Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Fear of getting old and ill in this country

I've always had a healthy respect and regard for the NHS but it is no longer functioning properly.  We have too large a population, too much is expected of the service and we have too few doctors and nurses.  Little wonder when you realise that upon qualification doctors and nurses can leave the UK and work in much more inviting countries like Australia.  As the training of doctors and nurses is very expensive, one would have thought they would be required to put in a few years of work for the country which afforded them their education.  I've met retired NHS workers who say that money is thrown at the NHS but in the wrong direction - apparently it goes into the burgeoning bureaucracy.  I am old enough to remember the days when Matron controlled the wards and not some nameless administrators who are not 'hands on'. The hospitals were spotless and everything was done in house and not farmed out to private companies.

To my shock I was diagnosed recently with needing  knee replacement surgery following on from an old accident in 1969 when my leg was broken in two places.  I've had several Xrays which just stated 'Age Related degeneration' and nothing further was done.

My right knee gave way completely and I had to have surgery on May 1st.  I make no complaints about the surgery but do question the fact that one is discharged the day after surgery with only 2 days of strong painkillers and after that paracetamol which doesn't even touch the sides of the pain.

Prior to surgery my Doctor had given me a prescription of Melatonin to aid sleep after the operation. It was useless and so began a vicious cycle of not sleeping, tossing and turning all night and exacerbating the intense pain in the knee.  In desperation on Friday I filled in one of the wretched Econsult forms on line.  I am a touch typist but it still took 20 minutes of answering mostly inappropriate questions.  By the afternoon I was in tears with the pain and tiredness and held on for the now obligatory half hour.  A prescription was sent to the chemist and a friend picked it up for me - promithezane which is an anti histamine and useless.  Monday I phoned the Surgery again explaining the position but heard nothing.  Today I held on for 30 minutes and a very sympathetic lady explained that none of the doctors would write me a prescription for sleep until I'd had a consultation.  Of course, I am totally housebound for another few weeks.  She offered me a phone consultation for June 5th.

When I joined the surgery 6 years ago, there were 6 names on the Partnership board - there are now 4 and when I looked up the surgery - all the doctors were part time.  I'm sure there are other non partnership doctors at the practice but all this mechanised  handling does not bode well for the patient.

The average wait for a face to face with a doctor at my practice is anything from 4 weeks plus.

After knee surgery one is supposed to do a series of exercises 3 times daily.  I have tried hard but the combination of tiredness and pain means I've not been able to do the exercises as often as I should.  All I can say about the pain is I'd rather give birth.

I only pray that when my time comes, I die quickly and don't need a hospital.

When I was born there were 48 million people in this country - we are now approaching 70 million.  The NHS existed for basics such as tuberculosis, broken limbs etc.  Now it is a service of which so very much is demanded and I doubt most people have any idea what all the treatments cost.  I do, having had to raid my Rainy Day money to pay for the Knee operation.

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