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This year has, to borrow a phrase from the Queen, been an 'Annus Horribilus' for my wife and I. We have had more to do with the NHS this year than in any year that I can ever remember and the discrepancy in service levels between different hospitals has been huge and shocking.

My mother who is 82 came to stay with us over Christmas and suffered a bad TIA (otherwise known as a mini-stroke) which brought on vascular dementia overnight. From being mentally alert she often could not recognise her own family. She initially went into hospital here in Bedford where the staff were caring but very overworked. The consultant also proved to be very bad at record keeping - my mum was given a blood transfusion but the reason for it was never recorded in her notes. She was transferred up to the North East, where she lives and the care she has received there has been exceptional. We saw her last weekend and the staff had not only washed her hair but styled it so that she looked really nice.

A couple of weeks after my Mum was transferred, my mother-in-law who is 83 came to stay. She has had Alzheimer's for some time but we were shocked at just how much she had deteriorated in the two months since we last saw her. My wife had to arrange for her to be admitted to a hospital in East Essex where she lives. Service there has been a marked contrast to that which my Mum has received. We often visited to find her dressed in someone else's clothes and her hair had not been washed in weeks. She then had a fall on Sunday evening (the staff noted that she was having difficulty in walking) and on Monday she was transferred to A&E (the geriatric unit where she is staying in on the same campus as the main hospital) where they found she had broken her femur - her left leg was an inch and a half shorter than her right!

Due to a bed shortage, she was transferred to a general surgical ward. However, no-one bothered to pass on information about her extensive medication list to the ward. She missed the operating list that day and on the next day after two days without medication, her blood pressure had gone through the roof and they couldn't operate. It took several days for it to improve and the Anaesthetist took a chance even though it was risky because any more delay and repair would have been impossible and she would have spent the rest of her life in a wheelchair. That Friday afternoon, she was transferred back to the geriatric unit but without any painkillers and they waited until Monday morning before getting any prescribed. They also managed to mislay her false teeth for two days so she couldn't eat properly.

Her treatment has been callous and uncaring - so different from that my Mum has received from units which seem to be staffed at a similar level. So if you are going to be ill, make sure it is in the NE if you want decent care.

We had arranged for both our mothers to go into care homes but due to medical complications which have arisen over the last two weeks, we now need to find Nursing homes so it is back to searching all over again. Unfortunately that scuppers our plans for the YD Farnes trip in June. In fact, we haven't even been in the water yet this year and I'm beginning to wonder whether we will manage any dives at all in 2007 given all that needs to be organised. A least we have St. Kilda planned for 2008 and can at least look forward to that.
 

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Discrepancies between hospital's...

Allan - I can only echo your sentiments and frustration - we're suffering a similiar situation...

I’ve thought long and hard about posting this but here goes.

Until two years ago I was utterly committed to the NHS (even to the point of refusing BUPA cover as a work perk) however watching my father’s recent experiences has made me question whether the NHS can continue as it is.

Until 3 years ago he was a hugely active man – just turned 70 with what seemed years of enjoying this retirement and young grandchildren ahead of him. However he started to have trouble eating and the weight started to fall off him. He became obviously very ill but the next two years turned into a massively frustrating battle to get appointments, tests and some kind of communication with the consultants at the local hospital.

I won’t go into details of all the incompetence here but it was only a few months ago that he managed to get reffered away to a different hospital and consultant who in the space of a few days repeated various tests and immediately diagnosed stomach cancer. He was fast, utterly professional, and we felt, quietly embarrassed of the previous diagnosis procedures my father had been subjected to. (It was pretty obvious even to me as a lay person that the prescribed complan, laxatives and nurofen wasn’t the way to treat this)

Unfortunately, he also discovered cancer had spread very recently and was now terminal so there was little he could do.

Having had the diagnosis we all took a deep breath and then expected some kind of dialogue and support from the local hospital in terms of outlook and treatments but all he’s really had a single quick session with the cancer care nurse. It’s not her fault and she was all you would hope the NHS could be – caring, professional and competent. Apparently, though, she’s only one of two for the whole hospital (!?) and even when talking to my father was run off her feet. Chances of seeing her again seem slim! No one else seems interested - my parents only managed to get see a dietician on the fourth attempt after complaining (the dietician/hospital had cancelled the three previous appointments).

Allan I can only echo your comments – the ‘service levels’ my father is currently experiencing at his local hospital are shocking and with the exception of the cancer nurse– utterly uncaring and I would suggest at times incompetent.

The experience though – at a different hospital – with a different consultant was staggering…

I’m also not going to be diving this year …
 

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Having worked for NHS but now in independent hospital I have seen standards drop There is an on going saga of my elderly aunt who is classed as a revolving door elderly patient. Social worker informed me that my aunt didnt want to move up north and leave her friends, so she wont move closer to me. Today I drove down again to london to visit her in hospital where she has been for a month to be told they are discharging her. This is a woman who fractured her neck of femur and her pelvis and it was not diagnosed for 3 weeks on her last admission and only cos I insisted they review her they discovered the fractures. so today they discharged her but they wasnt aware she didnt have her keys and we didnt know who had them. Through ringing around all her friends I finally located them, once home Idiscovered that there was no food or milk for her. As she is a diabetic it is important that she eats regular meals, apparently she had been waiting since 9 am for hospital transport and i got there at 4 pm.
Nurses and social worker blame pressures on bed but I find it hard to accept that they would send an old person home who can barely walk and wont accept home care. I wonder if she will be able to stay out longer then 6 days this time.

And please for all the YD'ers who work for the NHS this isnt a pop at you I am sure you are doing all that you can under very difficult circumstances and must feel so un valued, but I am grateful for the care she receives while in hossie.
Sorry this is so long and no doubt boring to most people.
 

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NHS in Belfast

The situation in Belfast is not much better. My grandma in Belfast needs constant care and my mother and aunts are trying to get her into a caring place which will help with all of her needs. A nightmare job and you wonder what the NHS provides at all sometimes. I hope that all posting here get what they need in the way of nursing care or home. I know grandma will get the bed soon at least we hope so.

Sacha:angel:
 

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There is no future in the NHS. It will however not be privatised honestly and sensibly so expect things to get worse before they get better. We carry a massive management burden unsustainable in any private industry. There is a normal distribution in quality of staff be they Surgeons, Nurses, GP's, Physios, managers or 'hotel services' (cleaners). Just like the government pretends there are no crap teachers.

Haven't got many answers - except a serious management cull (50%). That's where your taxes have gone.

Bon Soir

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Haven't got many answers - except a serious management cull (50%). That's where your taxes have gone.

Bon Soir

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virtually impossible in the trust my wife works for, the layer who need to be culled are on some kind of 5 year contract so even if they get rid they still recieve pay for the remaining contract time, nurses meanwhile are on 6 month contracts

hence its the medical staff facing the chop first in any trust that is short of cash
 

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Terrible story - feel very sorry for you.

I and those close to me have had quite a few brushes with the NHS in my life in different services. One experience with my wife a couple of years ago was great:

Badly slipped disc on Tuesday -straight to A&E
See specialst on Wednesday - works out what was wrong, and partly sorts it
Start seeing excellent and wellfunded Physio on Thursday
Problem completely sorted

However, most of the rest have been dreadful - from the complete misdiagnosis of my mum's breast cancer years ago to the completely off hand dismissal of my knee pain last year as 'just one of those things' (it was a torn cartilidge which was easily fixed by said private hospital).

My wife an I are in the fortunate position of having private medical insurance through work and an excellent private hospital round the corner which unfortunately we've both had to use recently. If I can avoid using the NHS at all I do.
 

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Terrible story - feel very sorry for you.

I and those close to me have had quite a few brushes with the NHS in my life in different services.

My wife an I are in the fortunate position of having private medical insurance through work and an excellent private hospital round the corner which unfortunately we've both had to use recently. If I can avoid using the NHS at all I do.
are your signature links intended to be ironic? if so, i applaud your wit and sarcasm, :teeth:
 

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Just a quick follow up as I disclosed some personal information earlier on this thread, my aunt managed just under 72 hours at home following her discharge before she was readmitted on Monday morning after having another fall and it seems she has fractured her hip again.
Seeing what she has experienced I know I dont want to get old and possible get an injury and have to be cared for by NHS hospital in Hackney, or are they all the same now?
 

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Just a quick follow up as I disclosed some personal information earlier on this thread, my aunt managed just under 72 hours at home following her discharge before she was readmitted on Monday morning after having another fall and it seems she has fractured her hip again.
Seeing what she has experienced I know I dont want to get old and possible get an injury and have to be cared for by NHS hospital in Hackney, or are they all the same now?
strange that the Homerton (it must be its the only one in Hackney Borough) has been so bad, I much prefer there than Whipps Cross where SWMBO was left on a trolley for more than 12 hours in extreme pain before being seen by a doctor, yes we whizzed through triage and were in but then the wait starts , is this because the waiting time stats from when you see the receptionist and ends when you are 'in' the A&E department.

I have always had excellent service at Homerton, especially when we lost georgina in 2003. Hope your aunt gets the treatment she deserves.
 
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