Wednesday, 18 January 2017

#NHS Crisis - Not a political rant!

My local hospital - on a VERY quiet day!

I’ve fallen victim to the current NHS crisis in that the operation on my ankle, essential for improved mobility but not urgent, has been cancelled. It was scheduled to go ahead on Monday, 16th January but late last week, I received a call from the hospital with the news that, because of the lack of available beds, it could not go ahead. Ironically, the operation should have been a day-unit operation but, because of a slight heart problem, I have to stay in at least overnight. With no indication of any future date and because of a long recuperation period (up to 14 weeks in plaster), we cannot make any definite plans for the summer, nor can we book our holiday. We had hoped, with the operation carried out, I would have been well clear of a cast by late August when we planned to return to Jersey

Let me make it clear. This is not a political rant. I do not have any affiliation to any political party. Whatever the current state of the NHS is down to more than one factor, lack of funds being only one of them. We are an increasingly ageing, and longer-living, population whose needs are not being catered for because of previously mentioned funding and lack of foresight of previous and subsequent governments.

One phrase that irritates me beyond all else is ‘bed-blocking.’ It conjures up images of a cantankerous old man or woman sitting in a hospital bed with arms crossed and a mutinous look on their face, as if to say, ‘This is my bed and you’re not having it.’ Nothing could be further from the truth. Elderly people would love nothing better than to go home and sleep in their own beds. Unfortunately, this does not happen because there is no social care in place for them to be cared for, either in their own homes or in care homes. The crazy thing is that our local community hospital, which acts as in-between care before returning home, is threatened with closure!

Why has the running of care homes been passed into private ownership? Surely this should be the responsibility of the State, again, whichever political party is in power. Many of the privately owned care homes are teetering on the point of bankruptcy. What happens if they go bust? Will the State take up the slack? I doubt it. And relatives, through having to work to pay their way and care for their own families, are not often in a position to help.

We’re told that many people going to A&E departments do so because they can’t get an appointment at their local GP practice. Fortunately, I’ve never had trouble getting an emergency appointment at my local health centre though I’d have to wait up to a month to get a routine appointment. Now there is a suggestion that GP surgeries should open 7 days a week. How will this work when it’s an accepted fact many surgeries are short-staffed with fewer candidates are coming forward for GP training?

What’s going to happen? In a world that is increasingly uncertain, who knows? I certainly don’t.


  1. Anne, I think the problem with helping our older generation being discharged from hospital could be solved with a bit of planning by hospital managements. Just a little about my idea.
    If each hospital could have a list of carers specifically aimed at being available for people who have no one to help them at home then where's the problem? The hospital would know in most cases when the person was admitted if they had anyone at home. They could ring a carer on their list in the area where the person lives and they could go home.
    Of course I know it would not be so straight forward to get it up and running but all hospitals and GPs have lists of locums they can call on so why not a list of people who are willing to help in this way? They swould go through all the necessary checks and training before being added to the list. I bet they would have volunteers as well willing to help out.
    That's the bare bones of my idea. Just one thought. At least the patient wouldn't be put in a taxi in the early hours (sometimes with no clothes, just their night attire) and go home to a cold, empty house.

    1. Thanks for commenting,Carol. Sounds like a feasible plan to me but I doubt it will happen. Lack of funds for one thing; cost of setting it up, training and the necessary checks. It's so frustrating though. The situation's not helped by people like someone my son's partner (a NA in a busy A&E)came across the other day who came in with a headache and was prepared to wait for six hours!