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AIBU to to really disheartened at how it seem most view the NHS

285 replies

Loubielouslonglegs · 30/10/2018 23:51

I'm a medical secretary to a breast/plastic surgery consult in the NHS. I've seen the decline of services in the last few years and absolutely disagree with it, yet understand budget.

I've been on a thread where a poster's parent could drive herself to hospital and was kicking up a stink because she wasn't 'taxied home'.

My consultant came back from clinic shocked that one of his patients started throwing chairs and hurling abuse because he wouldn't perfom surgery unless she'd seen a psychologist.

The only time I ever get any feedback is complaints - I've been offered a post in the private sector almost 2x my 23,000 nhs wage . Now finally thinking I should put myself first x

OP posts:

Weetabixandshreddies · 01/11/2018 01:03

I was referred on the 2 week cancer pathway. Saw the consultant and an urgent CT scan booked. Told by the consultant to book a follow up appointment after I'd had the scan but no appointments available until this week - 8 weeks after scan. Secretary assured me this was ok as if any cause for concern was found I would be contacted. This week I get a letter to say appointment is cancelled as consultant isn't available and a new one will be sent. Now, I'm 99% sure that I don't have cancer as my hope is that I would have been called back but there's that niggle of "what if"? What if the results haven't been acted on? It happens.

Is it too much to expect, after 8 weeks of worry, that someone could at least write to either me or my GP with the results of the scan, just to put my mind at rest? Or am I being too entitled?

Maybe the medical secretaries could advise on the correct "not being entitled" waiting period should be?


SnuggyBuggy · 01/11/2018 03:32

@Weetabix, you aren't entitled. Many clinics are way over capacity with too many patients for the available clinic slots and it's really shit. There is no way to manage such clinics without the patients being fucked about.


SnuggyBuggy · 01/11/2018 03:40

Also unlike other staff groups consultants are never refused annual leave. No manager will ever say, "no you can't have that date, there are already 3 other Drs off" or "no you can't have that date, there is a 50 patient clinic and it will be a fucking nightmare very difficult to cancel and reschedule all the patients"


Devilishpyjamas · 01/11/2018 04:15

Well I’m about to complain to the NHS. With very good reason. I am also dragging the MP in because what I am complaining about is affecting other families as well and not everyone has the resources to battle for themselves. They need to develop a policy around the issue - as I have told them. The local CCG is ignoring codes of practice, even when pointed out to them, at very great cost (financial and emotional) to families & patients.

Currently in pre-complaint stage of raising concerns but I am expecting to have to go to a second stage of complaint to get anywhere. If they followed the published CoP I wouldn’t have to a) waste my time complaining or b) deal with the stress of them ignoring the CoP for the last year and a bit.


treaclesoda · 01/11/2018 04:34

I've witnessed, and experienced, some outstanding treatment by the NHS and some terrible treatment. In over 40 odd years of NHS use, I have, as the patient, screwed up only once, when I attended my appointment at the right time, but at the wrong hospital. I was very embarrassed and apologetic. However, many times I, or the person I'm taking, have arrived to an appointment that has been double booked, resulting in being sent home, or to an appointment made with the wrong specialist etc. The admin really is terrible.


stationaryace · 01/11/2018 04:57

In my recent experience, the major failings of the NHS are communication, due to a lack of staffing which directly correlates with funding cuts. I've seen patients given very strict dietary requirements, a pamphlet on said diet and left to fend for themselves off the daily menu. Then repeatedly offered unsuitable food by the staff multiple times a day. This leads to longer hospital stays and effectively bed blocking, as they should be discharged and given help to manage their condition at home. Instead, they eat what they're given, suffer the consequences, often don't get the nutrition required or put weight on and waste away in a bed. It was heartbreaking to watch, but as a patient myself I couldn't go around the ward and become everyone's dietician, as much as I wanted to.

The NHS generally does emergencies very well. It's just everything else that goes to pot. I have a surgeon friend who rarely operates now as there's not the staff available, yet he's still being paid as a full time surgeon. I'm not saying he should work for free, but when you're a surgeon who can't operate, what are you being paid for? And a what point is it a big enough problem that something is done about it, as I know he's not the only one in this position.


MissusGeneHunt · 01/11/2018 06:12

Reading this thread is so fecking depressing. It's not shocking either, which in itself is shocking! I'm under two different consultants, both on the same hospital grounds. One however is with one Trust, and the other with another (and no, there's no invisible county boundary between them). Neither can access my records from each other to check medications and further, my GP can't either. All three are NHS, and all three on different record systems. Whilst neither condition is physically life threatening they both have huge impact on day to day living. The fact the three systems are in use have resulted in multiple long waits for treatment, and a completely disjointed approach to care. I would say that all three main medical personnel are superb, as are the teams surrounding them, but they are pressurized day to day by utterly appalling management.

This subject is EXACTLY what there needs to be a People's Vote on. Complaints get staticised and mean little, individual staff's health in relation to their work is harmed, and patients are being harmed to the point of dying due to irresponsible budgeting. The Blair years have much to be embarrassed and shamed for.


Twirlbites1 · 01/11/2018 06:22

snuggybuggy sorry you’ve had such a dreadful time. Sadly your situation isn’t uncommon.
I’m not sure where you get the idea that consultants aren’t refused annual leave. I am an NHS consultant and I can assure you we most definitely are refused leave....but like every other tier in the NHS there are staff shortages, so —often—sometimes if some one goes on holiday it leaves gaps in the schedule, which some hospitals won’t or can’t fill. It’s neither realistic nor sustainable to expect someone to repeatedly cancel their holiday to cover longstanding gaps


clearsommespace · 01/11/2018 06:39

I have lived much of my adult life in France and never had to see a specialist when I lived in the UK. (Only used GP, nurse and A&E. Experience was fine but dates back to 90s.)

Can someone explain WHY the NHS allocates appointments (often by letter and too late or to wrong address it would appear)?
Here in France we make our own appointments by phone. Sometimes it takes several calls to get through which is a bit tiresome and sometimes you are given an appointment 6+ months away, but it means that you fix a time which probably suits you/you can work around AND most importantly of which you are aware in advance. Also every phone call and every time I turn up for appointments, the secretary checks d.o.b. address and tel.


SnuggyBuggy · 01/11/2018 06:43

@Twirl, these are consultants I have worked for, I'm often the poor mug with the impossible task of rescheduling the poor patients in a reasonable timeframe. I appreciate that different hospitals may be stricter.

I'm not expecting any consultant to cancel leave but would like to see them held to similar rules to other members of NHS staff when requesting leave.


Puggles123 · 01/11/2018 06:50

She probably means free in terms of if you need an ambulance or an appointment you don’t have to worry about whether you can afford to pay the bill; and money is deducted from your pay as a set % so you don’t get demands through the door for payments that you may not be able to afford. So no, it isn’t free, but it also isn’t based on a payment model unaffordable to people.


SnuggyBuggy · 01/11/2018 06:58

Although thinking about it patients can also be very unreasonable about doctors being on annual leave. I have had many patients on the phone absolutely outraged to be told their consultant is on AL. It is a job like any other and does come with annual leave.

You do get very difficult patients or relatives who act like the hospital office is some kind medical helpline and we aren't set up for that. Admin teams aren't medically trained, can't give results, advice or explanations for Drs decisions. We can pass on messages to doctors, we can't usually put people through to the consultant there and then.


countrygirl99 · 01/11/2018 07:16

I haven't used the NHS much but can think of 3 occasions when There have been issues - all staff attitude/admin.

  1. youngest was about 18 months he seemed to just have a cold and then went downhill very quickly in the evening - temp of 105. Tried phoning GP but there as a problem with their phone and it was just ringing outbrathervthan diverting to out of hours. Phoned hospital ( this was before NHS Direct etc) who said to bring him straight in, potential meningitis. Care was fantastic and it was a chest infection but a nurse stood in the middle of the waiting room and berated me loudly for not calling the GP. I'm afraud I corrected her in similar tones.
  2. Same son has a facial condition that needed multiple treatment in max-facial clinic before major surgery. On more than one occasion we were sent a letter changing the appointment and then had to be re-referred because we hadn't gone to the cancelled appointment. No amount of complaint changed that idiocy. When he was admitted for the surgery in Luton he had visits from the anaesthetic and surgeon. First one had his file. When the second came along the nurse couldn't find the file and insisted Bedford hadn't sent it over. Wouldn't listen to me and phoned Bedford ranting they would have to cancel the surgery. I moved one file on her desk and there it was.
  3. Eldest son had a bad accident while living 250 miles away. Needed extensive orthopaedic surgery, pins, plates, rods the lot. The hip fracture aas so unusually severe that they initially suspected bone cancer. His own accomodation was unsuitable for him to return to immediately so he had to come home. Hospital phoned us to inform us. Had to phone on land line as his phone was damaged and he couldn't remember our mobiles. I went up and gave hospital both our mobile numbers. Went up again a couple of days later and discussed discharge arrangements. Ward clerk was insistent they had never had any contact details and wouldn't believe me that they had notified us of the accident. I had to grab the file and point to the 3 listed phone numbers. And they thought it was fine to phone me at 4pm and expect me to collect him that day when I needed to get home (1 hour), drive 250 miles at the busiest time of day, park a 20 minute walk away, get him to reception, collect car, drive 250 miles back and then walk up a narrow footpath in the dark in the small hours with someone with multiple legs and hip fracture and still on morphine - all of which had been discussed and they had agreed that if after lunch they would have to keep him iuntil n the next day.

WhirlyGigWhirlyGig · 01/11/2018 07:18

@Schuyler I'm on those £12k+ drugs too and I really don't think people understand the potential risk with them. I'm very grateful that I'm allowed them rather than on the traditional treatments that left my disease uncontrolled. But at the back of your mind you're thinking about getting an infection and becoming very unwell. My consultant that prescribes them is an example of an excellent nhs Doctor, always fighting the patients corner but I've had others previously who really just didn't care.


LunaLovegoodsRadishes · 01/11/2018 07:27

I am a moderate user of the NHS, as are all my family. I can usually get an appointment (in South London) with him within 10 days.

I also regularly attend two local hospitals for various problems (as does my husband) and I can say that yes, in certain areas, it's underfunded and the service is dire, but generally, for the cost of my taxes and NI each month, I am very impressed.

I think I should be grateful to the NHS for saving my brother from dying of cancer and keeping my Dad's cancer controlled so he has extra time to spend with his family.

Unless there was a medical mistake I wouldn't make a complaint.


swingofthings · 01/11/2018 07:34

My mum lives on France and her treatment in the last few years have been much worse than mine in the UK. We have both been referred for a similar issue (genetic related) and I got to see a specialist consultant weeks before she did, had a longer appointment closer to home despite her living in a bigger town and I will get the results much quicker.

I really think it depends on specific circumstances and luck!

I also agree that communication and understanding of the system at a huge part. For instance people thinking that ccg have a duty to follow/fund NICE guidance when all they have to adhere to legally are NICE Technical Appraisal Guidance, not guidelines or recomnendations (ie. Guidelines for IVF treatment).


swingofthings · 01/11/2018 07:42

Also everyone will have different perceptions and expectations and experiences based on these.

My MIL put a complaint about her treatment following surgery but the problem is that she is a very demanding woman with high expectations of getting attention. She is like this with her family and friends so when she doesn't get all that attention, she considers she is getting a rubbish sub-standard service!


OhTheRoses · 01/11/2018 08:06

I'll never forget an apt with ds when he was 9 months old and not turning the corner after bronchiolitis. Arrived at clinic, baby weighed and measured. Other nurse doing that raised her voice at a child for not standing square against the measuring thingy. I remember being really shocked by how rough the attitude was. Sat down and called into see registrar, a surly young woman. She didn't bother looking up, she didn't introduce herself, just spat out "you all turn up late and now you all turn up at once, now get him undressed". I remonstrated that I had not turned up late and didn't expect to be spoken to like that. She looked at me and told me to get on with it.

I walked out with baby and asked to see the consultant because I did not expect to be subjected to that level of rudeness. Consultant had gone home and they refused to make an apt with her without a chit from piggy knickers.

I refused to leave the hospital without a full copy of my son's notes because I knew I would have him referred privately elsewhere.

I did get a letter from the consultant apologising because she had just left the hospital when this happened and wishing us well. As for piggy knickers evidently she hadn't intended to be rude and had merely been observing a lot of patients were late.

Happily a private appointment was informative and reassuring. We were given (£25) a small turbohaler (not avail on NHS due to cost - they give out nebulisers worth £100 when the spacer isn't effective) more efficient than a spacer and a session with an asthma nurse who explained when one puffed it wasn't a matter of counting to 10 as instructed by the NHS paed asthma nurse, but trying to ensure the baby took 10 breaths rather than was holding his breath as many do. Also that 50% went in on breath 1, 20% on breath two, so it was permissible to puff again to get the full dose in. After six months of hell baby turned the corner in a couple of days and never needed the nebuliser again and never had another admission. All we had needed wS some good advice yet this had not been forthcoming from 1 consultant, 3 registrars, countless ward nurses or the nurses in the community paed team who came with a big dollop of "right on"attitude. And the comment about NHS staff being arsy to middle class patients is interesting from morbidly obese above because the number of times I've had snide comments at the house or at appointments is ludicrous. Including an orthopaedic consultant who looked us up and down and announced he had a visit from the Aryan master race (big boned and blonde children - my antecedents are Jewish), asked ds's school and raised an eyebrow, noted our address as somewhere hospital consultants couldn't afford and asked what my husband did. On hearing the word barrister promptly said "we can't afford to take any chances with this young man then, we'll manipulate that break back into place, get it in a full cast and I'll guarantee no lumps or bumps on that arm. The nurses on the ward were vile - it was an unexpected admission overnight, my period started and I asked for assistance. Was just looked at and told we don't provide those services - maternity might have a spare towel. Maternity is 15 mins there and 15 back leaving an anxious child in a noisy ward at 3am. There were half a dozen women. Seriously, not one had a tampon in her locker or at the bottom of her bag? And no, they weren't busy, they'd kept people awake with their giggling and bant about blokes and Ibeefa for a couple of hours

We aren't dim or vulnerable parents so one can only imagine the impact of this shambles on vulnerable families. But the waste of time and low level incompetence was jaw dropping. London and my DC are grown up so the problems aren't new.


Sirzy · 01/11/2018 08:14

Errm nhs don’t give out nebulisers Hmm it is exceptionally hard to get one for home use and even in hospitals they are moving away from their use in a lot of cases as spacer and inhaler is widely shown to be as effective


Ollivander84 · 01/11/2018 08:27

teaandtoast - I have to inject myself weekly, that's fairly standard that you need to do it maybe post op or giving birth. Nobody else to do it for me!


OhTheRoses · 01/11/2018 08:50

In 1995, in Wandsworth, they did sirzy. Recommended by drs at QMUH and delivered by the community paed nursing team.


Sirzy · 01/11/2018 08:54

Going back that far in order to add your slagging off the nhs is some going Hmm


SnuggyBuggy · 01/11/2018 09:01

What was standard in 1995 may well have changed to be fair


InertPotato · 01/11/2018 09:15

Ohtheroses you do seem a bit like hard work.

And those who keep banging on about it not being free...the tax each of us have to pay towards it is minimal and places no hardship on individuals. WE DO NOT HAVE TO PAY FOR TREATMENT OR TO SEE A DOCTOR.

Whether you pay for a service when you use it or through some other mechanism e.g. taxes or premiums or whatever is surely irrelevant.

Why do you presume to know what any one person is paying towards the NHS? Their annual budget is over £100 billion and it's all coming from taxpayers. This is why you'll be received with exasperation should you be so foolish as to call it free. Why don't you just consider just not saying this anymore?


citiesofbismuth · 01/11/2018 09:17

Ds2 had to see a physio and we turned up and waited, we were the only patients in the room. The physio opened the door and we went in. He seemed irritated with me and was rude and dismissive. I am quiet and polite. I don't know what I did wrong.

I sent dh for the follow up appointment and the physio was fine and friendly.

My gallbladder is hurting again this morning. Can you still do that queue jumping thing where you pay to see a private consultant, then he includes you on his nhs list for treatment?

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