nuffield and the NHS argued about who was responsible for nursing care - Nuffield would only see her to dress the wound THEY had created if she travelled to their hospital. A 90 year old lady who unable to walk, much less drive. angry

StealthPolarBear Sun 05-Jun-11 22:17:27

that's dreadful. Just shows what their actual priorities are - comes as no surprise really.
Never mind, hpefully it will never happen again, but in 5 years she will be able to have her wounds dressed at the nearest TescoHealth centre.

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