Friday 29 November 2013

The NHS.

The NHS is a hot topic that seems to feature daily on news headlines, with negative breaking stories of strikes, government cuts, and understaffed hospitals with overworked staff, long waiting lists, poor treatment and negligence darkening the reputation of the NHS. 

Whilst I think that we are very lucky here in the UK to have access to free health care thanks to the NHS especially compared to people in other countries where health care comes at a premium with many people across the globe not having access or being able to afford basic health care, I think it is extremely sad that disturbingly poor health care is too common in the NHS.

With negative stories and terrible cases of poor treatment and negligence being reported in the news it is no surprise that the NHS is a controversial topic that causes heated debate.  NHS workers cite lack of funding, being overworked and understaffed with high volumes of patients to treat as the cause of any issues or complaints that may arise whilst patients who receive poor treatment and negligence understandably think it is unacceptable.

With cases of poor health care and negligence becoming increasingly common, claims for negligence has risen by 80% in just 6 years and according to a survey conducted by First4Lawyers 45% of people surveyed would seek justice if mistreated by the NHS.  In fact due to an increase in claims for negligence the NHS expects to pay out a shocking £22.7 billion pounds this year.

Whilst I completely agree that poor treatment, negligence and NHS staff who do not care about the welfare and care of patients is completely unacceptable and needs addressing I also think that some NHS patients do not help the issues surrounding the NHS especially having witnessed myself on numerous occasions high numbers of patients who seem to simply fail to turn up to hospital appointments.  Those patients who miss their hospital appointments cost the NHS a great deal of money, add to the length of waiting lists and take up an appointment that another patient could have used.

A key issue I believe that infuriates people and causes anger at the NHS is how the NHS spends vital funds, ruling some important treatments not cost affective and available on the NHS whilst they happily pay for treatment that many of the general public deem unnecessary in comparison to life saving and life improving treatments; for example breast augmentation surgery for vanity reasons rather than health reasons compared to cancer drugs and operations for critical health issues.  It saddens and infuriates me that there are people out there that are turned down for NHS treatment that could save or improve their life such as the case of the Adam Chamberlain who was refused NHS surgery to help him walk whilst aspiring glamour model Josie Cunningham got breast implants on the NHS. 

With poor care increasing and the NHS refusing key treatments it comes as no surprise to me that 54% of people surveyed by First4Lawyers want to access private health care but cannot afford to.  This year I witnessed by sister having to find money to access private health care after being turned down for NHS care to have a large cyst removed from her face that was causing her pain and discomfort but which the NHS deemed to be cosmetic and removal was purely for vanity reasons yet when she had it removed privately the doctor was disgusted that it was not done so by the NHS as the cyst was so large and growing both above and under the cheek bone it should have been considered a health issue rather than one of vanity.

In spite of all the negative news stories about the NHS I do not believe it is all doom and gloom, we are lucky to have access to health care via the NHS and there are positive NHS stories to be had even if reporting’s of those stories are few and far between.

Personally I saw my grandmother receive exemplary care whilst in hospital and at home thanks to district nurses when she was suffering from cancer, with the doctors and nurses providing exceptional care in the last few months of her life.  And when I had Bug I received brilliant care from the very friendly doctors and nurses during our short stay at the hospital. 

Whilst there is a dark cloud of negativity and issues surrounding the NHS and improvements need to me made to lower the cases of poor care, remove health care providers who do a terrible job and reduce negligence there are cases where the NHS provide brilliant health care and there are doctors, nurses and other health care providers in the NHS who do an exceptional job and are the backbone to the goodness that can be found in the NHS.

*  This post was brought to you in association with First4Lawyers *

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