Forced into Private Health 93

I remain absolutely stunned, and completely confused, by the apparently appalling quality of NHS Healthcare in Thanet, from my own experience.

I still haven’t seen that cardiologist.

Meantime, about six weeks ago, my left heel became very sore and tender, painful to walk upon. A couple of days later the pain had gone. A couple of days more, and it came back. It remained intermittent for about a month. Then two weeks ago, it became more or less permanent, and then when I went on Saturday to speak at the Bradley Manning demo at the US Embassy, I found that after 200 of the 300 metres to the railway station I was in so much pain I just had to sit on the pavement until the pain died down a bit. I missed my train. I eventually got to the demo after it had pretty well finished, looking rather like Quasimodo and in a lot of pain. I spoke anyway, but there are rather more ummms and aaahs than usual because the pain made it hard to concentrate.

I finally decided this wasn’t going away, and went to see the GP today – it is very close, but again I couldn’t walk there. He gave me a chit to take to the QEQM Hospital for an X-Ray. I went and had the X-Ray immediately. So far, very efficient and full marks to the NHS.

But I was then told that it will take between ten and 14 days for the X Ray result to be given to my GP; I should call then and make an appointment to see him again.

This is absolutely beyond my understanding. I have had the odd x-ray in my life, and the results have always been instantaneous, with a doctor telling me what happens next within an hour or two. I recall on occasion being handed the x-rays to hand carry to my GP.

In the meantime, I cannot walk. Am I meant simply to lie around on my arse until someone can bother to do something with the x-rays, which already have their physical existence? To my shame, I found myself asking my GP to refer me to a private hospital so I can pay someone to not just take x-rays, but look at them.

I just do not remember the NHS as being this awful. Have I gone crazy, is the NHS in a state of utter dereliction, or in moving to Thanet have I just come last in the postcode lottery? Any views from within the NHS would be especially welcome.

93 thoughts on “Forced into Private Health

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  • Carlos Johnson

    Don’t you wish you had employer-based insurance in the U.S., a system under which many tens of millions do not have such silly waiting periods?

  • mike cobley

    “Don’t you wish you had employer-based insurance in the U.S., a system under which many tens of millions do not have such silly waiting periods?”

    And what use would that be to self-employed writers?

    Craig, I moved from Glasgow to Irvine a few years ago, and while there is decent GP and local hospital coverage I did have cause to go and get my wrist X-rayed a few months ago and had the same experience, that I would have to contact my GP about 10 days later to find out the results. I think this is the result of the amalgamation of radiology departments so that instead of each hospital/clinic having an x-ray department now there is one x-ray centre serving several hospitals in a larger area. Its possible that although yr x-ray was taken on that day, it then went into a queue for development or whatever. Yes, it is shameful but then the advisors from KPMG and McKinsey who advised Blair/Brown (and are now whispering in Cameron’s lughole) dont give a damn about easing the suffering of the little people.

  • Mick S

    I fell foul of the 14 day wait for the X-Rays to reach my GP just recently. What was worse was that I went to the GP before that, on an unrelated manner, and they thought they’d check on the hospital system. They found that the X-Rays were there, but that the doctor didn’t have access to them. It took another 5 days for the hospital to release the X-Rays showing that there was no issue.

  • Sneekyboy

    I had back problems after a minor car accident and went to hospital the next day.

    They had me x-rayed and told the outcome within a few hours.

    But that was under NHS Scotland.

  • Kempe

    This is normal. The only way to get immediate results from an X-Ray is to take yourself off to A&E.

  • yoyoy

    Judging by the recent NHS TV series it really is being inundated with older patients, as well as those suffering from a myriad of diseases and conditions directly related to modern lifestyles and the quality of food in supermarkets.

  • Abe Rene

    Going to A&E sounds like the best bet if it’s actually hurting.

    A few decades ago I went to an A&E over an upset stomach. ‘Sit over there’, they said. I joined a group of waiters.

    After 40 minutes of waiting, I threw up. Then they moved fast! An injection in the rear end later, I was all right. I’m thankful that we have an NHS, even an imperfect one.

  • Indigo

    No personal experience or knowledge of the system (or lack of it) now operating in the South East but am reliably informed by my son – also living in Kent – that Thanet is rated by Kentish residents as the worst ever.

    It seems that you may be a victim of both a postcode lottery and the so-called reforms of what used to be an excellent health service.

    It is shameful.

  • crab

    NHS is overall beleaguered by political and legal demands. Some pockets manage to hold up ok and others are denigrated and disrupted into morbid chaos. Ive encountered medieval type wards of dying moaning untended patients understaffed by callously head/heartfucked nurses. I met a man who was riddled with chronic cancer being made to wait daily in a waiting room for a CT scan because the scan staff had taken exception to his frustrated complaints. My chronically ill relative went before him, i sympathised with his story while waiting but in my own daze did not help him.

    I had possibly the same acute pain heel years ago, it was an autoimmune symptom of inflamation of the connecting tendon. It went away after some months never to return to the heel, but moves around the other joints in my body, usually less painfuly than the heel. Prescription strength Voltarol (sodium diclofenac) is personally very effective for it, and personally shows no discernable side effects.

    My local surgery turns off its repeat prescription answerphone when the surgery doors close, including the half day on Wednesday.

  • Declan McDonough

    I think NHS cutbacks are to make things like this the norm. This will drive more people to private healthcare, making it easier for the eventual total dismantlement of the NHS.

  • JimmyGiro

    Was it not Enoch Powell, who advocated delivering speeches on a full bladder?

    Clearly pain aids the ‘immediacy’ of public speaking, as the clip above shows.

  • Jemand

    Forced into private health, indeed. With open borders, fluid migration, constant political pressure on reducing taxes, is it any wonder that service quality plummets and private service providers step up to supply those with money? I’d expect more of this to happen before the system finally breaks. At the end of the day, somebody has to pay the bills. Who should that be?

  • Flaming June

    Come on people. Just 12 views of that video of Craig speaking since I posted it at 2.24 pm on the previous thread.

    Bad luck Craig on your experiences of local NHS hospitals.

    The plan for the NHS since Thatcher in the 80s via Enthoven of the Rand destabilize, demoralize, destroy. This is what I said on your Thatcher thread in April.

    ‘She got this character over from the Rand Coporation in America to set the NHS privatisation project in motion, ie a private health insurance model. Cameron and Clegg are now completing it.

    Affordable health care and consumer choice: An interview with Professor Alain Enthoven’

    The link I gave no longer works. Strange that!

  • craig Post author


    Well, 172 people have watched it so far from this page. I have often noted Youtube’s counters are somewhat strange. Perhaps they don’t count embedded views like this one, only visits from the Youtube site?

  • fedup

    This lot of fucking carpetbaggers are out to destroy whatever B-liar could not. I was nearly killed by the incompetent fuckwits in the hospital I admitted to, was few weeks back, and my death murder would have been just another statistic. The fucking greedy bastards in the City and elsewhere, having exhausted their gambling kicks in the stock markets are now out to steal the rug from under our butts, and NHS is a nice little (huge in fact) earner to be taken over.

    Want an appointment with your GP how is about waiting a fortnight?

    Want an operation that will not leave you an invalid, or kill you, how is about going to the next reliable hospital in the next Major city?

    These current wnakers (our dear leaders) are keeping the Trident, but destroying every service that we the people are reliant on, and the stenographers in the medjia are too busy kowtowing to their proprietors and their sponsors to raise even the slightest of the relative facts.

  • John Goss

    You need to take something for the pain. If it is a soft-tissue injury it will take a long while. That’s not what you want to hear I know. I got one (knee) about eighteen months ago and it would not get better. Only when I went into hospital for my heart bypass where they kept me in for a month did it start to heal. It’s all right now. The trouble with all leg injuries is that the legs are weight-bearing limbs so they take a lot of strain. Rest is probably what you will be advised. Until you get a proper diagnosis take it easy. Elevate your leg.

    Disclaimer: this is not medical advice from a medical practitioner. But you could use the relaxation-time to work out how you can relieve Gulnara of a few of her millions.

  • MJ

    Craig: Kempe’s advice at 3.15 sounds good and practical. Get yourself down to A and E.

  • Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    Craig; John made the same connection I did. My knee flares up (inflammation) from time to time and I’ve found the best remedy is homemade.

    Garlic….. I know, (cough, cough) garlic; fresh garlic which I am fortunate enough to love. It must be as live as possible, but it must be live for the most part.

    It’s one the best anti-inflmmatorys/antibiotics. Mince it fine;add to salad, or whatever cooked food or sauce you wish. Just don’t completely cook through for max results.

  • Flaming June

    Good recommendation there John for rest if possible. Some painkillers are not advised for patients with cardiac problems, ie Ibuprofen and Diclofenac (Nirofen and Voltarol)

    For a change I had a rest today after walking the dog and mowing the grass. I listened to the excellent SSO playing Rachmaninov whilst sitting in the lovely sunshine and reading the LRB. It has good pieces by Patrick Cockburn on Syria and Runciman on Moore’s biography of Thatcher amongst other articles. I usually read the LRB online but subscribed recently. They have an offer on.

    Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No. 3
    Denis Kozhukin (piano),
    BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra,
    Donald Runnicles (conductor).

    Golijov: Last Round
    BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra,
    Joshua Weilerstein (conductor).

    The SSO are playing Britten live this evening.

  • crab

    “Perhaps they don’t count embedded views like this one, only visits from the Youtube site?”

    Ive read it explained that Youtube delays the view counter by days or even weeks to combat spam promotion.

  • Phil W

    The NHS is being deliberately but slowly broken by politicians in the pay of those who will benefit from the privatisation of health care.

    Problems with the NHS are publicised; reforms are called for; reforms are made, involving more marketisation and privatisation of functions; the reforms cause more problems; and the cycle repeats.

  • Flaming June

    Obama’s War on Whistle Blowers – The Trial of Bradley Manning
    by Dylan Murphy / June 3rd, 2013

    If you had free reign over classified networks… and you saw incredible things, awful things… things that belonged in the public domain, and not on some server stored in a dark room in Washington DC… what would you do?”

    God knows what happens now. Hopefully worldwide discussion, debates, and reforms… I want people to see the truth… because without information, you cannot make informed decisions as a public.

    — Quotes from an online chat attributed to Bradley Manning

  • Flaming June

    Jan 05, 2012

    Medical bills cause 62 percent of bankruptcies
    by Joan McCarter

    Medical Bankruptcy

    A study released Thursday [pdf] by the American Journal of Medicine finds a huge increase—nearly 20 percent—in medical bankruptcies between 2001 and 2007. Sixty-two percent of all bankruptcies filed in 2007 were tied to medical expenses. Three-quarters of those who filed for bankruptcies in 2007 had health insurance.
    Using a conservative definition, 62.1% of all bankruptcies in 2007 were medical; 92% of these medical debtors had medical debts over $5000, or 10% of pretax family income. The rest met criteria for medical bankruptcy because they had lost significant income due to illness or mortgaged a home to pay medical bills. Most medical debtors were well educated, owned homes, and had middle-class occupations. Three quarters had health insurance. Using identical definitions in 2001 and 2007, the share of bankruptcies attributable to medical problems rose by 49.6%. In logistic regression analysis controlling for demographic factors, the odds that a bankruptcy had a medical cause was 2.38-fold higher in 2007 than in 2001. […]


  • me in us

    Craig, I saw an earlier youtube of your speech and posted a transcript of it in a comment yesterday:

    (Also in that same thread, don’t know if saw this or if you’d be interested in 1771 diary entry but hoped you would:

    (And I wondered if Nuremberg is supposed to mean anything to anyone anymore – and how?

    Anyway, fyi, and best wishes for your health

  • Pif Paf

    Sounds like plantar fasciitis, Quite common, will get better but maybe not for a good few weeks. There, solved it for you, no need for an X-ray. 🙂

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