NHS in Meltdown: 31 Week Waiting List To See a Cardiologist

by craig on March 10, 2013 11:35 am in Uncategorized

I am afraid this is a personal medical story, but I think it makes a very damning point about the state of the NHS. There is no sensible way to tell it without giving an uncomfortable (I suspect for both of us) level of medical detail about myself.

I had two collapses very early in the New Year, one with loss of consciousness of over ten minutes. On the second occasion we called 999, and the response was superb – a paramedic in less than five minutes and and ambulance in less than ten.

In A & E, I had an ECG and x-ray and was told there was an indication of minor heart failure. I then collapsed again and had entered major atrial fibrillation. I was rushed up to the critical conditions unit, where the condition responded to injections. I was kept in for the next six days. The diagnosis was paroxysmic atrial fibrillation. I was discharged on a dose of 1.25mg of Bisoprolol a day, 2 x 50mg of Flecanide and 2 x 150 mg of Pradaxa. The bisoprolol, even at that low dose, puts me into bradycardia at about 50 beats per minute, but the fibrillation immediately returns without it – that was the conclusion of the six days admission.

All these drugs were new to me.

I was slightly concerned that in six days in hospital, my total face time with a cardiologist was about three minutes – one sighting of two minutes and two of about thirty seconds. In virtually none of that three minutes did the cardiologist address me, but rather the junior doctors and nurses. There was no echocardiogram done.

On discharge the cardilogist told his team that he needed to see me again in six weeks to assess my progress on the medicines. I was discharged on 10 January and therefore was surprised to receive an appointment for 7 May. I telephoned to query this, and the cardiologist’s secretary told me that she knew six weeks was requested, but that 7 May was the first available appointment. I asked if she realised that was 17 weeks not 6, and she replied that was within the allotted NHS target time.

Unfortunately I have been feeling constantly ill since starting on these medicines. Dizzy, faint and nauseous, with severe palpitations. I get very tired very quickly, and fall asleep instantly on putting my head down at any time of day or night.

On discharge from hospital the consultant also ordered a 24 hour ECG (3 week waiting list) and contrast echocardioram (8 week waiting list). Having now had these investigations, I have no idea what the results were and apparently will not be told until I see the cardiologist.

I have twice been to see the G.P. to explain how ill I am feeling. The G.P. said he would write to the cardiologist to see if the 7 May appointment could be brought forward.

Then yesterday I received a letter giving a change of cardiologist appointment – to 17 July! That is a 32 week wating list. It is exactly 26 weeks – half a year – after the date at which the cardiologist said I should be seen again!

In the meantime, I have no idea whether I feel so ill because of the drugs, or because of progressive heart failure. I have no idea what were the results of my tests. I have no idea of the prognosis. I have no idea as to the cause of the paroxysmal atrial fibrillation in the first place.

I have to say that my experience of the NHS in London was entirely different to this. When I had heart problems in 2004, all apponitments and tests and an eventual procedure were carried out extremely promptly – within days – and I at no stage felt left in the dark.

Is this an extreme example of a postcode lottery, or has the NHS declined so drastically in the last few years (or both)? My strong suspicion is that NHS resources are more freely available in more affluent areas, and that being treated out of the QEQM hospital in Margate is probably as bad as the NHS gets (I know those outside S.E. England may find this hard to believe, but Margate is a centre of serious poverty and social deprivation).

Please print this article out and keep it. In the event my heart packs in before I see that cardiologist, please douse it in petrol and stack it against the door of No. 10.

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130 Comments

  1. This is not unusual now Craig. I waited 12 weeks for a biopsy for skin cancer and twice visited my GP regarding the lengthy wait. The GP trainee suggested “when all this is over write a letter but don’t complain tell them how you feel.”
    Time for an English Spring?

  2. It isn’t clear until your penultimate paragraph that it is the NHS in England you are writing about. You make the standard UK media mistake of talking about “the NHS” as if is were a uniform UK-wide body. It isn’t.

    My wife has hereditary heart problems and has already lost two sisters to heart disease so I have some inkling of what you’re going through. It’s easy for me to say, but getting yourself worked up about it is only going to make your situation worse. Perhaps your GP could prescribe a mild sedative to help with the anxiety?

  3. Wow Craig, that sounds like a truly horrendous experience you have had so far.

    This us useful for searching waiting times;

    http://www.nhs.uk/Service-Search/Hospital/LocationSearch/7/Hospitals

    I was under the impression your PCT or SHA must offer alternative treatment if they miss the 18 week target?

    Na Zdrowie, Craig.

  4. If you are really worried, come across the Channel and see a doctor in France. I had high blood pressure diagnosed and was given a full work over within two weeks…. this included the use of radioactive tracers in a body scanner. All for 500 euros.

  5. I was going to make a similar suggestion to Hannibal, namely heading north to Scotland if you have relatives or friends to stay with, and avail yourself of the services here. If they’re up to it.

    Must say this grim account only proves the point that over the last 30-odd years the NHS has been set up to fail, by the Thatcherites, the marketising fools of New Labour, and now by the openly market-zealous dogmatists of the Coalition. Without the dedication and skills of the staff, nurses and doctors, the NHS might have collapsed well before now.

  6. ‘Hannibal’ has it right, with a serious heart condition going untreated is not an option, your health is too important to be left to a standardised drugs regime with all their side effects. You’re near the channel ferries so get on one and go see a French doctor/cardiologist now. Medical ‘tourism’ may be far from ideal but it’s darn site better than expensive and slow NHS when you’re that unwell and need attention. Besides, I’ve found the standard of treatment in France and elsewhere in Europe can be very good. Good luck.

  7. I had a suspected heart attack last summer. Turned out it wasn’t. My 17 y-o son had a blood clot in his brain the summer before. Fine now, but very scary at the time. Your experience reflects mine (in Scotland). Abject patient care. Throw in a couple of bouts of racism to boot.

    My OH is a German GP. She was closely involved in both situations, and without her, we’d both be in your position. She is utterly horrified by NHS standards. Heading for 3rd world fast.

    As a footnote, in Germany the doctors don’t get such a good deal but the patients get a much better one.

  8. I like the joke at the end, douse it in petrol and burn down the Cameron residence!

    Exactly 12 months today I was released from hospital after having had a triple heart-graft bypass. Apart from the time waiting in hospital with nothing happening (1 month) my experience was more like your 2004 episode. It has left me with nothing but praise for the NHS. One of the sad things about the NHS is that it is in decline because the various neo-con governments favour private healthcare though they all claim the NHS is safe in their hands, they really believe in privilege. So private patients get preferential treatment, get their results faster, and get more attention. Does the Queen or Tony Blair have to wait to go into hospital? But the downside of their preferential treatment is that it pushes those without the means to jump the queue even further behind. What can you expect from people who look and behave like leeches?

    Like you I suspect Margate is not as efficient as London or Birmingham. Cities tend to attract medical staff and they have all the teaching hospitals too.

    Sorry to hear your recovery is taking longer than it ought. If you are suffering palpitations and feel you are not getting the proper treatment go along to the overstretched Casualty department of your nearest hospital and ask to be seen. You will probably have a long wait, but not months. And it could put your mind at ease.

    Just one piece of advice that everyone ought to know. If you think you are having a heart attack, dial 999 and tell them you are not well, and explain the symptoms. Even if you are not they will check you out and do a cardiogram to see if your heart is performing properly. If it is not they will refer you. If it is functioning normally they will not be upset that you called them. This service is part of what you paid your NHS contributions for. If you are on your own, say out walking your dog, and you feel you are having a heart attack and you have a mobile with you call 999. If you have no mobile and nobody else is around there is a theory that if you give some chesty coughs it stimulates the heart to empty the chambers of blood.

    When you left hospital you might have been given a Nitrolingual Pump Spray. This could also save your life in the event of a heart attack. Carry it with you. It is sprayed under the tongue. If you did not get one of these ask your GP if it would be suitable for your condition.

    I realise that most people probably know all this and I am not writing for their benefit but for those who do not know.

    Hope you are soon feeling your old self again, Craig Murray. Recovery takes time. But never be worried about calling out the emergency services.

  9. After reading your, only too normal, story of mission creep in the NHS, I have to agree with Hannibal.

    A friend was ill with an acute hernia, i mean acute to the effect that he could only be one handed as the other hand was constantly stopping his guts rupturing. Sitting in his chair he told me that he had a three month appointment to see the consultant who then would recommend treatment.

    Seeing him in such a state, I suggested a trip to Hamburg on the ferry, and a collapse in a public area, restaurant, pub, customs and excise, or the harbour itself. He was in hospital and under the knife within 24 hrs. of arrival. The reciprocal healthcare system between E$U states works better than the respective national systems.

    Please befriend someone locally with a helicopter, or even become familiar with the nearest ferry services, its only one hour from Dover and get yourself some deserved treatment.

    take care of yourself!

  10. All part of the Tory aim to return to
    the days when the waiting list was greater
    than the life expectancy of the patient.

    For each unnecessary death, Jeremy Hunt
    can get up on his hind legs and pontificate
    about the ‘monster that the NHS has become’.

    Mission accomplished…

  11. Lang may your lum reek, Craig. Don’t even think of pegging out. Laughter is still the best medicine. You might be able to find online a downloadable (8-9MB) pdf version of the BNF, British National Formulary, though often a year or two out of date, to look up these drugs, including side-effects, (I think there’s a typo, Flecainide is the generic, not Flecanide) though it is a hypochondriac’s handbook and frightening in parts. The internet is probably the last place to seek medical advice, and your health is a private affair. It seems quite a concoction; IANAD, but to me minimal pharmaceutical use/dose is a worthwhile aim in itself, essential always are diurnal habits, warmth, good diet, easy exercise, morning sun and air.

  12. Mary - for Truth and Justice

    10 Mar, 2013 - 12:56 pm

    You have it exactly right Mike Cobley. Our NHS is under attack. The privateers are on their way in larger numbers too come April.

    In Surrey, Branson’s Virgin Care took over community health services for a five year period. That includes community hospitals, breast screening, school health services including dentistry, sexual health services and many other strands. Now they are saying that they will only continue with routine breast screening and that any patients suspected of having breast cancer ie the really important and most urgent cases, will have to be found accomodation in other NHS centres. In other words they can pick and choose.

    Virgin Care now have a massive presence elsewhere in the NHS across the country.

    Last night I was reading up about Belmarsh and saw that a company called Interserve built the £110m ISIS prison for young offenders, within the Belmarsh complex, two years ago. I do not know if it is yet another PFI.

    There are over 660 inmates. There is a fingerprint registration system in when prisoners are moved around. This fails frequently and when it does, there is a lockdown until every prisoner has been manually checked to be present.

    There are NO healthcare facilities within ISIS.

    I also read that the same company Interserve, chairman Lord Blackwell (one time head of Bliar’s policy unit) has just been given a £300m contract to run cleaning, catering, security and maintenance, etc by a cluster PCT in Leicestershire.

    ‘The contract, which is worth around £300 million, will support the improvement of the buildings and facilities used to deliver NHS services to thousands of patients every day, as well as significant savings for the NHS.

    Interserve will be responsible for delivering facilities management services to the Trusts, including catering, cleaning, maintenance and security across more than 550 NHS buildings and properties, totaling 490,000 sq m and nearly 3,100 beds. The contract also includes a new partnership with Interserve to make the best use of the NHS buildings and estate and support the NHS in delivering major modernisation projects.’

    http://www.interserve.com/news-media/press-releases-and-news/2013/03/04/2019/business-as-usual-for-facilities-and-estates-management-at-local-nhs-trusts-

    The last sentence of that PR piece probably means building housing estates on previously publicly-owned NHS land.

    The ConDems have opened wide the NHS doors for the privateers, along with the likes of their think tanks, Accentures, Price Waterhouse Coopers and KPMGs, to enter.

  13. Maybe a strong cup of tea would help when you feel awful, says this ignorant non-medic. Suhayl, where are you?

  14. We have all the socialists in here with their typical scaremongering that the problem is the NHS being privatised, yet this is despite 13 years of Labour pouring money into it. Also, the coalition have not cut the budget it is, in fact, still increasing.

    As another commenter noted, you get better treatment in France and Germany, where there is a mixture of private and public treatment. Socialists are so stuck to their dogma that they simply can’t accept that some aspects of healthcare are better supplied by private companies under health insurance schemes.

    It is too late for me. My dad’s death in an NHS hospital and the continuing bad reports coming out of it has led me to take out Private Health Insurance. I want to do everything I can to stay out of an NHS hospital. The other day somebody accused me of “underming the NHS”. This just makes me laugh. I still pay for it out of my taxes and if I need an operation my insurer will pay for it, thereby relieving the NHS of some of the cost.

  15. Techno, somebody who went to school with Margaret Thatcher noted that however early she, or anyone else got to the school canteen, Maggie was at the front of the queue.

  16. Mary - for Truth and Justice

    10 Mar, 2013 - 1:17 pm

    I am so sorry Craig. Rest and sleep in the meantime if you can. You have been travelling a lot lately. I would not go rushing across to the continent either. Your GP is the person to whom you should be addressing your worries and they should act urgently. Be polite and persistent or perhaps Nadira could intervene.

    I am sending a copy of your piece to the Chairman and the CEO of the Trust that has you in their care. Hope that is OK. Say no if you would rather me not do this.

    http://www.ekhuft.nhs.uk/patients-and-visitors/about-us/boards-and-committees/the-board-of-directors/nicholas-wells/

    http://www.ekhuft.nhs.uk/patients-and-visitors/about-us/boards-and-committees/the-board-of-directors/stuart-bain/

  17. “somebody who went to school with Margaret Thatcher noted that however early she, or anyone else got to the school canteen, Maggie was at the front of the queue.”

    ^^^^ completely made up story ^^^^

  18. And another thing, those old enough to remember the good old days when utilities like Gas, Electric and Water were publicly-owned will confirm that bills did not increase year on year out of proportion with income. Today they are privately-owned and completely out of sync with incomes. Profit is the driving force. In a month they will be talking again about a hosepipe ban. Private enterprise is laughable in its delivery of services but its bills make poor people cry. Everything is down to profit. Bankers, shareholders and other great big fat-cheeked and greedy leeches that suck on the poor and starving householders have left good people in debt trying to cope in an unequal world. Let’s sing it as it ought to be sung!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WSIUf2hD6Io

  19. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    10 Mar, 2013 - 1:29 pm

    Craig

    Very sorry to hear your story and my best wishes to you. The situation you describe -especially the waiting times and the lack of communication – are of course unacceptable.

    I second those who recommended you nip across the Channel (Eurostar to Lille or Brussels). And btw I seem to remember reading somewhere of people who went to the continent for (more rapid) treatment and obtained – as a matter of right – reimbursement of the medical costs incurred from the NHS (perhaps the waiting times were longer in their case, but this might still be worth checking out.

    Good luck.

  20. Techno, there can be no part of healthcare ‘better’ under one or another means of funding, it should be consistent and of the highest quality no matter the background beancounting. It is preposterous to suggest that because something is ‘private’, i.e. run purely and entirely for profit than public utility or service, it must indefinably be better. Money invested in the health service, or any public good, nowadays largely pours straight back out again into greedy hands, than touches the health service at all, the private sector the biggest leech-like parasite that eventually kills any host it latches to.

    Private Health insurance, as you fail to comprehend is not an option to the majority in this country who can hardly, feed themselves, heat their homes or even keep any roof over their head. Just because you are spectactularly privileged, obviously means that extrapolating anything from your from your position to the general population is absurd.

    Behind such privilege in the gormless free-market ideologues such as yourself is often found inherited wealth and behind that, not business acumen but criminal acumen. Glib shysters engaged in wholesale theft from the commons, from the many to the few, inherited traits and disposition to milk your fellow man without conscience or compassion. A psychopath.

  21. What we’re seeing in England is gradual privatisation. Departments one by one are being run down through funding cut backs to make them viable for take over by private companies. At first it will be a ‘partnership’ hybrid to ease the concerns by the general public, some private money investment for a public service, then that partnership will grow in favour of the private company until the entire department is now effectively privatised over period of four or five years. Last week in London, I saw for the first time NHS ambulances with the legend: “NHS ambulances in partnership with G4S”, with G4S branding. Oh the irony with ex-Labour Health Minister and former communist/marxist, Dr John Reid (Lord) as a non-executive director and chief advisor of the global security company.

    @Techno … the Tories are not interested in a French or German style system, they want a US-based healthcare system where the NHS is taken out of public funding altogether and NI is replaced with private insurance in which, no doubt, premiums will be ever more expensive to pay for year on year like rampant energy bills. Of course, just like Lord Reid, the politicians will be lining up for their new jobs as directors of these private companies while the City of London reaps in the costly premiums.

  22. I don’t know who you are Techno but I don’t make things up. I’m not Theresa May. It was either the Observer, Guardian or Independent where someone who went to the same school as Thatcher made the remark. Whether she was telling the truth is a different matter.

  23. Bisoprolol – at low dose will slow the heart – a good thing.

    Flecainide – too much risk – dispose

    Pradaxa – too much risk – dispose

  24. Get on the ferry

    And when you come back think about why we can’t use this model in the UK

  25. System ate the link – so here’s as much of the text as fits (from 2006):

    UK patients forced to wait longer than they should for NHS treatment are entitled to reclaim the cost of being treated in Europe, a court has ruled.
    The European Court of Justice said the NHS must refund costs if patients waited longer than clinicians advised, even if waiting time targets were met.

    The court was ruling in the case of Yvonne Watts, 75, of Bedford, who paid £3,900 for a hip operation in France.

    But it said in her case UK courts would have to decide if she got a refund.

    Mrs Watts said the news was “wonderful” and that if she got the money back she would donate it to a medical charity.

    The case, which centres on the definition of “undue delay”, could have a significant impact on the NHS.

    It will allow any patient facing an unacceptable delay who has the funds to pay for an operation upfront to seek treatment abroad and recoup the costs from the NHS.

    The Department of Health said it did not expect the judgment to make a big difference to the numbers travelling abroad to receive hospital treatment.

    But it has already said it would be issuing new guidance on the issue in June.

    Mrs Watts said: “I welcome it for what it means for other NHS patients. That’s why I did it.

    “If other people have to have hips done and have to go abroad, they’ll be encouraged.”

    Her solicitor, Richard Stein, said their victory would now act to regulate possible cutbacks in the NHS and increases in waiting times caused by financial constraints.

    It should also help to make sure that the concept of “undue delay” was based on a medical decision, not just an arbitrary timeframe.

    “ I welcome it for what it means for other NHS patients. That’s why I did it ”
    Mrs Watts

    The European Court of Justice in Luxembourg was asked to rule on the case after the English Court of Appeal sought its guidance.

    The ECJ said the UK government wrongly interpreted patients’ rights to access services in other EU countries.

    It said just because waiting list targets had been met did not necessarily mean that a patient had not had to wait for an undue length of time for treatment.

    Instead primary care trusts must ensure a patient’s waiting time “does not exceed the period which is acceptable in the light of an objective medical assessment” of clinical need.

    ‘Flexible targets’

    The court added the degree of pain the person is in and the nature of his or her disability must be taken into account.

    Also waiting time targets must be set “flexibly and dynamically” and reassessed if there is a deterioration in condition.

    “ We need to understand the full implications of the Court’s judgment before we make any changes ”
    Department of Health spokeswoman
    As authorisation for reimbursements of costs was usually sought before treatment was obtained, the primary care trust would be the body to decide on whether the patient was facing an undue delay.

    However, the court found that it was for the British courts to decide whether Mrs Watts faced an undue delay and thus whether she should recoup her costs.

    High Court battle

    Mrs Watts, who is severely disabled, was told in September 2002 that she needed a double hip replacement and that she would have to wait around a year for the treatment.

    But by the end of January 2003, her condition had worsened and a consultant said she should be operated on within three or four months.

    The primary care trust again then refused authorisation for treatment abroad saying she could receive it on the NHS within the “appropriate time”. This was upheld in the High Court.

    But she decided to go ahead with an operation in the French town of Abbeville in March 2003 nonetheless.

    HAVE YOUR SAY
    “ The NHS pays for patients to be treated privately in the UK, so why not pay for treatment elsewhere in the EU ”
    David Butler, Glasgow

    There then followed a High Court battle between Mrs Watts and Bedford Primary Care Trust over the cost of the operation.

    Changes?

    Both Mrs Watts and the Department of Health then appealed to the Court of Appeal, which referred the matter to the European Court of Justice.

    A Department of Health spokeswoman said: “We expect to continue with a system that requires any patient who wants to travel abroad for elective hospital treatment, paid for by the NHS, to be authorised to do this by their local healthcare commissioner before they receive treatment.

    “However, we need to understand the full implications of the court’s judgment before we make any changes to the systems operated by the NHS.”

    Bedford Primary Care Trust said it had applied “sound clinical judgement” at all times in the case of Mrs Watts and stressed the ruling did not decide whether she was eligible for a refund.

    The Court of Appeal will decide whether Mrs Watts has her costs refunded.

  26. Part of the problem is that you have not been told very much about your condition and nothing about your test results. Have you considered exercising your right to see your medical records, either informally by email or letter to the GP and hospital, failing which a SAR?

  27. Mary - for Truth and Justice

    10 Mar, 2013 - 2:06 pm

    Such touching and insincere concern at 1.29pm from the entity who would wish this blog to be brought into ridicule and ultimate closure.

  28. Mary - for Truth and Justice

    10 Mar, 2013 - 2:10 pm

    11 minutes earlier to 1.29pm this idiotic comment appeared on the previous thread. Illuminating or what?

    Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    10 Mar, 2013 – 1:18 pm

    To all my admirers :

    No more from me until this evening, I’m afraid!

    Must go out for a spot of lunch and then getting ready for a thé dansant at the Duchesse de Guermantes’.

  29. @DCanmore – your reply to Techno – true up to a point, which is that NI should have nothing to do with the NHS. HMT regularly steal part of the NI fund with the excuse of paying for the NHS, but in fact entitlement to NHS treatment is independent of whether you have ever paid NI. Entitlement simply depends on whichever NHS area constitutes your place of habitual residence. One reason the UK has about the cheapest healthcare in the OECD is precisely that the financing is almost entirely decided by Government – so the money follows arbitrary central planning and does not, as in (even a mixed) insurance system, automatically follow the patient.

  30. LastBlueBell

    10 Mar, 2013 - 2:18 pm

    @John Goss,

    I do not think it is constructive to look back into the past for guidence in this. For better and worse, the world has changed, our societies have changed, and, our institutions have to change with it.

    But most important, we must change our systems so that they are much better in sync with our basic human nature, which neither the public or private modell are today.

    Humans are by nature neither egotistical bastards nor generous saints, we can be both, some of the time, but mostly we all fall somewhere in between, and the degree of selfishness and self centered egoism will vary from situation to situation, context to context.

    If I understand the science correctly, most of the time this is performed by subconsious processes, which means, that you in your daily life often are not even aware of this, (an absolut majority of decisions you take during a day are subconsious), and you will (if need be), only consiuosly rationalise specific decision afterwards.

    Public ownership has some strenghts in this regard I believe, private ownership others, but it is the glaring deficiencies in both of them, that must be evident for everybody today.

    This is why I think it is our instutions and organisations that must evolve, rather then ourself, because, (in simple terms), we can not.

    In all humility,

  31. Craig, pack your Hawaiian shirt and book a flight for three to Cuba. Send us a postcard from Havana when you arrive. I heard you get a substantial discount on all medical expenses if you do a kindly write up on Cuban health care.

  32. Good luck Craig. You need to be calm but that is almost impossible when you can’t resolve your worries that you may have a serious health problem. Using sedatives should be a last resort. Perhaps you should start a thread about spring daffodils or cuddly teddy bears and we can all post soothing comments.

    The fact that Jeremy Hunt is in charge of the NHS speaks volumes about the government’s attitude towards it. That man was caught red-handed selling us out to Rupert Murdoch, but a rigged enquiry said “Tough luck, you can’t prove that” and instead of being sacked, he was promoted.

    A guy that has a track record of favouring big business over the interests of voters is put in charge of our health service which is fighting for its life (and ours) against being taken over by big business. I’ll add that to the print-off before putting it in the stack outside No. 10.

  33. Craig,

    So sorry to hear of your health problems and the lamentable non-treatment that you’ve so far received.

    A quick Google search did turn up one forum where a contributor (F4J), speaking of the same hospital,wrote, “Margate/Thanet is at the very bottom of the NHS postcode lottery.”

    Here’s the link should anyone be interested:

    http://www.politicalstew.com/bb/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=111235

    I note lots of comments above about the superiority of the French health care system but have to say that generalisations are really not helpful. You got excellent treatment in London – that also was NHS treatment. Having lived and worked in France for nearly 25 years I could give myriad examples of excellent treatment but also of treatment that was so bad as to be, in one instance, even life threatening (a rare cancer – my husband’s – in stage IV that was diagnosed as asthma and treated with Ventolin!)

    Clearly, although there are problems in the NHS that need sorting, like many I don’t feel that privitisation is the solution for its ills. In fact, the private medical sector in France is far less successful in its treatment of serious conditions than the public.

    There was a suggestion above, I think, that there may be a formal procedure that you could follow to appeal against the totally unacceptable delay in follow-up treatment. If that is the case it might be a way forward.

    Bon courage!

  34. I hope you get to see a specialist much quicker, Craig, and that you will be all right.

    The NHS has been weakened and broken up by successive governments for a long time now as with all the other once public utilities. The City of London seems to think it has the divine right to tax us all through our services.

  35. Craig, best wishes to you. Haven’t you’ve been away a few times since the New Year? Did you seem to be healthier when you were away? Pay attention to what your body is telling you, as “the system” doesn’t seem inclined to help you much.

  36. Far from wanting to replace your medicinal kosh with a more traditional means of raising pulse and blood pressure, this is the sort of traditional and curious health regime that makes the difference between Bavarians and Prussians, but there are finer nuances.

    I hope that these pictures of downhill sledging, rather than sledding, will help with indicating how cold it is going to be down your way today and tomorrow.

    Enjoy….

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/zeitgeist/german-resort-hosts-naked-snow-sledding-competition-a-885361.html

  37. Go private. You’ll get better quality care.

    The problem with much of the NHS is that, like the banks, it’s “too big to fail”. Hospitals that deliver poor care *should* fail, and fail fast, so that they can do no more harm to patients, and can be replaced by something better.

    But the survival of the institution is considered more important that the outcome for the patients.

    Consider: if a restaurant does poorly on food hygiene, the customers desert it en masse, and it is bust in a week. A month later, something better will come along. But a hospital can’t ever be allowed to fail, let alone fail fast… so there’s no pressure to fix the problems, and patient care can remain terrible for years.

    (The same applies to failing schools – they get 5 years to turn around, during which they permanently destroy the education of the kids who attend.)

  38. Do as much research as you can by yourself. Google the drugs they’re giving you, find out if the adverse responses you experience are commonly reported. Doctors hate you to do this. First, they are correct, it really is unwise, as you don’t have the knowledge to interpret mish-mash on the internet; but second, the signal is sometimes so very strong that you can’t mistake it, and your doctor doesn’t see it because he isn’t you.

    I got away from two medications: one caused intense coughing (found out from a guy at work who’d had the same problem) another caused bradycardia – spotted that one myself, I’m a runner, know my heart rate, wear an HRM as a wristwatch. Stuff I do needs a heart rate around 140-150 so I told them I wasn’t taking any more of that particular concoction. They found me something else.

    I don’t know if Jemand’s suggestion of a Cuban break is sarcastic, but it’s not a bad idea. My own thought would be walking in Gozo. The author of the definitive guide has the same name as me – funny, that. Go and swim at Dwejra.

    Don’t be so scared of dying that you don’t live. At least hang in there to 2014 and watch the pillars of the temple fall.

  39. Get well soon Craig. So sorry to hear you’ve been feeling so poorly.

  40. ASAP. Take a heaped teaspoonful of cayenne pepper in a glass of warm water (you have to ‘man up’ to drink it). Do it daily.

    Read -
    Left for Dead
    by Richard Quinn

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Left-Dead-Richard-Quinn/dp/0963283901/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1362928712&sr=1-3

  41. Could be worse, Craig. Just when Chavez thought he was going to get some rest they put him back to work on display. I get some of your symptoms. Thanks for reminding me to book an appointment 2/3 rds of a year in advance of needing that appointment. My mum found herself in the QE in Birmingham having lived with a heart problem in the sticks for many years. They got her right as rain in no time. Get up to London asap and look after yourself from now on, please.

  42. My dad was an NHS administrator. In the ’70s he was the treasurer of a general hospital. After one of the periodic “NHS Reorganisations” he became a District Finance Officer, a district consisting of various hospitals. In both jobs, he was allocated a budget from the tier above, which he stretched as far as he could among departments, and after the reorganisation, the departments of the various hospitals. “I’m always robbing Peter to pay Paul”, he’d say.

    He always cursed the politicians. He often said that the NHS was “used as a political football”. He’d say, “as soon as I have everything running smoothly, some order comes down from on-high and I have to change it all again. Why can’t they just leave things be? It doesn’t matter what the system is; we’ll get it running well after a while, but then the politicians tell us that it all has to change.”

  43. Hear the screams of children mutilated and scar(r)ed by drones:

    Observe the no good:

    Smell the stink:

    Taste the poison:

    http://www.childrenofconflict.org.uk/cia_drones.png

  44. Ben Franklin

    10 Mar, 2013 - 4:34 pm

    paroxysmal atrial fibrillation—-unknown cause…..that’s why they call it medical ‘practice’.

    Craig; Sometimes caffeine brings it on. It may not be the cause, but it exacerbates. The quick response time is necessary. The meds call the first hour ‘Golden Time’ because it is critical to treat in first hour. Not sure how NHS works with specialist referrals. Is it possible to bypass Dr visit and go direct to clinic for ultra-sound?

  45. Hi Craig – I am horrified but not surprised to hear about your experience but before booking a flight to Cuba or a place on the ferry why not phone the consultant’s secretary and say if an appointment is cancelled you’ll take it?

    When I lived in Hertfordshire my GP often referred patients to London hospitals as they had shorter waiting lists than our local hospital. Can they still do this? It might be worth asking.

    Apologies if you’ve already thought of these suggestions !

  46. Sarcastic?

    I’m serious. Take a small film crew and document the experience. You might even score an audience with Mr Cigar himself.

    Good luck, Craig.

  47. Mary - for Truth and Justice

    10 Mar, 2013 - 5:55 pm

    Just a few entries from a ‘Kent’ search of the News Round Up page over the recent past on the Keep Our NHS Public website. We have been warning of this for some time.
    http://www.keepournhspublic.com/newsroundup.php

    Thursday 6th December 2012
    Public Service
    CCGs: consultancy firms ‘making millions’.

    Private consultancy firms are being paid millions of pounds in the run up to clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) coming into operation, it has been claimed. Companies such as PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and Capita have been given around £26m to date to cover training costs and to make up the skills gap within primary care trusts (PCTs), according to the publication Pulse which got the details via a Freedom of Information request. The data gathered showed that so far this financial year PCTs had spent an average of £173,000 with private consultancy firms. PCTs in Oxfordshire, Derby City, Buckinghamshire, Peterborough and Portsmouth had spent over £2m on external support since April 2010. Newcastle West CCG chair Dr Guy Pilkington was quoted as saying that all private consultants were taken on to support specific clinical projects due to lack of staff in-house and this was at NHS rates. He added: “Will we be requiring consultants in the future ? Probably, but far less once we go live.” Pulse also quoted Dr Paul Hobday, a GP in West Kent, as saying: “This was already happening, but the reforms have given licence for this to take off in a bigger way. The easiest route is to farm it out and the taxpayer pays the bill.”

    ~~
    Health Service Journal
    Serco named as preferred bidder for East Kent deal.

    Serco Group has been selected as preferred bidder for a contract to provide integrated facilities management services to East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust. The contract, which is expected to be signed in the next few weeks and is due to start in July 2012, has a total estimated value of approximately £140m over 10 years. It comprises an initial seven-year period and a maximum three-year extension, according to Serco. Around 700 people will be employed on the contract, the majority of which will be transferred from the existing provider and the trust with their terms and conditions protected. Serco will deliver a range of services to the trust’s three acute hospitals, two community hospitals and several small clinics in the East Kent area. In addition to cleaning and patient catering, Serco will be responsible for ward housekeeping, retail services, portering, security, switchboard, helpdesk, staff accommodation, pest control and waste management.

    ~~~

    Friday 21st October 2011

    Kentish Gazette
    Health bosses receive petition to save our baby unit.

    A petition against planned closures of birthing centres in east Kent has been officially presented to health bosses. More than 450 signatures were collected over six weeks, opposing measures to drastically overhaul maternity services. Since June, our Save Our Baby Unit campaign has highlighted the growing opposition to proposals to close birthing centres at both the Kent & Canterbury Hospital and Buckland Hospital in Dover. The preferred option put forward by the NHS would be to stop births at Canterbury and Dover, but retain midwife-led antenatal care, day clinics and postnatal support. A new midwife-led service would be opened at the QEQM Hospital in Margate while capacity would be increased at a similar unit at the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford. The move would force Canterbury mothers-to-be into long journeys to hospital and mean Kent’s only city would disappear from birth certificates.

    ~~

    Tuesday 26th April 2011

    BBC News
    Patient watchdog questions Pembury Hospital PFI value.

    The governor of a patients’ watchdog has questioned the value for money of a new hospital in west Kent. The £225m Pembury Hospital, near Tunbridge Wells, was built through a private finance initiative (PFI). John Ashelford, the governor of Kent Link, said under the terms of the agreement, the NHS must make payments of £20m a year for 32 years. The Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust said PFI was the only way to get the hospital built. The 512-bed hospital has 10 wards and was built alongside the old hospital, which will be demolished this year. Mr Ashelford said the repayments were a “massive commitment”. He said: “It’s £20m a year but every year it’s going to be indexed by inflation and the numbers will keep growing. There’s no guarantee that the funding they receive from the public purse will match that increase.”

    Read more …

    \Links within

  48. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    10 Mar, 2013 - 6:02 pm

    Ah ha, pan/pani CE mo’wi po polsku….czy jest Poliakem? :)

  49. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    10 Mar, 2013 - 6:06 pm

    Polakiem, prosze mi wybaczyc’ :) :)

  50. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    10 Mar, 2013 - 6:17 pm

    Well, just back from the Duchesse de Guermantes, wonderful thé dansant; interesting conversation with Elstir and some divine foxes with Gilberte….and guess who dropped in – the young Edward Wales (d’ceased)!

    ************

    Seriously now : Mary, do you know the meaning of the word shame?

    Your first post on this new thread was a 30 line rant about the NHS accompanied by a couple of side-swipes. Only in your second post did you see fit to offer Craig sympathy and wishes. And then you went on to attack me in your next two.

    You’ll be aware that some dogs have their tails docked and that hens’ beaks are sometimes cropped (if that’s the word). It is really time that your viper-like fangs were drawn. In the meanwhile, be ashamed.

    **********

    La vita è bella, life is good! (keep the true path viper-free)

  51. Mary - for Truth and Justice

    10 Mar, 2013 - 6:26 pm

    Craig always has my best and genuinewishes in whatever order and circumstance they are sent.

    For the sake of his health and blood pressure, I am not engaging with the idiocy of the troll.

  52. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    10 Mar, 2013 - 6:33 pm

    Good!

  53. Best wishes and sincerely hope for a complete recovery. Seems like yesterday the long summers of the early ’00′s lazing around the bars on broadway, eating in the ragu and hitting Juliano’s for a night of pleasure . How times change. Good luck mate.

  54. I’ve stopped entertaining trolls but I had to smile when Habbabkuk (6.33 p.m.) with a single word admitted to being one.

  55. Mary - for Truth and Justice

    10 Mar, 2013 - 7:13 pm

    That should have read… for the sake of Craig’s health and blood pressure, I am not engaging with the idiocy of the troll.

  56. Now that you have admitted to being a troll habnocock, Queensbury rules, you and me, anywhere within 100 miles of Norwich chum.
    Don’t tell, you’re too busy to get your arse whooped by a 60 year old, shocks.

  57. Postcode lottery I’m afraid. A guy I know was in and out of Whipps Cross for about eight months and they were unable to fathom out what was wrong with him. More than once they sent him home in a worse condition than he was when he went in until his consultant lost patience and got him a referral to the Royal Free. They took quite literally ten minutes to diagnose liver cancer and couldn’t understand how Whipps Cross could possibly have missed it.

    One year on and his condition has actually improved but eight months during which the disease could’ve been checked have been lost.

    Hope it works out for you Craig.

  58. Craig…I think someone is getting someone in the NHS to finish you off. Finishing off the job they tried when you were in Uzbekistan. Do you think Gulnara has a hand in this

  59. A few years back I had some problems with my local hospital, poor administration, lost paperwork, double bookings and a attitude of couldn’t really care less by the staff. I asked my GP to transfer me to the main university teaching hospital which involved an hour more travelling, but I received much better treatment there. My advice is to speak to your GP as he/she is the gatekeeper to the NHS services and can direct you to more appropriate hospital if required.

    From my experiences as a user of NHS hospitals I see that we are now treating the world’s poor as well as UK tax payers and services are stretched. I am amazed that translation and interpretation services are provided to non-English speakers free of charge ! Quite amazing, I doubt if private hospitals do this for their customers.

    In two years it will be another General Election and I’m under no doubt that Labour will be returned once more to power and if the whole lot hasn’t been privatised by then, they will damage the NHS even more. One way or another it would seem private health care is invertible in the UK.

  60. How Jeremy Hunt auditioned for the post of Secretary of State for Health ……

    “Our ambition should be to break down the barriers between private and public provision, in effect denationalising the provision of health care in Britain.”

    “Instead of tinkering with a fundamentally broken machine, it (the Conservative Party) should offer to update the model.”

    “We should fund patients, either through the tax system or by way of universal insurance, to purchase health care from the provider of their choice.”

    Some quotes from a 2005 book: “Direct Democracy: An Agenda for a New Model Party”, co-authored by Jeremy Hunt.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/09/06/jeremy-hunt-under-fire-for-wanting-to-denationalise-the-health-service_n_1860200.html

  61. Craig old boy…you looked quite chipper when I was down for the weekend…probably on account of me throwing alcohol down your gullet…..maybe we should revise travel plans for April…you know where I will be..had no idea you were so poorly…you hide it well and are incredibly upbeat about current projects…do look after yourself old man…I will be incredibly annoyed if you snuff it before I get to see you next time…maybe a side trip to Cuba as suggested might be on the cards…worked for a bunch of 9/11 vets compliments of Michael Moore…besides, you are about the only one of the famiglia who thinks it hilarious when I fall over completely hammered in a bar…what the hell would I do without you bro !!

  62. Frazer – don’t give too much away Bro…

  63. Mary - for Truth and Justice

    10 Mar, 2013 - 9:21 pm

    Lansley with Milton, Burns and Burstow set it (the Health and Social Care Act 2012) in train and Hunt completes the process. He looks like a startled rabbit in the headlights but is far from stupid.

    Hunt and Elms later sold their interest in Profile to concentrate on directory publishing. Together they founded a company now known as Hotcourses, a major client of whose is the British Council. Hotcourses has subsequently provided financial support to Hunt’s parliamentary office.

    http://www.hotcourses.com/community/homePage.jsp?x=16180339&y=&a=0

    In April 2012, immediately following David Cameron’s statement that he would not associate himself with anyone who carried out “aggressive tax avoidance”, the Daily Telegraph disclosed that Hunt had reduced his tax bill by over £100,000 by receiving dividends from Hotcourses in the form of property which was promptly leased back to the company.[18] The dividend in specie was paid just before a 10% rise in dividend tax and Hunt was not required to pay stamp duty on the property.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/9232715/Jeremy-Hunt-avoided-100000-tax-bill-in-deal-just-days-before-rate-rise.html

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/sep/19/jeremy-hunt-naomi-gummer-chadlington-dcms

  64. Mr Murray, the last sentence of this from ‘NetDoctor’ might be of interest. I think you can get a referral from your GP to see your existing (or another preferred) Consultant Cardiologist privately, for a fee. I think the Cardiologist should then look after the progress of your condition while you are being tested/treated by the NHS at a recommended suitable hospital. A friend has taken this route and is still alive to tell the tale.

    “If you are worried about your diagnosis and there is a long waiting time to see the consultant, you may want to book your initial appointment to see a consultant privately.
    This consultation typically costs between £120 and £200 and is normally paid on the day, or settled soon afterwards if no further treatment is needed.
    Once you have a diagnosis, your consultant will write to your GP to update them as to what has been discussed and planned.
    If you find you require surgery, you can ask the hospital to give you a fixed price for surgery. This will include the doctors’ fees and the hospital costs for the operation.
    At this stage, you can decide not to go ahead and transfer back to the NHS under the care of that consultant.”

    Read more: http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/health-services-guide/private-healthcare.htm#ixzz2NAkQL2XG
    Follow us: @NetDoctor on Twitter | NetDoctorUK on Facebook

  65. Mary - for Truth and Justice

    10 Mar, 2013 - 9:40 pm

    Hunt set this charity up.

    http://www.nyumbani.org.uk/bani/kb_content.pg_page?x=16180339&p_text_id=101558

    It has the following trustees:
    http://www.charitycommission.gov.uk/Showcharity/RegisterOfCharities/ContactAndTrustees.aspx?RegisteredCharityNumber=1104396&SubsidiaryNumber=0

    Baroness Estelle Morris was NuLabour Education.

    Aims:
    TO HELP FUND THE EDUCATION OF SOME OF THE MOST DEPRIVED CHILDREN IN THE DEVELOPING WORLD. IT AIMS TO MAKE A PRACTICAL DIFFERENCE TO THE LIVES OF INDIVIDUAL CHILDREN BY FINANCING SPECIFIC AND MEASURABLE PROJECTS WHICH TRANSFORM THE EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES AVAILABLE IN SOME OF THE POOREST PARTS OF THE WORLD. OUR INITIAL FOCUS HAS BEEN TO HELP FUND THE EDUCATION OF AIDS ORPHANS IN KENYA.

    It spent about £300k pa

  66. I know the QEQM well, as a two of my relatives had cancer. Most of the staff are good and kind, and doing their best, but it took three visits to A&E before one of my relatives was diagnosed. (He had been offered a distant scan but his condition worsened in the meantime.) Even in an emergency, the all-important MRI scans had to wait until working hours resumed on Monday morning, which I could never understand, nor that the specialist doctors are unable to work shifts like the nursing staff. I am sure that applies across the NHS, though.
    Anyway, I wish you well.

  67. @Mark..giving zilch away mate…just concerned for the old sod..my whisky drinking companion of many years may be about to snuff it..but he has a tendancy to poke a couple of double v fingers and carry on..no doubt he will outlast all of us ! Thank god as he owes me about £5000 in malt !

  68. Take care of yourself Craig. Remember to self medicate only for medicinal purposes.
    The older you get the more you need to be good to yourself.

    I don`t know but you must exercise, drink the right fluids and consume the right amount of the correct food for you.

    The hospitals are very good and if they thought you were in danger they would have you in, I am confident that they are presently capable of giving care when it is most needed.

    From experience if you had of stayed in a bed you may been fast tracked, as it was you have now fallen down the list.

    What really is important is that a “large portion” of the population are abusing there health, and a some are seeking medical treatment for selfish reasons (big boobs, winky removal.)

    Our health service is now under considerable pressure and it will only increase we need to be efficient and as people we need to be:

    Health conscious not Wealth conscious

    To thinks how most of our lifestyles could be improved with the right education and social conditioning, thus freeing up services.

    Get well soon Craig.

  69. Czesc Habba, jak sie masz?

    Pan CE! :-)

    I am lucky enough to have a lovely polski partner.

    I should really be fluent by now, but it is a bugger of a language to master.

    Na Zdrowie

    ————————

    Despite my sister working for the NHS, I’m generally pretty ignorant on the detail of health matters(or all matters, I’m sure some would agree), but I like the idea of the Health Service being free at the point of delivery and have yet to be convinced that any alternatives can safeguard this vital aspect of the NHS.

    Being young(ish) and reasonably healthy(touchwood), I haven’t had too much first hand experience of the NHS, although I am told Aberdeen comes off rather well in the postcode lottery.

  70. Craig,

    Assume you’ve seen this but you never know …

    http://www.nhs.uk/choiceintheNHS/Rightsandpledges/Waitingtimes/Pages/Guide%20to%20waiting%20times.aspx

    Did notice at the end the NHS Complaints Procedure but there’s possibly a formal procedure that I didn’t notice before I got to this point.

    You’ve got the right idea about health, though, with your preferred dram being usquebaugh!

    Slàinte

  71. DEAR CRAIG

    Sorry if you know all this already. It doesn’t seem as though the consultant would have had time for a google, and you might not have felt up to one. It’s quite possibly the drugs, it seems, though I wouldn’t let this stop me from calling an ambulance.

    FLECAINIDE

    Side effects (1 in 10 people):

    “Blurred or double vision, feeling dizzy or light-headed, vertigo (a spinning feeling), feeling sleepy

    If this happens, do not drive or use tools or machines

    Feeling or being sick, abdominal pain

    Eat simple meals – avoid rich or spicy food. Try taking your doses after you have eaten some food”

    patient.co.uk/medicine/Flecainide.htm

    Whereas;

    “Less serious side effects of BISOPROLOL may include:

    -dry mouth, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain;
    – feeling tired or weak;
    - sleep problems (insomnia);
    - drowsiness, dizziness, spinning sensation;
    - joint or muscle pain;
    - mild itching or skin rash

    This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Tell your doctor about any unusual or bothersome side effect.”

    More urgently, according to drugs.com/interactions-check

    “Using flecainide together with bisoprolol may have additive effects. Contact your doctor if you experience dizziness, slow or irregular heartbeats, fainting, or palpitations. You may need a dose adjustment or special tests to safely use both medications. It is important to tell your doctor about all other medications you use, including vitamins and herbs. Do not stop using any medications without first talking to your doctor.”

    They class the interaction as ‘Moderately clinically significant. Usually avoid combinations; use it only under special circumstances.’

    And similar advice here:
    doublecheckmd.com/viewFullDI.do?forReview=true&reviewId=2355

    If it’s not ambulance level, and your own doctor isn’t allowed to/won’t assess your drugs and monitor you, I would consider a private doctor if you can. It might cost for one session but they are able to look at and prescribe alternatives quickly.

    It might be that Digoxin would make a good substitute for both Flecainaide and Bisoprolol (which mainly seem to be prescribed as alternatives for each other). Digoxin doesn’t seem to interact with Pradaxa and the side effects seem less severe.

    Pradaxa itself is the new warfarin, and there are arguments that warfarin, while less convenient than Pradaxa, and with its own problems, is also, unlike Pradaxa, quickly reversible and proven to be safer?

    Can look further if you like, but otherwise hope you get some decent attention and information quickly.

    all best.

  72. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    10 Mar, 2013 - 11:39 pm

    bardzo dobrze CE (“bawie sie” z Maryja “zmija” :) ), a ty? I gratuluje dla tej polski pani!

    Back to the fray tomorrow, eh. Dobranoc!

    *********

    Zycie jest piekna!

  73. “HEART DISEASE NEED NEVER EXIST

    “Heart disease need never exist and if it does exist it need never progress.”

    “Three weeks to heart attack proof.”

    “By age 60 every male eating a Western diet has heart disease and should be treated as such.” “By age 70, every woman.” Heart disease and strokes from clogged arteries are 50% of all deaths per year. 240k of 480k in the UK. 1.5m of 3m in the US annually.

    6 minute version – Professor Peter Lewis of Cardiff with Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn (Olympic rowing gold medal winner, Cleveland Clinic surgeon (retired) and all-round good egg. Really!) – Youtube -

    - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HLNA12RKFdE

    62 minutes – longer version – ‘Make Yourself Heart Attack Proof’ – Youtube –

    - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_H1Drg6KJVQ

    Website

    - http://www.heartattackproof.com/

    Amazon – Dr. Esselstyn’s book –

    - http://www.amazon.com/Prevent-Reverse-Heart-Disease-Nutrition-Based/dp/1583333002

    It works. Ask me – and Professor Lewis above – how we know.

    Life, better than the alternative? Not for those fatheads – many severely ill including those who have heart attacks, stents and even coronary bypasses – who ignore that truth.

    Bismarck – “Some fools say that they like to learn from experience. I like to learn from the experience of others.” Nice guy! ; )

  74. HEART DISEASE NEED NEVER EXIST – 2

    SO. In confidence, just between you and me Craig, is this a theoretical situation or a real situation?

    Did you really only see a cardiologist for 2-3 minutes? Did you really then rely on a non-happening appointment with a cardiologist about whose reputation and qualifications and professional regard you apparently know nothing?

    Are you really waiting for the NHS to sort out a life-threatening cock-up.

    Or are you making an interesting straw-man argument???

    If Really, you might stand on the principle of living or dying by the NHS another day. While handing some shekels to a cardiologist as a private patient post-haste.

    RICHARD CURTIS

    (*1) Further, if you haven’t already worked that out – a comment from Richard Curtis – Spike – ‘Notting Hill’ -

    - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XUjIYX9IAYs#t=04m54s

    THE DALAI LAMA

    If Richard Curtis doesn’t convince – and when does he? – how about this? The Dalai Lama was asked what should you do if someone is trying to kill you?

    Answer – You can’t practise non-violence tomorrow if you are dead. So defend yourself if someone is trying to kill you. No flies on the D-Lama. ; )

    - On Nonviolence – ‘Ten Questions for the Dalai Lama’ –

    - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z2Bq6tk3sTE

    Best of luck with your decision. Seriously hope it was a ‘theoretical question’. See (*1) above. Repeat until answer correct.

    And it would be nice to think that you paid more than a blind bit of notice to Esselstyn’s advice. Though you were under the weather at the time!

  75. Every day living with the symptoms and the uncertainty must be agony. To think of that going on for months is dreadful. My thoughts are with you, Craig.

  76. BrianFujisan

    11 Mar, 2013 - 1:13 am

    Back to the fray tomorrow, eh. Dobranoc

    Whatever happened concern for Craig’s health You little C%nt

    Càite bheil an taigh beag?

  77. HEART DISEASE NEED NEVER EXIST – 3

    Can’t say anything about the relevance of this diet approach to electrical problems of the heart.

    For those with regular old atheroschlerosis – clogged arteries due to the Western diet – cardiologists are, ER, ‘less useful’, imo, if one wants to use the Esselstyn, Ornish, McDougall low fat diet approach that has been _proven_ to work. ymmv. Younger may better.

    Largely because doctors get a couple of hours of nutrition training in 5 years of medical school! No, Really! : (

    ‘A Challenging Second Opinion – McDougall’s Medicine’, by Dr. John McDougall is very good.

    It describes the various heart tests and gives advice on whether and in what circumstances to let doctors give you them, because of the, ER, pathway that puts you on. To stents, bypasses, ‘pumphead’ and death. ‘Course if one has just had a heart attack one is in a (very) different boat than an ‘Oops’ on an EKG test.

    ‘Pathway’ now a (rightly) frightening word in NHS-speak. ; )

    You do, however, need nearly ‘the full of your health’ to read, digest and make a good decision with these books.

    ‘A Challenging Second Opinion – McDougall’s Medicine’ by Dr. John McDougall – Amazon –

    - http://www.amazon.com/McDougalls-Medicine-Challenging-Second-Opinion/dp/9998272696/

    Esselstyn’s book had a slow take off from 2007, but word of mouth must work because it now has 500 _posted_ highly positive recommendations on Amazon (US). Assume 100 or 1000 times as many satisfied users? Verdict – It’s a masterpiece of its type. It was ghostwritten by an amazing writer and there is not a spare word in it. Yet it includes every key fact read in six or so other books. But it reads as extremely succinct, spare even and that’s only the first third.

    The rest is amazingly good recipes for the diet that Dr. E recommends. All in all, if one has a heart problem that diet can cure, it’s a one stop shop.

    ‘The McDougall Program for a Healthy Heart,’ by Dr. John McDougall is worth looking at.

    Someone here bought everything by Ornish, everything by McDougall and it was a year later Esselstyn published his book, which would be the first to buy, imo, and could be sufficient as ‘the only’ if one wished.

  78. Bardzo Dobre, dzieki Habba! ;-)

    I have had the pleasure to visit Poland on numerous occasions, an amazing country, full of strong, kind-hearted people, once you get past the scary aggressive language!:-)

    And I’m sure Craig would challenge me, and I may be biased, but I have yet to visit a country where the women are as beautiful.

    Get well soon Craig, you will be needed at the forefront of the battle for independence.

  79. Brian
    se’s lan dhen cac

  80. BrianFujisan

    11 Mar, 2013 - 3:31 am

    Nice one A Node…Wee Bullshit Cretin.. Where are you from My Friend..We Love Vatersay

  81. HEART DISEASE NEED NEVER EXIST – 4

    BIG GIRL’S BLOUSE

    But ‘someone’ is a big girl’s blouse when it comes to letting a nice man shove a coat hanger up his leg. The “This’ll be just like you’ve had a couple of (good) drinks,” the warm towels (no, really!) and the flirty chatty nurse (by design, to relax the, ER, victim) were ‘nae bother’. ; )

    But feeling the coathanger in the chest might have been more than a tad worrying without said drug-induced ‘relaxation’. (Gulp! – “If he nicks an artery on the turn we won’t, ER, be fathering any more children … never mind ‘Good night Vienna’.”).

    Waiting a couple of weeks for the plastic thingamajig holding one’s femoral artery shut to be absorbed is also interesting. Should it fail one imagines that one’ll be either pressing very hard, in public, looking like a serious pervert, while dialing 999, or spraying the walls – and everyone around you on the Tube – bright red. Or bleeding out in minutes. ‘Buh-ha-wun.’ “Not a lot of fun.”

    Ymmv. ; )

    All in all, perhaps not the preferred method for a drug-induced high. Especially in Yankland where they _will_ stiff you with a 15k bill – and then settle for 6k – after 6 months of argy-bargy, during which time you’re supposed to be ill, but need the full of your health to deal with the Buggers. Nae fun at all, really.

    ‘Course finding out it was a false alarm and that ‘diet and exercise can fix this’ wasn’t so bad. Not bad at all. Especially compared to the alternatives. Cheap? At 6k? Not really!

    Welcome to the Medical Industrial Complex, son. (ER, Layer Cake? Ed.) –

    Arise, take up thy bed and sin no more / ‘eat yer greens’ / don’t choose the muppet option. “Amen” indeed!

    - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sDFs7DPkJD8#t=01m21s

  82. Mary - for Truth and Justice

    11 Mar, 2013 - 7:56 am

    Yes Brian Fujisan They are so pig ignorant that they don’t know it is considered impolite, when in company, to use a different language to the rest of the company. I could not be bothered to put the stuff through the translate tool but I am guessing that my name precedes the smiley. What pathetic school playground occupants.

    The Chief Medical Officer has a initiative against the excessive use of anti-biotics and is calling for better education for the prescribers. I agree having just read of the C. difficile cases at the new PFI hospital at Pembury/Maidstone trust.

    However did she speak about the use of antibiotics in stock rearing and factory farming of unfortunate creatures like chickens and pigs?

    Antibiotics Causing Resistant Infections and Maybe Obesity and Allergies
    by Martha Rosenberg / November 16th, 2012

    One of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy’s (D-MA) last legislative fights was about the overuse of livestock antibiotics. “It seems scarcely believable that these precious medications could be fed by the ton to chickens and pigs,” he wrote in a bill called the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act of 2007 (PAMTA). Over 70 percent of antibiotics go to livestock, not to people, said the PAMTA bill, a figure the drug industry refutes. “These precious drugs aren’t even used to treat sick animals. They are used to fatten pigs and speed the growth of chickens. The result of this rampant overuse is clear: meat contaminated with drug-resistant bacteria sits on supermarket shelves all over America,” said Kennedy.

    /..
    http://dissidentvoice.org/2012/11/antibiotics-causing-resistant-infections-and-maybe-obesity-and-allergies/

    Eggs have also been assailed for their germ content, in addition to their nutritional content, thanks to their modern production methods–30,000 or more caged hens stacked on top of each other over their own manure. The FDA reports that egg operations are so festooned with salmonella and other bacteria that during inspections, it found a hatchery injecting antibiotics directly into the eggs of laying hens, presumably to take the offensive with germ control.

    Would eggs from such antibiotic-treated hens also have antibiotic residues? Yes, says an article in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry which reports that “detectable residues were observed in eggs derived from enrofloxacin-treated hens” as well as “yolks from hens treated with enrofloxacin.”

    Clearly there are more concerns about the safety of eggs and especially commercially produced eggs than those addressed in this week’s article in the British Medical Journal.

    /..
    http://dissidentvoice.org/2013/02/are-eggs-safe-to-eat-again/

  83. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    11 Mar, 2013 - 8:23 am

    Brian Fujisan (01h13) wrote :

    “Back to the fray tomorrow, eh. Dobranoc

    Whatever happened concern for Craig’s health You little C%nt”

    It may be difficult for an inferior brain like yours to understand, but it is possible for the human mind to have more than one thought in it at a time. Thus one can feel sympathy for Craig’s situation and at the same time continue the useful and salutary task of pointing to the foolishness of certain posts. And, iceing on th cake, one can even do this without using four letter words.

    Crawl back under your futon and think about it. Emerge once you have understood and repented.

    *************

    La vita è bella, life is good (send chumps packing)

  84. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    11 Mar, 2013 - 8:33 am

    @ Mary (bright and early at 07h56) :

    “Yes Brian Fujisan They are so pig ignorant that they don’t know it is considered impolite, when in company, to use a different language to the rest of the company. I could not be bothered to put the stuff through the translate tool but I am guessing that my name precedes the smiley. What pathetic school playground occupants.”

    Fear not, Mary, I shall continue to invigilate you in the English language :) in the hope that you will, in time, (1) learn to keep on-topic, (2) keep to substance and drop the sly little ad hominems, (3) cease attacking people through their relatives, (4) appreciate that contrary point of view are legitimate. This list is, of course, not exhaustive.

    Have a nice day.

    *************

    La vita è bella, life is good!

  85. Vince Cable.
    Radio 5

    “cutting taxes for people on low pay”

    Hello Vincent.

    If we need to get out of debt you need to raise taxes from the very top down, and you need to introduce food stamps, instead of spending welfare on shit in the shops,(excuse my French) raise the standards of your people.

    Thankyou Mary

    Anti_biotics should be used sparingly.

  86. Mary - for Truth and Justice

    11 Mar, 2013 - 8:52 am

    Liam ‘I want to be Prime Minister’ Fox advocates a five year spending freeze! and ‘to use the money saved on cutting taxes’. We know whose taxes he would like to see cut.

    Liam Fox to urge public spending freeze in speech
    Liam Fox calls for a radical change in the government’s economic policy

    CBI calls for Budget homebuilding
    Tory urges radical economic strategy
    Gay marriage plan wrong, says Fox

    Former cabinet minister Liam Fox is to use a speech to call on the government to freeze the level of public spending for five years and spend the money saved on cutting taxes and the deficit.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-21737992

    Now Liam, what we really want to hear from you is the answer to the question – Where is Werritty? Tel Aviv, Washington, London even?

  87. Mr Murray, if you don’t get anywhere, try contacting the hospital patient advice and liaison service (PALS). They seem to have some pull. There should be details on the hospital website.

  88. Mary - for Truth and Justice

    11 Mar, 2013 - 9:18 am

    Antibiotics resistance ‘as big a risk as terrorism’ – medical chief

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-21737844#

    I have just heard Dr Davies say, that to incentivize the drug companies to produce new antibiotics, we should use more public private partnerships!! She was speaking to Jon Kay on BBC News. Shilling for GSK and the like in other words.

    I was waiting for her to compare the 5000 UK deaths attributed to non resistance to microbial infections as akin to the death toll of 9/11. Note the use of the terrrrrrism word being brought into the discusssions.

  89. resident dissident

    11 Mar, 2013 - 9:55 am

    Get well soon Craig – even though I disagree with much of your politics some of us are able to separate the personal from the political. Best wishes to your wife as well, who I guess may find this even more scary than you. BTW I would be giving your GP a lot of encouragement to get things moving – given that he/she is more likely to know how to play the system than yourself.

  90. Arshole . You should VERY careful with whom you insult

  91. Today we hear of Lib dem/Con cllr.s moon lighting for cash and working against the advise of fellow councillors elsewhere. The last nail in the planning coffin.
    Also today, MP George Freeman is using fatal accidents to placate voters in the forthcoming county council elections.Will we hear of more sobs? like suspension of the fuel escalator, for some month.

    Fact is here in Norfolk they have spent their money and nothing is left for the major improvements. Planning is in a quandary and the Tory’s had three years to evoke change, so why now crow about roads and urgent improvements, if not to sidle up to drivers.

    Good to hear so many care about you and the NHS, but, on reflection, would it be wiser to seek treatment abroad when one is critical of the NHS, Gulnara, and many other issues that matter?

  92. BTW. Has the media forgotten about Adam Werritty?

    Is their recollection of the affairs surrounding his special access to all areas not instantly triggered by the mentioning of Dr. Liam Fox’s latest haranguing missive’s, ready to shine at spring conference.

    Indeed every time Liam Fox says something the MSM deems important, is it not worth challenging him on the whereabouts of his erstwhile sidekick?

    I mean every time George Galloway is in some public frame, they manage to remember his ‘indefatigable approach’ to Saddam, how do they do this. Remember Galloway’s past noises but fail to notice the absence and disappearance of Adam Werritty, a man who managed to have meetings at the MOD without any internal minutes, who had access to PPS’s, were no mortals tread?

    So where is Adam Werritty? will he be at Con. Conference? maybe as/with a new face?

    Or is Adam Werritty dead?

  93. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    11 Mar, 2013 - 11:29 am

    “Or is Adam Werritty dead?”

    Perhaps a case of “beam me up, Scotty” ?

  94. “The massacre of hundreds of protesters at the hands of British troops in 1919, he wrote, was “a deeply shameful event in British history”. “In remembering,” said the prime minister, “we must ensure that the United Kingdom stands up for the right to peaceful protest anywhere in the world.”

    wrote hypocrite David Cameron during his latest Indian friendship/ arms visit.

    meanwhile the assaults and injuries to democratic protesters and students, the poo-licy of kettling and extreme force, the use of rubber bullets always a consideration, will continue.

    To the consternation of lawyers this minority political party coalition now wants to withdraw from the EU Human rights act, curtailing their legal scope and despite the input British lawyers had in drafting this law.

    Sorry for referring to this rag.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/mar/10/dangerous-police-protest-alfie-meadows

  95. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    11 Mar, 2013 - 11:36 am

    @ Brian Fujisan :

    “You should VERY careful with whom you insult”

    I quite agree. And also with whom you cross swords on this blog.

  96. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    11 Mar, 2013 - 11:46 am

    @ Nevermind (11h32)

    “..this minority political party coalition…”

    Sloppy drafting once again from Never-a-mind.

    There is a coalition because each of the two constituent political parties is, by itself, a minority party in terms of parliamentary seats and in terms of the popular vote. By combining into a coalition, they become a majority in the above terms.

    So these five words cannot be used together and still make sense.

    **********

    La vita è bella, life is good! (Habbabkuk for drafting that makes sense)

  97. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    11 Mar, 2013 - 11:48 am

    It would have been clearer and made better sense if you had said “this coalition of minority parties”; I trust you agree?

  98. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    11 Mar, 2013 - 11:50 am

    Or better still : “this coalition of minority political parties”.

    Agreed?

  99. Hi, I am really sorry to hear about your experiences with the NHS. I do hope you will get some help and proper treatment soon.
    It was interesting to read that you had much better experience in London in 2004. So did I!
    At present however things are just as bad. I have been passing blood in my urine for three and half months now and I have been in a lot of pain. So far my GP refuses to send me to see a consultant at all. I am being given painkillers and told to go away. It is pretty scary, especially since I lost many family members to cancer. I have seen 3 different GPs on four occasions (all at the same surgery)and they keep telling me that there is no funding to send me and that I will have to wait longer before I can get my referral. So much for being in London.

  100. Mary - for Truth and Justice

    11 Mar, 2013 - 12:08 pm

    BBC Breaking News is just like one of those coin in the slot machines. Put in your token and up comes a new message. Ref my Liam (Want to be Prime Minister) Fox post earlier.

    LATEST:No 10 rejects calls by Liam Fox, MP for the government to freeze public spending for five years

  101. Although I feel like responding to your threats at Brian, your need of correctness and pedantry has to be satisfied before I consider rearranging your facial expressions.

    It is, off course, not a coalition, because that would mean having protracted talks for some 5 to 6 weeks, I know you with your extensive foreign travel experience,know this as well, habkeincock.

    What we are faced with is the result of speed dating between newbies who never been in Government, a poor excuse, mocking other far more appropriate and fair political systems that are proportional and more in tune with voters.

    To call this a coalition is a compliment.

  102. JJ, go and check into hospital, pronto, especially if your passing of blood comes with stinging pains.

    This happened to a friend and within two weeks he had an exploratory op, was found to have bladder cancer and had his bladder taken out some five weeks later.

    Take the initiative and make sure that your (ignorant) doctor gets to know about every diagnosis that is taken, for learning purposes.

    There is a national requirement to stifle the development of cancer by speeding up patients treatment. It works well in Norfolk but is very much determined by the availability of hospitals with specialist oncology expertise.

  103. Mary - for Truth and Justice

    11 Mar, 2013 - 2:17 pm

    Don’t feed the trolls. It only allows them to spread more of the disinformation and cause disruption.

    Their silly and venomous exchange above in the Polish language reads and just for the record:-

    Habbabkuk####
    CE very well (“playing” with Mary “viper”), and you? I congratulate for the Polish lady!

    Back to the fray tomorrow, eh. Good night!

    ~~~~~

    CE

    Very good, thanks Habba

  104. Craig. May I suggest you do some ‘health tourism’ around the EU or even consider doing it abroad. Yes, you will have to pay for it abroad, but you should get rapid attention. Sorry to hear you are still not fully recovered. I make doah for you.

  105. JJ. A suggestion. With the permission of a friend who lives in a different ‘medical jurisdiction’ (or whatever medical ‘zones’ are called), go to a GP and register saying you’ve just moved in. That way you can hopefully get the medical attention you need.

  106. Mike Cobley, 10 Mar, 2013 – 12:05 pm
    I like your demonstration that the destruction of the NHS is tri-partisan (well, different shades of Thatcherism)

  107. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    11 Mar, 2013 - 3:07 pm

    Another splendid comment from Never-a-mind at (12h14). Speaking of the coalition, he opines as follows :

    “It is, off course, not a coalition, because that would mean having protracted talks for some 5 to 6 weeks”

    So we have learnt something new from the Master of Politics, ie, the importance of the time factor.

    If a coalition takes a long time to put together, it’s a coalition.

    If, on the other hand, it’s put together speedily, it’s not.

    Wonderful!

    **********

    La vita è bella, life is good!

  108. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    11 Mar, 2013 - 3:12 pm

    @ Mary at 14h17 :

    I do believe you forgot to supply a translation of the last line of my post.

    To remind you, this read as follows : “Zycie jest piekna!”

    Do you think you could bring yourself to translate this as well? :)

  109. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    11 Mar, 2013 - 3:29 pm

    Two offers (?) of fisticuffs from Never-a-mind directed at me on this thread.

    Never-a-mind, were you, in your younger days, an amateur boxer – perhaps an amateur boxer who got knocked out once too often,which would explain the seemingly scrambled nature of your grey matter?

    **********

    La vita è bella;, life is good! (ban dangerous sports)

  110. HEART DISEASE NEED NEVER EXIST – 5

    On being a Big Girl’s Blouse – It’s, ER, normal, even expected. Really!

    Further –

    “Q. “Can’t I just wait for a heart problem and then start the cure (diet)?” A. “For a third of those under 65, the first symptom of heart disease is death.” – Sudden Cardiac Death.

    “For a quarter of those over 65, the first symptom of heart disease is death.” Oops indeed.

    “100% of those getting a coronary bypass suffer brain damage – from the movement of plaque in the arteries into the brain, by the removal of clamps placed on arteries during the procedure. In some cases the cognitive impairment _appears_ to wear off, but _all_ do have underlying damage to their brains, ‘Pumphead’.

    “2% or 3% die on the table during a bypass operation. 5% have heart attacks. 13% have ‘major complications’. 1% die on the table during an angiogram.

    SO

    Q. Why do so many of us follow Dr. E’s diet for religious reasons? A. Because we’re (very) devout cowards!

    “BUT you are not alone. You have Drs. Ornish, McDougall and Esselstyn and (biochemical) Dr. T. Colin Campbell. As for an actual live family practitioner or a cardiologist, you may get lucky, but unfortunately I wouldn’t count on it. When you have a new diagnosis of heart disease and you are petrified, or ‘they’ are shoving a coat hanger up your leg, is that tough? Oh Yeah ;-) .”

    - A biased review of ‘Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease’ by Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn – Good? It’s not good, it’s Wonderful! – Amazon -

    - http://www.amazon.com/review/R2FNP0JM4OHZKR/

    HEART ATTACK PROOF

    “Almost all of those who came to me, who had been told there was little hope, today – twenty years later – are alive, their arterial diseases receded. They stand as living proof of what is possible for you and anyone else who chooses to do what is necessary to become heart attack-proof.”

    “I don’t understand why asking people to eat a well-balanced vegetarian diet is considered drastic, while it is medically conservative to cut people open.” – Dean Ornish.

    “Well said!” – Caldwell Esselstyn

  111. Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    11 Mar, 2013 - 4:21 pm

    A threat from one anonymous commentator to another is wishful thinking for a masochist. It’s also very child-like to seek negative attention, as an alternative to no attention at all.

  112. THE US

    Unnecessary drugs, tests and procedures in the US seem to be quite dangerous – killing 780,000 a year, out of 3m deaths per annum – over 25% of all deaths in one report.? Bet the UK is not that bad! -

    - http://www.ourcivilisation.com/medicine/usamed/deaths.htm

    They’re not. WHO rating of health care systems. NHS #18. US – #37 -

    - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Health_Organization_ranking_of_health_systems

    NHS

    As dangerous as being unmolested by the medical establishment? Does that depend on how you rate their cured to killed ratio. 10:1? 1:1? 1:10!?

    “Be careful of what you wish for?”

    PATIENTS

    Read a medical doctor – a TB patient himself – say that it wasn’t until he decided that he had to work to get better that he began to improve. To just passively lie there – in the thirties and receive treatment or medicine wasn’t going to do it and he saw that in those around him, in those who lived and those who died.

    In a peculiar way, he said, he had to actively work at getting better, even if he was lying flat on his back. In his case he independently discovered ‘Active Imagination’ – his subconscious. C.G. Jung’s discovery. Which forty years later he thought had been a powerful aid in his recovery.

    Enthusiasm for the Esselstyn diet is because it puts the patient back in control. It empowers the patient. A powerful feeling. A healthy approach. Pun intended. “The locus of control is restored to the patient” – very important said the good doctor.

    As you said, the NHS did sterling work for you when the chips were down. While one is ambulatory perhaps the patient can – or even should – take a certain amount of control. Certainly in a system as dysfunctional as the US’s. Perhaps also even with a much better system – the NHS – that does have bottlenecks?

    Perhaps there are measures patients can take a) about appointments with doctors and specialists, b) reading and learning, c) even to treatment – more so if diet is included as treatment? Perhaps if one is able, taking such control can be healthy and may be part of a cure?

    ‘Course not everyone wants to. Not everyone is equipped to. Not everyone has the time or inclination to. What then? Can we learn from France? Norway? – from Sicko – Because we can’t all toddle across the channel as needed.

    Norway – Sicko -

    - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=svSUCbClg8E

  113. “If a coalition takes a long time to put together, it’s a coalition.”

    well spotted, how did you manage that? Indeed a coalition talk has nothing to do with looking at each others policy pointers, nor does it suffice to be hurried by financial interests who are floating your particular boat, mein kleiner Zwerg.

    Just consider for one moment, if there is such notion at all for you, that you are meeting most, or all of the posters writing here, at a garden party.
    You would not dare to use your foul mouthed denigrations and personal attacks and you would be very quiet, would you not?.
    Because everyone would recognise you the moment you open your mouth and I would not be the only one stuffing it with volovants, boxing does not even come into it.

    You may call this cabinet of newbie speed daters a coalition, being such a learned person, I could not possibly agree with such amateur politics.

  114. Well, what started off as a get well card has quickly degenerated into the usual shit-fight punctuated with tedious RSS news feeds. No wonder Craig gets depressed.

  115. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    11 Mar, 2013 - 8:12 pm

    “Well, what started off as a get well card has quickly degenerated into the usual shit-fight punctuated with tedious RSS news feeds”

    Exactly my point, Jemand. And have a look to see who started it (hint: start at posts 28 and 29 from you know who)

  116. Mary - for Truth and Justice

    11 Mar, 2013 - 8:56 pm

    I hope Craig was not watching the One Show tonight. They had an item from the same hospital which he attends, the QEQM, where an ex builder/carpenter is employed as a ‘Qualified Surgical Practitioner’ to carry out carpal tunnel operations. Some of the patients had no idea that he is not a trained or qualified doctor.

    There is a myriad of nerves, tendons and blood vessels running through the wrist joint. The mind boggles at what could go wrong and what happens if a mistake is made.

    In many cases of carpal tunnel syndrome, a steroid injection will eliminate the pain and discomfort.

  117. Mary - for Truth and Justice

    11 Mar, 2013 - 10:49 pm

    Cameron is planning to sell off the plasma service. Please sign this petition.
    I was a blood donor. The public make voluntary donations of their blood from which plasma is extracted.

    ~~~~~~

    Save our Blood Plasma Service

    To: Daniel Poulter – Minister of State for Health Services

    Dear Daniel Poulter,

    Don’t let private companies profit from blood plasma donations. Scrap your plan to sell off Plasma Resources UK and keep our Blood Plasma Service public.

    Why is this important?

    The government is planning to sell off Plasma Resources UK, the firm responsible for supplying blood plasma products to the NHS, to a private contractor.

    We, the undersigned feel that this is unacceptable for the following reasons:

    1. Blood plasma is essential for the treatment of many conditions, including burns, shock and major trauma; immune disorders and neurological conditions; protecting unborn children from haemolytic diseases. Possibly best known plasma product is Factor VIII used to treat around 3,000 haemophilia patients.

    2. The profit impetus may compel any company taking over services to cut corners in order to make return. This could have devastating consequences for patient safety should contaminated, poorly packaged or improperly labelled products reach frontline healthcare services.

    The next part of this section is a fuller statement about Blood Plasma and why it is so important to stop the sell off of Plasma Resources UK. It shows how the Government has already split plasma services away from the National Blood Service so that part of what was a unified Blood Transfusion Service can be sold off for profit.

    More here http://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/save-our-blood-tranfusion-service

  118. This is purely unacceptable from medical standpoint, if I may add as a physician. At least where I work, it is by law forbidden to discharge a patient unless he agrees to do so. You might end up needing both a pacemaker and higher dose of atrial fibrillation blocking agents. I would go to the ER and refuse to leave until the problem is definitively answered. This is not a good use of resources but I am looking at it from an individual standpoint, not from a public policy point of view. The latter, I leave to Blain and co.

  119. Craig, your work and play routine seems quite risky for dealing with serious health problem, so you can at least put a super diet to work on it, and do some quiet-mind-body meditation, nothing psychedelic just give your subconscious some me-time to work on straightening things out. Clear headed posture and breathing experiments. It makes a difference. I hope the rest comes together soon.


    Is there no one to report such health service failure, to have it corrected? Not even a Physician finding it unacceptable can do anything other than recommend a protest at A&E.

  120. Crab, do you mean emptying your mind and telling your body to heal itself?

    the capacity of our body’s to self heal is never much talked about, something regretfully ignored by a pressurised health community with very little time for anything else than a patented NISA kosh.

  121. I differ with most people here; I found this blog post I couldn’t stop until I finished, even though it wasn’t just what I had been searching for, was still a nice read though. I will instantly get your blog feed to stay in touch of any updates.

  122. Mary - for Truth and Justice

    13 Mar, 2013 - 8:17 am

    Letters

    NHS still threatened by privatisation

    The Guardian, Monday 11 March 2013 21.00 GMT

    It is premature and ridiculous for Labour to claim that Jeremy Hunt’s decision to rewrite some paragraphs of the draft regulations made under secton 75 of the Health and Social Care Act is a U-turn. Your report (6 March) makes it clear that the revised draft will permit clinical commissioning groups to decide only how and when, but not whether, services should be opened to competition; and that while they will not have to put all services out to tender, it will be only in exceptional circumstances they will be allowed not to. As for the insistence that competition must not be at the expense of integration and co-operation, writing conflicting requirements into regulations serves only to make an ass of the law.
    Keith Bilton
    London

    • I hope the government is preparing to deal with a clinical shambles of its own creation. From next month, the contracts for England’s least complicated and most remunerative medical work (and money) will be snapped up by (“commissioned from”) the predatory private medical companies. The remaining mass of complex, expensive and demanding patients, the training, the teaching and the research (and the private sector clinical failures) will be generously left to the NHS, with its depleted taxpayer funding and loyal, unpoached medical and nursing staff.
    Professor Harry Keen
    President, NHS Support Federation

    • Thank you, Keith Farman, After all the negativity about our irreplaceable NHS, your letter (The NHS saved my life, 7 March) was a sublime breath of fresh air.
    Elizabeth Poland
    Coventry

    ~~~~

    The NHS has just saved my life

    The Guardian, Wednesday 6 March 2013 21.00 GMT

    The NHS just saved my life. With no prior symptoms, On 18 December I suffered a minor heart attack. Three hospitals, three ambulance transfers, upwards of 50 dedicated professionals and nine days later I had a world-class triple bypass to remedy a previously undetected life-threatening condition. I was kept informed throughout of what was happening and why, with clarity and sensitivity. At all times I was treated with unfailing care and concern – as a patient and a person. When I thanked one of the surgeons, he smiled and said it was a team effort, and that the contribution of nursing and support staff was an equally important part of the process. I witnessed a level of teamwork, personal commitment, discipline and professionalism by staff at all levels that I never encountered in 20 years in industry.

    In most countries I would be dead, bankrupt or dangerously risking a major heart-damaging second attack while I waited for surgery. Nightmares like Mid Staffs (Editorial, 6 March) are not caused by anything arising from within the value-structure of medicine or the NHS. They are caused by the simplistic misapplication of long-discredited business techniques by politicians and civil servants who have never run anything except a doubtful argument. The corporate vultures are circling the NHS, scenting red-blooded profit. Our naive politicians are easy prey for the snake-oil salesmen. Hospitals are not businesses. Patients are not customers. But my albeit anecdotal, experience shows that the NHS already has a level of disciplined, rigorous, empathic delivery of a life and death service that would be the envy of any private enterprise. Politicians should listen to the professionals who have dedicated their lives to the values of the NHS. Then shut up and find the money to save it.
    Keith Farman
    St Albans, Hertfordshire

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2013/mar/11/nhs-still-threatened-by-privatisation

  123. Mary - for Truth and Justice

    13 Mar, 2013 - 8:37 am

    Enough said.

    13 March 2013

    London NHS spends £13m on public relations
    BBC News, London

    Millions of pounds have been spent on the NHS press officers and PR projects
    The NHS in London spent almost £13m on public relations in the last three years, a BBC London investigation has found – enough to recruit 600 nurses.

    Some £9.7m went on press officers’ salaries at hospitals and primary care trusts (PCTs) and private PR companies were paid a further £3m.

    Critics called for “medical doctors not spin doctors”, pointing to longer waiting times and cancelled operations.

    Some trusts said PR spending was needed to educate the public on health issues.

    The BBC sent Freedom of Information requests to all 33 London hospitals, in addition to the capital’s primary care trusts and NHS London.

    The research revealed some 82 press officers on the public payroll, with an average salary of £37,278.

    /..

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-21762939

  124. “Crab, do you mean emptying your mind and telling your body to heal itself? ”

    Yes Nevermind :) It sounds twee but I came to experience it myself for some health problems. There is something absurd about dealing with ill health with business as usual and a few extra worries and discomforts, and also some drugs and directions from an excessively busy doctor.

    You just allocate some timeslots to a quiet frame of mind where you attend and experiment with your bodies posture, breathing, internal sensations. Attending to the body consciously, the subconscious joins in after a while (like it does with other things with demands beyond our conscious capacity; like playing chess etc.) The subconscious is known without doubt to have all sorts of control of physiology.

    From personal experience from acute spells of an inflamatory disease, I find significant improvements in comfort/mobility/colour have taken me by surprise, sometimes just 15 minutes into doing this “time-out” or “time-in” or “just-sitting” or “just-breathing” or “just-standing”… there are endless ways and means.

    Im not saying its a sure fire supercure all, but it is definitely worth doing. I stupidly dont employ it anywhere near as much as i should, i just resort to it when ive ‘had enough’ discomfort, it always does something and can be amazing.

  125. Mary - for Truth and Justice

    13 Mar, 2013 - 4:48 pm

    Some of what’s coming on April 1st, 2013. 12 pages of jargon. Understand it if you can. Earl Howe Health Lords does. He signed it at the front.
    https://www.wp.dh.gov.uk/transparency/files/2013/02/DH-6083-PCCR-IA-Final.pdf

    Capital with open talons is swooping down to take the prey.

    Correspondence with some of those in the House of Lords and with the Clerk of the Parliaments. The latter did not acknowledge it or reply.

    13 March 2013

    Dear Lord/Lady…..

    I have written to the Clerk of the Parliaments previously (below) about this, which is of great national importance.

    A few weeks later, and after some debate, my concerns are as great as ever. I have just skimmed -

    The National Health Service (Procurement, Patient Choice and Competition) (No. 2) Regulations 2013
    Made 6th March 2013 Laid before Parliament 11th March 2013 Coming into force – 1st April 2013 (We note the very unseemly hurry)

    I cannot study it; the language is opaque. It obviously requires the most careful analysis by competition and constitutional lawyers.

    I am certain there is bedlam in view. Those sick and distressed people without much money will be going cap in hand for care.

    It is obvious to me that if these ‘reforms’ (Goebbels word) were to be introduced with some ‘nous’ applied, UK procurement and EU competition law would be set aside until the CCG/provider system had bedded in well.

    I was speaking to a senior financial analyst in a PCT the other day. He no longer enjoys his work. He say the CCGs are not getting to grips with their financial responsibilities post-April 1. With all the meetings, contract papers etc, I foresee chaos and harm coming to sick people and to OUR NHS.

    Yours sincerely

    …..

    ~~~~~

    22 February 2013

    Dear Mr Beamish,

    I learn that the Lords’ Secondary Legislation Committee will be discussing the regulations laid by the Government under Section 75 of the new NHS Act 1 at their meeting on 5 March.

    These regulations are far reaching and if passed they will ensure the rapid ‘privatisation’ of our NHS. During the passage of the Health & Social Care Act through Parliament ministers constantly reassured members and the public at large that there was no possibility of NHS services being forced to be put to the market, and that the health regulator Monitor would not have powers to enforce such a move. It followed that the NHS would not therefore be subject to EU competition law, and therefore no irrevocable change in its status was being made.

    However, an examination by experts of the new regulations reveals that local commissioners, the new Clinical Commissioning Groups, will have no power to resist Monitor’s demands. These CCGs will be less able to introduce criteria ensuring high quality of service in addition to cost criteria, into the contracts they are required to let. Consultation with local people about the plans of the CCGs will be hollow.

    Since this is in direct contravention of what was said to Parliament, I hope you will be able to use your good offices and standing to ensure their Lordships know that these regulations merit very special attention.

    Yours faithfully,

    ……

    1.The National Health Service (Procurement, Patient Choice and Competition) Regulations 2013) made under Section 75 of the Health & Social Care Act 2012)

  126. Mary - for Truth and Justice

    14 Mar, 2013 - 8:37 am

    This is Paul Bate the health adviser in Cameron’s policy unit and therefore influential.

    ‘Paul Bate is returning to the PM’s HQ, having previously served in Tony Blair’s Delivery Unit under Michael Barber, alongside Greg Beales (who according to Guido Fawkes’ report, is now a speechwriter for Ed Miliband.

    This would have been during the period when Monitor chair David Bennett was the non-political Chief Policy Advisor to Prime Minister Tony Blair and Head of the Policy Directorate and the Strategy Unit in 10 Downing Street.

    Isn’t the Conservatives’ Tony Blair fetish getting serious?

    First, David Bennett to chair Monitor; then failed attempts to get Alan Milburn to chair the NHS Commissioning Board, as HSJ revealed). They can’t afford Simon Stevens, which must be annoying for them.’

    /..
    http://www.healthpolicyinsight.com/?q=node/1010

  127. Mary - for Truth and Justice

    14 Mar, 2013 - 8:41 am

    Conflicts ‘rife’ in new GP groups

    More than a third of GPs on the boards of new NHS commissioning groups will have a potential conflict of interest, an investigation suggests.

    [..]
    The BMJ says 426, or 36%, of the 1,179 GPs it looked at – who are in executive positions on boards – have a financial interest in a for-profit health provider beyond their own practice.

    Their interests range from senior directorships in firms set up to provide services such as out-of-hours GP care, to shareholdings in large private health firms, such as Harmoni and Circle Health.

    [..]
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-21772143

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