Category Archives: NHS

How to fix the NHS – in 45 seconds flat

Girl showing stopwatch
If each of us took just 45 seconds with soap and water after everything we do, most NHS problems would simply go away

45 seconds is the time most people take to sing one verse of God Save the Queen twice.

Same length as the official version played at major events, like the FA Cup or international athletics meets.

It’s also the same time health experts recommend we should all take to wash our hands.

Not just a wiggle under the tap. Or just a rinse. The full Monty with soap and hot water – including between the fingers and backs of hands.

OK, big deal.

Soap and water to the rescue

So how does this rescue the NHS?

According to the latest media uproar, the system is drowning under the sheer number of patients. A&E departments swamped, operations backed up for months, not enough beds to care for people properly.

To spell it out more clearly – way too many patients.

Huh?

The NHS is a massive organisation with a budget this year of £107 billion, how can there be too many patients?

Because a lot of them SHOULDN’T BE THERE.

Our political train smash

Thanks to political machinating twelve years ago, most GPs don’t work weekends any more, so patients go to A&E instead of their local clinic. Except – surprise, surprise – the human body doesn’t take the weekend off, just like professional hospitals don’t.

Because when you’re sick, you’re sick. And you can’t wait around haemorrhaging all over the place because some politico bribed doctors for votes by letting them loose on the golf course.

Yeah, but politicians don’t sign up to the Hippocratic Oath – or any other code of conduct, it seems. For yonks doctors knew that their whole career was on call, day or night. They even made house calls.

Now, thanks to Westminster – none of whom are practicing doctors, last time anyone looked – you either call an ambulance, or you go to A&E. An organisational train smash.

And that’s not just weekends. It’s every day.

Because appointment times are so backed up, it takes a month to get to your GP anyway. Even then, there’s hours in reception, waiting to get your 5 minutes. Not exactly helpful with that headache killing you, or the pain in your chest that won’t go away.

Wash the whole problem away

So how does washing our hands help?

Think about it. Most everyday ailments are caused by infection of some kind. Tummy troubles, respiratory problems, allergies – viruses or bacteria at work to make you feel lousy.

And how do you catch them?

By swallowing them, or breathing them in, or sometimes by absorption through the skin. Nearly always introduced into your body by your hands – those things you do everything with – touch, feel, hold, grab, move, rub, scratch. Oh yes, and eat.

At the same time, we all know the importance of hygiene – that there are viruses and bacteria everywhere, waiting to do us down. But somehow washing our hands never seems to be on the radar.

We’re too OK, most of the time. Unaware that our hands become loaded with germs with everything we do. That they need constant “de-germing” to keep us safe. And that ordinary soap and water for 45 seconds will get rid of 99.9% of them.

Dishing the dirt – on ourselves

It’s more like we have a death wish. Because, believe it or not:

OK, so if 95% of us aren’t washing our hands properly, how many of us are falling ill from side-stepping 45 seconds of soap and water?

Probably at least half – maybe even a lot more.

But suppose we DID remember – and DID NOT fall ill as a result?

No need to go to the Doc at all, hey? No need to run to the NHS because the Doc’s not available. No crowds, no hours of waiting, no A&E staff stressed out from non-stop pressure. Problem sorted.

And all from 45 seconds of easy self hygiene.

Brexit from germs

A lot better than the politicians can do, because they’ll never get it right. Unless they can see votes coming out of soap and water, they won’t think about it anyway. They play best at down and dirty – and we’re all paying for it.

Wash our hands of them and our £107 billion NHS organisation suddenly becomes the amazing support mechanism it’s supposed to be. Brexit from germs.

Not bad for 45 seconds.

God Save the Queen.

Copyright: nomadsoul1 / 123RF Stock Photo and dolgachov/ 123RF Stock Photo

Stop workplace germs – and buy a whole new NHS (twice over)

Twin doctors
Double value. More time, more beds, better treatment – make workplace germs go away and NHS problems go away too

Relax, stop worrying. We really can have a whole new NHS twice over – just by eliminating workplace germs.

Big numbers?

Sure.

Which just shows you how much money leaks away when germs get the upper hand.

Get ready for some jaw-dropping math.

According to the NHS’s own figures, planned expenditure for 2016/17 is £120.611bn.  On top of which is the current deficit – a whopping £2.45 billion.

Black hole, about to go away

Put the two together, and you get £123.061 billion.

Double it, and that comes to £246.122 billion.

OK, so putting the NHS to one side for a moment, how about this?

The fact that being sick off work costs British employers a monumental £29 billion, according to business experts PWC.

And even worse, that “presenteeism” – when people are unwell but come to work anyway – costs TEN TIMES that – a mind-boggling £290 billion.

More than double present NHS bankroll needs – with around £44 billion in change – about what British businesses pay in corporation tax.

Uh huh.

Reaching for the impossible

So what kind of magic wand would it take to disappear Britain’s combined off sick and unwell at work costs? Impossible, right?

Not exactly.

Sure, it’s not just germs that make people take off sick – or struggle through the working day. There’s musculoskeletal problems, like back pain and neck ache. Stress, depression and mental anguish. All medical, but not germ-related.

But around 85% of us agree that the major cause of working life grief is minor ailments. Colds, flu, tummy bugs, that sort of thing.

And 85% of £290 billion is..?

You guessed it, £246 billion. The cost of launching a whole new NHS twice over – all caused by germs.

Which says, stop the germs – and we stop £246 billion every year going down the plughole.

Basically impossible, right?

WRONG!

All hyped up, safe and secure

By misting up workplaces daily with ionised hydrogen peroxide after staff have gone home – all viruses and bacteria are eliminated, oxidised to nothing.

Next morning, when staff come in, the whole place is sterile. To a Log-6 Sterility Assurance Level – 99.9999% germs gone.

Yeah OK, people bring in fresh germs with them. On their skin and clothing, from whatever they might have wrong with them – and their own personal germ cloud.

But the germ threshold is zero at start the day, so any cross-contamination is minimised. Fewer germs to catch, less chance of feeling off colour – productivity nudges closer to 100%.

Press button easy

And the miracle machine that does all this?

It’s not a miracle at all, it’s a Hypersteriliser. A wheelie-bin sized automatic unit that ensures maximum dispersal of safe, low concentration, germ-killing hydrogen peroxide – the same stuff our own bodies produce to fight infection.

And it spreads across all surfaces and behind them, into all cracks and crevices, and throughout all airspace. Actively forced there by electrostatic charge.

Contact time for destroying germs is only seconds, though dispersal does take time, depending on room size. Forty minutes usually, and you’re done. The whole place is sterile.

Clawing money back from germs

Which neatly plugs productivity losses caused by absenteeism and presenteeism together. Effectively releasing one-third more work capability without extra cost.

The trick now of course is to persuade employers to donate all this money to the NHS.

They can certainly afford it.

And with sick leave absences down by 85%, the demands on the system will be so much less too. Shorter waiting times in A&E. More beds available. Adequate time for intricate surgery. Generous time for recovery under care.

So if a staff member does go down with something, they’ll be treated quicker and back sooner.  And that goes for all the other ailments too. The musculoskeletal jobbies and that lot. Because we’re all of us susceptible.

Including that heavyweight MD with the bad back that puts her out of action three days in ten. There’s a whole new NHS waiting ready to look after her. In fact, two for the price of one.

And hello, hello, the doctor WILL see her now.

Picture Copyright: citalliance / 123RF Stock Photo

Revealed: more dirt on the NHS crisis

Payoff
Throw money at the NHS all we like, the dirt will still be there

Over-crowding, check. Long waiting times, check. Not enough beds, check. Not enough doctors, check. Most of the dirty work has been done already.

Not by medics. By Westminster. Put a bunch of politicos together and they’ll screw up anything.

Disorganised chaos

Which is how come we have GPs only working 9 to 5 and not weekends – some damn fool renegotiated their contracts.

The same bunch of idiots also shut all the care homes – so the old folks had no place to go.

Oh yeah, and because they know more about medicine than anyone else in the universe, they instituted targets and 5 minute consultation slots, so most diagnoses are only thumb-suck and people go home worse than they started.

And twenty-four hour drinking – double and triple injuries, accidents and liver-related issues.

Oh, and of course, mindless immigration.

Welcome to our country, we have no facilities to support you, so you can live in a paper bag. What do you mean, your whole family is sick?

Nice one, hey? But they’re who we voted for and that’s the service we pay taxes on. We’ve lucked it on ourselves.

Our own fault

Actually, we really have. Because aside from these Westminster-driven overcrowding and logistical shortfalls, most NHS issues are driven by two things – dirt and antibiotics damage.

The dirt is all of us, because our personal  hygiene is so appalling. That’s the only word for it. The only reason we’re not permanently sick is the compensating level of sanitation organised around us. Safe water to drink, effective sewage, clean streets, regular rubbish removal. Take them away and we’d all be cholera cases.

Because pretty well most of us are dirty all the time – particularly our hands, which touch everything – the major source of infection transfer. Don’t believe it? The view in the mirror is not nice.

Take out accidents, because they can happen to anyone – and we’re left with a high proportion of people suffering ailments and illnesses brought on by their own lack of hygiene. In workplaces alone less than half of us have accidents, so the rest comes down to dirt.

Dirt, unclean hands and bodies, unchecked infection, inevitable illness.

If we washed our hands regularly – certainly before food and after the loo every time, we’d take more than 50% of cases away from GPs – more than 50% of cases away from A&E.

Amazing, huh? Half the NHS budget in an instant. Soap and water beats billions of pounds of salaries and investment.

And for the real dirt

Which leaves antibiotics damage.

Not so easy, this one.

We think of antibiotics as amazing rescue medicines – and yes they are, in an emergency.

Trouble is, they work by killing bacteria – which is fine as long as they only kill the “bad guy” bacteria making us ill. Unfortunately, they kill a lot wider than that – which destroys or damages a lot of the vitally necessary “good guy” bacteria we each of us have living in our own gut – to handle digestion, manage our immune systems, and a thousand other essential functions.

And the bad news is, we’re exposed to antibiotics all the time – not from medicine, but from food. They’re the farmer’s miracle growth promoter – shovelled into feedstuffs for every meal, accelerating development of livestock and plant crops four and five times bigger and faster.

We eat plants and animals, we swallow the antibiotics too – so we get bigger, faster as well. Which is why two thirds of us are now overweight or obese – and a third of our children too – at a cost to the NHS of £73 billion a year.  Ripe candidates for type 2 diabetes, cancer and heart disease.

Plus all the other glitches to our immune systems. Like allergies we never used to have – asthma, rhinitis, food intolerance, dermatitis, eczema, hay fever, dust, mould, nuts, coeliac disease – the list is endless.

And all the while, our immune systems become less and less resilient, more prone to the slightest infection. More at risk from the billions and billions of viruses and bacteria that surround us every second of every day. Microscopic organisms, invisible but deadly,  nano-dirt in the air and on every surface around us.

Plenty more cases to send to A&E. Long-term illnesses with slow debilitation. At the rate we’re going, ALL of us could wind up in hospital – and the NHS would sink without trace.

How we’ll survive

OK, so we can wash our hands, that’s Defence One.

Defence Two is to sterilise our surroundings, keeping them safe as our resistance diminishes. Not the great outdoors of course, that’s impossible. But we can protect our enclosed living spaces, homes, schools, workplaces, hotels, restaurants, even planes and trains and ships.

All it takes is a regular mist-up of safe and eco-friendly ionised hydrogen peroxide. A dry spray that reaches deep into cracks and crevices, behind and under objects, hard up against walls and ceilings, and of course across every inch of flat surface. Forty minutes and all viruses and bacteria are destroyed. No germs, anywhere.

Waiting for Westminster – again

Now it’s up to the politicos to get antibiotics out of our food chain – to get them under control with proper protective legislation, to stop the health-sapping drift to obesity that all of us have, and will continue to have, until the drugs are out of our diet.

And that’s really the dirt. Because so many of us are already sick or sickening needlessly from Westminster’s negligence. Take away the health threat and the NHS stands a fighting chance of being the service it ought to be.

Oh yeah, as long as we don’t forget to wash our hands all the time as well – the other main cause of illnesses everywhere. It’s a personal responsibility none of us can step away from.

Picture Copyright: nito500 / 123RF Stock Photo

Revealed: biggest cause of hospital-acquired bugs

J'accuse - girl pointing
Don’t blame the doctors and nurses, they’re at least trying

Humour us on this one.

Go to your local hospital – the biggest one preferably.

Smile at the reception people and go stand in the corridor just beyond.

Now watch.

Busy, isn’t it?

The world in a hurry

Lots of people in. Lots of people out. Medics, support workers, delivery people, visitors.

Depending on the time of day, more than 60 a minute.

And all in a rush. The only people taking their time are in wheelchairs or on crutches.

Rush, rush, rush.

Notice something else.

See those broad red stripes on the wall with the dispensers at chest level? Can’t really miss them, can you? Like a fire engine on wedding cake. Totally in your face.

That’s the sanitising station – a hygiene stop to treat hands with disinfecting alcohol gel. Three dispensers next to each other, on both sides of the corridor. Well, 60 people a minute, they need them.

Check how the professional people use the things. Brisk step up, squidge-squidge, step away to allow the next one, working the hands, fingers intertwined, making sure it gets everywhere – palms, backs, wrists – still at it as they move down the corridor.

In a rush of course, always on the go – but taking nearly two minutes to do the thing properly.

OK, so how about everybody else?

Here they come, rushing in to see Aunt Joey, Cousin Bob, sick Mummy, or brother Andrew.

Shouldn’t you..?

Hey, wait a minute, what are you doing..?

Stop!

Amazing, hey?

Invisible life-savers

Bright red stripe, all the way across the wall and the floor. Invisible.

Either that, or they’re colour-blind.

Nah! Not that many people – never. Fact is though, that they just don’t see it.

60 people a minute – and not all professionals. Ordinary blokes and blokesses. Straight through like there was nothing there. And all that gunk on their hands from the big wide world.

Dirt, grime, sauce from lunch, bits of poo from the last-minute dump before they came – because don’t argue, 62% of men and 40% of women NEVER wash their hands after going to the toilet.

Hang on, though. This is the main entrance – there’s other sanitising stations further inside. Go on! Follow up and see.

No-go at the lift lobby. No-go on the stairs. Not even stopping at the entrance to the ward. Straight through to Joey/Bob/Mummy/Andrew.

Ew!

Never mind this is a hospital, never mind there’s open wounds or anything.

Kiss-kiss, hug-hug – hands all over each other.

An open ticket for e.coli, salmonella, c. difficile, campylobacter, MRSA, colds, flu, norovirus – or anything else that’s on the go at the moment.

The elephant in the room, isn’t it? And you’ve just seen it for yourself. THE major cause of all kinds of infection in hospitals.

And that’s the reality.

Forget today’s paper with its shock horror headlines about the NHS. It’s not about staff inadequacies, failure of care, or lapse in procedures.

The real bad guys

It’s everyday visitors.

People straight in from outside without a hint of hygiene. Thoughtless, careless, couldn’t give a stuff.

Not until it’s them who’s in here after chopping off a finger. Them, with MRSA turning into runaway sepsis. Can’t find a doctor or nurse to take care of things? And who’s stupid fault is it there are so many people in here with complications in the first place?

The NHS takes a lot of flack because of people like that. Always hard-pressed, always in an emergency, swamped by people too full of themselves to have any consideration for others.

Sure they’ve got problems – you try running your hardest without a break for days on end and see how you score. So they don’t need more stupidity lucked on them by visitors.

Yeah, lots of finger-pointing by the holies – the service isn’t up to the job. But same like always, it’s one finger pointing forwards – and three fingers pointing back.

The biggest cause of hospital bugs? Carelessness by people like you and me.

OK, it’s not difficult – just go ahead and use the gel!

Take a bow, NHS – your dedication is showing

Happy doctor
How wonderful to feel wanted
and treated like a human being

Apologies for the last few blog-less days.

An elderly relative needed an urgent hospital check-up – a blood clot and infection scare.

Negative, as it turned out – though a bit nerve-wracking as it happened.

Not that it was allowed to be a drama.

Special people

Without exception, hospital staff from reception to department administrators to nurses to doctors were all reassuring, calm and professional – nothing too much trouble – dignity and respect super-plus.

Doubly important when you’re over ninety and a bit unsure of this world whizzing round you.

Yes, there were waits. Long ones watching the clock while blood tests were processed and ultrasound time was found.

But things happened, somehow the busy schedule was opened up to accommodate this little old lady – all on top of the usual hectic pace that is the hospital norm.

The extra mile – every day

Yes, take a bow – everything about this experience was exemplary.

Nobody wants to be in hospital and it was two days out of everyday life. Tiring, drawn out – but inspiring in the company of staff amazingly adept at putting smiles on our faces.

In reassuring surroundings too.

Spend a few hours in a waiting room chair and you notice things like clean floors and dust-free furniture. Same thing with the inevitable loo-breaks. Clean, properly up kept, with every sanitising precaution visibly upheld.

All stuff that is really difficult in a super-busy place with several hundred people all doing different things to the best of their professional ability – dedicated, committed and involved like you’ll never find in a supermarket or clothing store.

Horrible people get treated nice too

Sure, there were people all around who moaned and complained.

One look at their faces though, it was obvious they will always whinge about something.

How have we become so awful that we have to bellyache all the time – especially with so many people trying to help us?

A lot of people seem to bad mouth the NHS – and maybe they have reason. But two full days going through the system without anyone putting a foot wrong seemed to be the norm in this hospital – not at all an exception.

So, a message to the moaners on behalf of NHS staff who are far too polite to say:

“Shut up, you lot! Let us get on with our jobs.”

Thank you folks, you were wonderful.

Maybe we can do the same for you some day.

Why do we deprive the NHS of kindness?

Kind nurse
Kindness is personal – you feel it by example and teach it to yourself

The stories don’t go away.

Accusing headlines still roll – long after the Mid Staffs disaster.

Sloppy hygiene, indifferent  care,  patients maltreated and sidelined.

Will nothing save the NHS from self-destruction?

Once more with feeling

It’s from reports like these that the Compassion in Practice programme was begun – a nation-wide initiative led by Jane Cummings, Chief Nursing Officer for England.

Compassion is so sadly lacking that a special drive is necessary to put it in place. To recognise that patients are human beings, not numbers. That feelings and sensitivities are involved.

All very laudable – but in reality, just another top-down knee-jerk from the rah-rah top dogs. To make it look like some moral responsibility is happening.

Yes, it’s an important project and the people involved in it are obviously committed to the hilt. It’s also doomed to token responses and indifference across the board.

Lip service

Why?

Because though its focus is compassion, in the misguided real world we’ve created for ourselves, our culture no longer includes kindness.

We have become mean, selfish and bad-tempered in ways that would shock our parents. The product of our go-faster, results-driven, material-grabbing society.

And strong though it is, the Compassion in Practice programme is no match for our ingrained reflex of only looking out for Number One.

Its very credo demonstrates the background from which it has sprung: Care, Compassion, Competence, Communication, Courage and Commitment.

Take out “Compassion” and it could be any double-speak marketing plan from selling life insurance to toothpaste. Our sales teams care, we bring you the best through Competence, Communication, Courage and Commitment.

You’ve been a customer. You’ve heard it before.

Poppycock!

All those invisible words strung together to be saluted while the company hymn is sung. Meaningless promises of nothing from their overuse. Right over the heads of patients and medical staff alike.

A real issue

Which is a crying shame because it IS important. Compassion, that is.

People ARE lying in hospital and suffering unnecessarily.

Ignored, unattended and forgotten because that is the way we treat everything in our online, mobile-obsessed, narcissistic society.

Yes, Compassion. But where is the kindness?

Taken away because all of us are stampeded for time.

Gotta get results. Gotta go, go, go.

Come on, let’s move – we’ve got targets here.

Targets!

The most deadly concept ever applied to the NHS. (Tweet this)

Again because people are people, not numbers. And people need time to be treated right. As far away from targets as you could possibly get.

Give of yourself

Because kindness is time.

And sorry, that means none of the “time is money” principles of modern cut-throat business apply here.

Time is giving of yourself and we’re too damn full of ourselves to allow it. It’s the prevailing culture and we’re all immersed in it all the time.

Of course, doctors and nurses try to step out of it – and a lot of them succeed.

Only to get chucked straight back into it, coming off duty. Back to the rat-race – traffic jams, bus queues, grab-while-you-can supermarket offers and first-come-first-served push-shove living.

All of which is the world’s worst experience when you’re ill.

When you’re not yourself and things won’t work properly – scared and unsure you will ever survive.

And all around you is the driving myth that there aren’t enough hours in the day.

That everything must be short, bite-sized and razor-sharp to get through what is needed.

The minimum of care, concern, courtesy, considerateness, cognizance of others and consciousness of their needs.

Impossible to sign up to without time.

Not us any more

Because kindness requires reflexes we no longer have. Listening, paying attention, thinking of others, responding to them with respect and dignity.

You can’t learn these in a weekend workshop. Or wave around a certificate claiming you’ve got them.

They’re life skills we learn the hard way from birth, vital capabilities that get used every day. Or should.

Disciplines that make us better than we are.

That lift us up from being also-rans in the rat-race – into feeling, caring human beings who really do give a damn about the world around us and the people in it.

Kindness in the NHS?

Back to being human

It’s there all right. And it’s up to us to encourage it by our own example. To give Jane Cummings and her team the co-operation, support and teeth that they need.

To prove that Compassion in Practice really does inspire Care, Compassion, Competence, Communication, Courage and Commitment.

To get away from those staff abuse posters that are a daily indictment of the lives we lead.

To get away from the mindset none of us believe anyway. Your call IS important, we care about our customers. Currently, you are Number 17 in a queue.

To be polite and thoughtful even though waiting times are long. To co-operate at every turn to make staff’s work easier. To act with kindness ourselves and inspire it in return.

Because what goes around, comes around.

And it’s not necessarily the NHS that’s to blame.

It’s us.

Diddums! It’s toenail panic at A&E

Bare foot
Ow! Really? Unnecessary A&E visits are costing £100 million a year

Sure it hurts.

But it’s not life-threatening, is it?

Not even a major trauma.

More like an aching nag as you go through the day. It even disappears when you’re not thinking about it.

Everyday non-event

Hardly there at all.

Yet you’re one of the 138 people who crowded into your local A&E this morning – and grinding your teeth as the four-hour waiting period winds on and on.

Grrr!

But just look at that crowd.

Desperation stakes, right?

Just trying to keep pace with a mob like that is why the NHS is hiring overflow doctors at £3,200 a shift and nurses at £1,900 a day.

And before you throw a blue fit, the kind of shift these people are in for is twelve hours. Half a day on your feet, snatched moments for a bite to eat, no chance for coffee – and what do you mean, time to go to the loo?

Well how else to solve the overload except throw money at it?

Your money when it comes down to it – it comes off your taxes.

Yes, it’s damn stupid – but just be careful where you point that finger in choosing why this is happening.

Not enough doctors, why?

Too many patients, why?

Bored, selfish, couldn’t care less

Because all this heaving mass of people reckon A&E is where they need to be.

Accident and Emergency – excuse our snigger.

Not crisis handling centres of last resort but first stop for minor worries and social difficulties.

How minor?

A call to the local Doc reveals – Missed Appointments for February:

  • Doctor 217
  • Nurse 56
  • Blood Tests 55

Too busy with Turkish dancing classes. Or Pilates. Or bridge at the Leisure Centre.

T&N, not A&E

Twinges and Niggles, more like.

And failure of everywhere else to take care of the problem.

No sticking plasters in the bathroom cabinet. Too lazy to go to the chemist. Not prepared to wait at the GP’s clinic. So mosey on down to A&E.

It’s the same with all the emergency services.

They’re there to handle real issues – people dying or under bodily threat.

But ask the cops or the fire brigade.

Overwhelmed by trivia or mischief-making nonsense.

How many hoax calls? You won’t believe it.

Like calling 999 for hiccups, or reporting a stolen snowman.

Your local A&E is the same.

And like all the other blue light services, the professionals who operate it cannot take a chance that maybe your problem isn’t serious.

Total waste of time

Your toenail won’t kill, but everybody in A&E gets handled as though it might.

The only people who will listen to you, right?

The only people who give a damn about whether you’re OK, or not OK – because the rest of us are too caught up in ourselves, or too selfish to even lift a finger.

Yes, there are real issues that happen in A&E. Real life-and-death cases, right there, on the spot.

And we are all of us amazingly fortunate that we have such high powered professionals to catch us when we drop.

Which means A&E is not the problem, we are. (Tweet this)

Man up

Fifty years ago, half our aches and pains would not even have been looked at. Not because doctors back then didn’t have the skills, but because nobody considered them significant.

Part of being grown-up. Man up and forget about it was how most people thought. And going to the Doc was only when it was serious.

Now it’s toenails at A&E.

OK, if that’s the way we Brits have decided we want it, we mustn’t whinge if it costs us a bob or two in taxes.

It’s our fault, not A&E’s.

Why we only get the NHS we deserve

Angry Doctor
Do they ever treat you
like most of us treat them?

Indifference, sloppy procedure, rudeness, improper behaviour.

If that’s the treatment you got every day, how would you feel?

Because, look around when you next walk into an NHS hospital.

Enter, the super-rude

Right across A&E, General Outpatients, X-Ray and all the other clinics, you’ll see the same.

Members of the public treating staff like dirt. Not the other way around.

It may not be abuse or threatening behaviour. But it’s often the nearest thing to it. The pot calling the kettle black.

People acting like hooligans – and that’s just in the reception areas.

Walk to your appointment and you can’t escape it. Because even listening with half an ear, behind closed doors it’s worse.

Swearing, insults, they’re all par for the course.

Death of respect

And – surprise, surprise – it’s not usually your yobs or chavvy mums on the case.

It’s the potty-mouthed posh and jumped-up big deals. Looking like they own the place and don’t want it. “I’ve been waiting here thirty minutes, when will you people start doing your jobs?”

Respect?

It died years ago, if it ever existed.

Every day, staff face a never-ending tide of rude, unpleasant and downright selfish behaviour from people who never consider that others might be important too.

Or even that someone else’s life-threatening condition might be slightly more important than their own twisted ankle – caught in a doorway because they weren’t looking where they were going.

The forgotten magic word

Now ask yourself, is it any wonder when staff get bad-mouthed all the time, that full-service attention is sometimes allowed to slip? Especially at the lower end of the scale, where jobs are often drudges and the only way is up?

Though the public may not believe it, staff are people too. And if your life is nothing but bedpans and cleaning toilets, that extra five minutes on your tea-break can be the only thing that keeps you sane.

Think hard as you walk through the corridors. When was the last time you heard the magic word?

In this world, “Please” and “Thank You” are swearing of the worst kind. (Tweet this)

What the heck, they’re only NHS – they’ll never understand. If you really want attention, best to stand in the middle of the place and yell “Shop!”

OK, there are exceptions. In an organisation of 1.3 million people like the NHS, they’re inevitable. Here and there don’t-care individuals that the tabloids haven’t exposed yet.

But against these embarrassments, most of NHS staff are themselves exceptional.

Because doing this job ain’t the same as your nine-to-five marketing board game.

Dead, or dedication

It takes seven years to become a doctor. Five or six to become a nurse.

Then you’ve got your internship and a whole run of other hurdles before you’re allowed to fly. Not forgetting of course that you have to keep updating yourself to stay qualified.

On top of that, the hours are long, breaks are short or non-existent, you may even forget to know what sleep is all about.

And yet some of them – the more super-dedicated and professional – actually volunteer for more. Hundreds applied to work in Africa fighting Ebola, one of the most dangerous and deadly diseases in the world.

So what have they done to deserve rudeness and four-letter words from their own countrymen who they’re only trying to help?

Looks like minding some P’s and Q’s might be in order.

Complain about the NHS, we’ve brought it on ourselves.

So why aren’t we pleased with it?

Atishoo, atishoo, is the NHS falling down?

Girl serving hamburger
Even McDonalds can’t serve you as fast as this

It’s happening all over again.

Another scandal. Whistleblowers. People dying in thousands. Claims of negligence, malpractice and mismanagement.

Are we all more at risk than we know?

Unlikely.

Sheer scale

Because the NHS is no ordinary organisation.

Behind its doors, 1.3 million professionals handle over 1 million patients every 36 hours. (Tweet this)

On that kind of scale, problems and hiccups are inevitable.

Just think of the pressure. The clock is ticking, people need attention. Staff take short cuts, managers go for easy options, safety procedures get overlooked.

So now there’s another hoo-hah about failures, and patients “too scared” to complain.

Regrettable, yes. Unforgivable, certainly. In some cases, possibly criminal.

Except that for an organisation the size of the NHS, complaints are inevitable and actually essential.

Reality check

Take everybody’s pet wail and squawk  – A&E.

In just one year, it handles 22 million patients and up – most of them inside the official 4 hour waiting period.

That’s more than 2,500 an hour – or around 40 a minute – 365 days a year, 24/7.

How many fast food outlets can equal that?

Try ordering a double burger and chips at McDonalds and expecting them in 60 seconds – at the same time as 40 other seriously hungry dudes are yelling for theirs.

And McDonalds get complaints too. Every big organisation does.

They actually need them.

Complaints are necessary

And as a customer, it’s kinda like your duty to complain.

Because at that kind of turnover, how else can anyone know that something is wrong?

Everything is happening too fast for even eagle-eyed perfectionists to notice, so it’s up to each of us to press the buzzer when things glitch.

So if there’s moaning and yelling going on about the NHS, be thankful.

Something is getting attention and something will be done about it.

Sure, it’s scary that it involves doctors and hospitals and people’s lives.

At least it’s out in the open and not hushed up any more.

And how many big manufacturers have not tried to get away with that?

Nowadays even BMW and Toyota are not afraid to issue a total recall.

If there is a problem, it needs to be fixed.

Being open and honest about it restores confidence.

And not everything in the NHS is a train-smash like Mid Staffs.

Confidence

Going in to hospital for an op?

In 2014, compared to Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and USA, the NHS was rated as best by the Commonwealth Fund for efficiency, effective care, safe care, coordinated care, patient-centred care and cost-related problems.

Looks like you’re safe enough.

But make sure you shout like hell if you’re not.

You owe it to yourself.

NHS strike: who can blame them?

Aggro woman
You’d strike too, if people wasted your time the same way

Shock, horror. Whatever will we do?

No gumming up A&E with split fingernails. No ambulance to pick up the shopping from Tesco.

It’s a disgrace, that’s what it is.

You betcha.

The real price tag

Over-worked health professionals doing 12 hour shifts for small change, while the fat-cat administrators pull down enough to fund a small country.

You’d strike too, under those circumstances.

For a lot more than the 1% these folk are asking.

Day and night they’re on the job, every day of the year. With rank-and-file workers often on less than £1,800 a month.

So how long would you last on that, at the pace they have to work at?

Pie in the sky

Meanwhile, in those swish Band 9 offices with the reserved parking bay outside, £1,800 might be closer to the take-home for a week.

And these aren’t necessarily doctors, mind. Not even technical experts.

Amazing where you can get with the right politics, isn’t it? And the right network.

Plugged in all the way to Westminster. Where salaries and expenses and budgets don’t mean a lot anyway.

Unless you’re the unfortunate one in the hot seat who’s unavoidably responsible.

So the actual workers are jumping up and down for a 1% increase. Less than 50p a day. Not even parking money to the fat cats. Not even enough for their newspaper.

Peanuts at the price

Trim their salaries to make up the deficit and they wouldn’t even feel it. Half a day’s less sun-lounger on the beach at Ibiza.

Yet they and all the other heavies are complaining the strike will put lives at risk.

Except – reality check – lives are at risk already, if you’re an actual worker.

You try coming out on £1,800 a month – rent, utilities and groceries – with still enough to pay for your Oyster card to get to work. What do you mean, car? Is this some kind of joke?

Which is exactly what arguing the toss on this strike is.

Sure it pushes up costs, which the NHS cannot afford.

Unless it’s clawed back from the fat cats who none of us asked for or needed in the first place.

Let any one of them come into A&E and complain about the service.

Or sound off that the NHS is a waste of money, like that uber-large political dinosaur on TV last week.

What price, duty of care?

50p to fix your fingernail? Try doing that down the High Street.

Or does sir need special attention from falling out of a taxi after an evening of special networking? Slightly concussed are we? Bit of a broken leg?

Yes, it’s a waste of money fixing it up – but they’ll do it anyway. On the house, like they always do.

OK, so it’s 1% and we’ll all wind up paying for it somehow.

But who cares, if you’re really in trouble and could just die?

You won’t find more dedicated experts anywhere. (Tweet this)

Or better attention for your fingernails.