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NHS in a state

(205 Posts)
Feellikescrooge Tue 23-Dec-14 17:06:10

My DF is in his mid 80's and my DM died in April and my DB died suddenly ( road traffic accident) in October. Two weeks ago he went to his GP feeling very unwell. She called an ambulance and sent him to hospital they sent him home late that night, the first I knew was a call from my DF in a taxi because he didn't have enough cash, I had only left him an hour before.

Next morning he attends his regular dialysis appointment and the staff there are so concerned they call for medical backup and he is transferred to A and E at the end of the session. Again he is sent home in the middle of the night without my sister or I being contacted.

The following day I call in at about 10 am and find him on the floor unable to get up, a man who a week before was walking 4 miles plus a day with his dog. Again he was admitted and this time he was kept in. Last Thursday he had a heart attack and was transferred to the CCU. Yesterday he was sent home, when I got there I said to the nurse he did not seem well enough and she shrugged and said that beds were being cleared for Christmas.

I insisted Dad stayed with me and heard him calling at 3am terribly poorly. He was blue lighted to hospital and is now in Intensive Care having been given the Last Rites. I know they are under pressure, my DH was a GP, but surely there is something dreadfully wrong if people as sick as my Dad are being continually sent home.

FrontForward Tue 23-Dec-14 17:10:58

Yes there is something very wrong with the situation you describe.

I'm so sorry flowers

My DD is working on a ward under intolerable stress caused by lack of resources. She talked to me about needing and wanting to give good patient care and being physically unable to because of lack of staffing. The worse it gets, the more staff leave.

Feellikescrooge Tue 23-Dec-14 17:18:02

That is the problem, it is not the staff on the medical side, in fact they seem worn down. My DD1 is a F2 and works ridiculous hours but the system/ society don't work anymore. The waiting rooms are full of drunks/ sneezers etc. I accept Dad will die but it could have been avoided, for now, and his dignity preserved. Every time he was sent home he felt he had wasted their time.

FrontForward Tue 23-Dec-14 17:30:59

It's appealing being involved with the NHS right now. Staff morale is very low. More than any other issue that distresses me about working in the NHS is failing people...people who are really sick.

FrontForward Tue 23-Dec-14 17:31:46

Appalling. It's definitely not appealing.

whoneedstosleep Tue 23-Dec-14 17:35:45

So sorry to hear about your dad. There really is NO excuse for sending an elderly man home by taxi overnight.

I work for the NHS (in Scotland) and although there are problems I would be absolutely disgusted if this happened in my work place.

hiddenhome Tue 23-Dec-14 18:20:29

Sorry about your dad's illness sad

I fear for the future.

ILovePud Tue 23-Dec-14 18:25:42

I'm so sorry that this has happened to your Dad. If you feel able to do so I'd complain, to the hospital or to the Care Quality Commission. This just shouldn't happen.

hiddenhome Tue 23-Dec-14 18:47:33

Tbh, I think that the public take the NHS for granted and expect too much from it. People with very little wrong with them turning up and expecting treatment for things they could have easily sorted out themselves at home. Valuable resources are being wasted so the truly sick aren't being attended to adequately.

Some journalist referred to the NHS as the new national religion - to be seen as a universal panacea to treat all our physical discomforts and distress.

Society has also created a population who are pretty ignorant of any self care or self reliance strategies and who call for the doctor at the slightest sign of any trouble. They refuse to accept that viruses can't be cured either. Between these and the violent, entitled drunks, it's no wonder things are at crisis point sad

The public are destroying the golden egg laying goose. The NHS was truly a blessing when it was first created. Pity people have been taught to take it totally for granted.

handcream Tue 23-Dec-14 19:04:49

I so agree with hidden!

My DM was in hospital for a few weeks a couple of months ago, full of nurses who really couldn't give a toss and most recruited from abroad. A couple would work on my mum and talk in their own language. In my view it's not under funded, it's poorly managed. Their should be more places for trainee nurses, make it a career.

Babyroobs Tue 23-Dec-14 19:12:13

The situation has become intolerable where I work and morale at an all time low. I would say the situation is unsafe. Last week we had a ward full of confused/ agitated elderly people some terminally ill and unsafe numbers of Nurses to adequately cope. Half the staff were agency care assistants some of whom had never worked in our setting before, one even asked what 'incontinence' meant !! The more intolerable it becomes the more nurses go off with stress. We have some new staff starting but the recruitment process has taken 3 months to get staff in place, then due to the specialised nature of the work it can take another 6 months to get them settled in. The situation has become so dire last week that beds have now been closed which is sad because we know that there will be patients in the community that desperately need to be admitted but can't be.

chiliplant Tue 23-Dec-14 19:17:18

Jeremy hunt has a lot t answer for.

chiliplant Tue 23-Dec-14 19:17:49

And Andrew lansley before him.

gamerchick Tue 23-Dec-14 19:24:03

It is and I'm so sorry for your dad.

I'm also sorry for the complaint I've put in about our local a&e. But I didn't have any choice.

MatildaTheRedNosedReinCat Tue 23-Dec-14 19:24:18

Feeling, I feel your pain. I think the nhs can and is a wonderful institution in places and in dire straits in others. Very often it's the chronically sick and elderly who suffer. Some staff may seem uncaring and offhand. I've been on the receiving end of this and it's awful. Most are willing to bend over backwards to help but are simply overwhelmed. And communication is simply dismal so people like your df end up shoved in taxis in the middle of the night when a simple phone call would bring you out to assist.

I suggest you write a formal letter requesting that your DFs medical records are clearly marked 'Not to be discharged without informing next of kin'. Another thing that might help is to get an alarm for him to wear around his neck so he can call for help if he falls or feels ill at home. My DFIL has one and he upgraded service means that if he presses his button someone from the service comes out to him, day or night and will then decide if an ambulance is required and call family if necessary. It's been very reassuring to is all.

frumpet Tue 23-Dec-14 19:25:22

I do wonder if your Dad is from the generation who tell everyone they are absolutely fine , refuse SS input and cross their fingers they will be OK ?

If you have a relative in hospital and they are thinking of discharging them too soon in your opinion , kick up a fuss before they do it , if i had been you OP , i would have got GP husband to ring consultant asap regards his discharge .

Did your father tell the A&E staff you are next of kin , or did he not want to trouble you ? I only ask because the 'older' generation can be beggars for this .

But and it is a big but , the treatment of your father sounds shocking , don't be afraid to complain , by complaining you make management realise that beds have human beings in them , not numbers sad

handcream Tue 23-Dec-14 19:25:37

Agree, DMs ward was full of old people and it was a general surgical ward. The doctors were keen, however it was the nurses who really shocked me. If you don't like the job fgs DONT DO IT!!

You are dangerous.

Viviennemary Tue 23-Dec-14 19:30:27

This is abysmal treatment by anyone's standards. I haven't thought much of the NHS for years. Last time I visited somebody in hospital nurses were sitting at computers typing away or chatting. Hardly what I'd call patient care. The whole thing needs to reinvent itself and put patients first.

handcream Tue 23-Dec-14 19:31:36

I also think there is a real sense of entitlement amongst some. It's not the best in the world, it's attractive to all because it's free. There is no cost if you clog up A and E with your minor issues or if you are drunk and stagger in demanding 'service'.

I actually find going to your local chemist will give you an idea whether you need a Dr. My DS and I took one look at the drop in centre and the three hour wait in Slough (which has its own issues) and went to the local Boots who told us his leg was infected and to go right back.

The place was literally like downtown Beruit...

hiddenhome Tue 23-Dec-14 19:32:25

We're returning to a Mrs Gamp era sad

YoungGirlGrowingOld Tue 23-Dec-14 19:32:48

I had awful experiences on an NHS ward back in 2006, when the previous government were hosing money at it. I agree with the PP who said it was as much poor management as lack of funds. My DGF's death from cancer was equally frustrating with discharges happening overnight and without notice even though he was blind and confused. I honestly don't know the people taking these actions can live with themselves and felt the same on reading the other thread about postnatal care.

I also agree that we expect way too much having been nannied by the state for years. DH is a consultant who treats cancer patients some of whom are old, infirm, have dementia or incontinence etc. He is trying to get them home to families for Christmas so the (skeleton) staff can cope and beds are preserved for really poorly people. Lots of the families are appalled at having to look after their own relatives and have said "but I've got people coming for dinner!" Two patients have since been blue lighted back in after "falls" at home and are now being re admitted. DH suspects the families are just trying to palm them off for Xmas :-(

Not suggesting that is what happened with the OP btw. Just that many, many people misuse resources because they are "free" and therefore perceived as having no value.

Greydog Tue 23-Dec-14 19:36:18

Poorly managed is an understatement, both ds and dh work for the NHS, and they are fed up with the stupidity that comes down from higher management, the way that slackers manage to keep their jobs, and the huge waste of money that should be spent on proper things. DH was sent on a "how to spot a terrorist" course. A whole day wasted on watching a film (This is England - so all terrorists are white skinhead thugs!) My cousin also works for the nhs as some sort of senior manager - she has a company car provided - a top of the range Renault Laguna. Why? Everything is outsourced - need a bed - hire it in. Need cleaners/more staff - hire them in. The worse thing any govt ever did was to introduce targets. They are all false figures.

TheFriar Tue 23-Dec-14 19:36:53

I was talking to an NHS staff a few weeks ago. She said that they are currently reorganising how their department is working as they have to make £xmillions cuts.
In her own words, they are moving from giving 'good care' to 'minimum care' to patients.

Minimum care ... as if you aren't dying, then you are sent back home sad

It IS scary.

OP I hope your dad is as comfortable as possible now. I'm really sorry he (and you) had to go through that. It's just not on....

frumpet Tue 23-Dec-14 19:50:36

I think one of the big problems with the NHS is that is so divided , each trust goes it own merry way . Instead of working out what really works and is actually in the patients best interest and then everyone doing it , each trust chooses whichever system suits them .

Technology is a very sore point for me as a nurse , i have no idea how much the trust i work at spent on our new system , but i could honestly hold whoever ordered it up against the wall by the throat . The computer programme is fine , but the actual physical components are dreadful , they are forever breaking down or running out of battery power and an average drug round takes far longer , once you have fanny arsed around looking for a machine that actually works . They have introduced a new system for monitoring observations , again , not a bad programme , but the little tablets are very hard to use and it isn't loaded onto the the medication machines so again takes an age to complete , oh and did i mention that we have one thermometer for 30 patients ? you either make up the temps for your patients or wait 2 hours before it becomes available because you can not do a set of obs on your patients without filling in the temp . It takes 60 secs to change the parameters for observations on the computer , 2 on a paper chart , but this apparently is progress !

Babyroobs Tue 23-Dec-14 19:51:45

In response to posters saying Nurses are sitting at computers. In my workplace we have had a new computerised system introduced, we have had very little trainig and management keep changing it frequently. Some of the older staff coming up for retirement have failed to grasp the system after forty odd years of writing notes by hand,they have asked for additional training but have not received it. This week we have been sent an email saying that anyone not using the system correctly faces disciplinary action, which I fear will lead even more older , experienced Nurses to quit early. To admit a patient used to take perhaps half an hour, now it takes double that sometimes even longer. I have seen Nurses staying hours beyond the end of their shift just to get the computer records completed. We are expected to document every conversation we have with relatives, every phone call we take. The ward is relying heavily on agency staff who do not have the use of a martcard and therefore the regular nurses are also expected to document all the care that the agency nurses give, it is relentless. I would much rather be giving Nursing care than sitting at a computer, believe me .

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