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Sunday, 7 September 2008

Reflections on the NHS

Having been a customer of the NHS the last 3 weeks I have some new views:

1) They saved my life. Together with a passer-by and an off-duty policemen who performed CPR on me, the Paramedics, A&E and ITU saved my life. Most people who have a cardiac arrest die.

2) The NHS is chock full of people waiting. Half the patients on my ward were waiting for by-pass or valve surgery, while being too sick to be at home. There is a very big percentage of resources tied up in looking after patients who are waiting

3) Thre are some fantastic resources. I had the following tests: X-Ray, Sonogram, Angiogram, Stress Test ECG, MRI Scan, Blood tests (lots of those) In ITU I was Intubated, sedated and refrigerated. Most of these resources are located in brand new facilities. I had my ICD fitted in a state-of-the art Catheter lab.

4) Hospital is not a good place to get well. Sleeping is difficult. There is so much noise in the night, from nurses moving around and gossiping, other patients' snoring, machines beeping etc. The food is not too great either, all overcooked and not hot enough. I'm much more comfortable now I'm home and sleeping and eating much better.

5) They have to do some dumb things to meet targets. People organising complex tasks are not trained and do not have the tools required. I watched the team responsible for organising taking patients home. they were trying hard, but the organisation was very poor and the service very inefficient. A little bit of John Seddon would go a long way.

6) The staff are mostly dedicated and hard working, who are motivated by looking after people. But they work in a system that wastes a lot of their time.

7) Some of the women working in the NHS are top-drawer beautiful. Makes the days pass more easily, I can tell you! My MRI at the Brompton test was transformed form a scary experience into on of the most pleasurable, by the lovely radiographer, Annette, who is from Norway. As well as being beautiful she was really kind and caring and she has the most lovely voice, which really calmed me down when I was inside the machine.


  1. Glad to hear that you're OK!

    When you say 'The NHS have some great resources' what you mean is 'the taxpayer has paid for some great resources that are under the control of the NHS'. That stuff does not belong to the NHS - it belongs to us, the people/the taxpayer. Never forget that.

  2. Why should we never forget that the NHS is paid for out of taxation? However it's paid for, it has great resources. And they do belong to the NHS. Saying they belong to us is absurd. It's like my saying, 'resources can't belong to us, they belong to the planet, they are gaia's'. This way lies toryboy madness.

  3. True, I think I was just pleasantly surprised to see that some of the billions spent by this government has actually bought something useful.

  4. Serendipity, Mark. Good to see you are still with us.

    The NHS cannot continue in its current form. The private sector will eventually have to become the primary providers of healthcare. It's not a matter of if; just when.

  5. Remember on the NHS you're a cost, not a customer.