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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  • Pete

    Craig, you should see a good podiatrist (posh word for a chiropodist), one who knows about biomechanics- if you know any sporty types locally ask them who they’d go to for their sports injuries. Most pods don’t know about biomech, but the ones who do, know a lot. As others have said, plantar fasciitis (fash-ee-eye-tis) is the commonest cause of heel pain, but there are other causes, so its best to get a hands-on diagnosis, it requires a bit of poking and prodding which can’t yet be done online!

  • Cryptonym

    Youtube = Google = NSA = Mossad = Evil

    You do realise by having youtube video links, everyone landing on your homepage pulls content from them, receives cookies and leaves a record (IP address, browser identifier and version, plugins installed, features enabled, referer link etc.) on their servers of when and who visits here.

    No sooner than the last blog post containing a youtube video gets bumped off the front page, a new one appears, there are three at present, presenting a unique combination that alone identifies (to them) hits resulting from visitors to this site. A record stored, kept forever which combined with ISP records identifies every one of us now or in the future.

    Better just having a link to the video than embedding it from a privacy p-o-v.

    That is why I prefer the video transcripts; google and youtube =



    Then there are very many websites and blogs, including many supposedly ‘alternative’ that are hosted in address space belonging to google, or pull content from or leave calling cards with google, and requirements for library code hosted by google servers.

    A many tentacled octopus which, for the good of the web, we have to find ways to do without.

    Sorry to hear you’re ill and/or in pain, there’s a lot of it about.

  • greenmachine

    The posters who point to the delibrate privatisation of NHS services are absolutely correct. The norm in next 2 yrs will be Craig’s experience in Thanet. A friend is very senior in NHS and told me some time ago that the report in Feb on Mid-staffs should have been about inadequate, dangerously low staffing levels across the NHS BUT will be about the disgraceful nurses and their lack of care – boy was he spot -on! Must sign -off and get my wife her dinner; she has just come in from work as NHS nurse shoud have finished her shift at 4pm but so many acutes she had to stay til 7.15pm! Common pattern in recent months. Shameful, back-handed privatisation to benefit the few yet again – when will we learn that the politicos are not to be trusted with anything?

  • technicolour

    “the report in Feb on Mid-staffs should have been about inadequate, dangerously low staffing levels across the NHS BUT will be about the disgraceful nurses and their lack of care”

    thanks Greenmachine – and to your wife.

  • Moniker

    I spent 4 hours talking to an ambulance paramedic crew recently about the state of the NHS. They were a team that had been borrowed from another town due to a staffing crisis and were needed out on the streets (that’s why our town had most urgently borrowed them). But they were hanging out in a corridor talking to me about the state of the NHS. Reason? They bring in people who are supposedly in need of urgent medical attention (the person I’d come in with certainly was) and then they can’t leave until the hospital checks that person in and takes a report from said paramedics. Hospital couldn’t manage it. Paramedics stayed in corridor, stressing and obsessing – and waiting.

  • fedup

    as NHS nurse shoud have finished her shift

    If she is anything like the four nurses who affected my quality of life for the better in the worst possible juncture of my illness, my heartfelt thanks to her, and tell her, we the patients appreciate her and the other nurses, and we discern the leaches and hyaenas that are bent on stealing yet another public asset; the NHS.

  • Techno

    I would like to comment on this but I know from previous experience that I will be told that I am part of some hidden, sinister agenda to privatise the NHS, or that I am a paid shill for a medical company.

    So I won’t bother.

  • Flaming June

    Me In Us Thanks for the transcript and for the link to the video on the UN condemns Uk thread. I put up the same link yesterday on the Suppressed by the BBC thread without seeing your earlier link.

  • Aidworker1

    Craig – really good speech and sorry to hear your news.

    Get well soon!

  • Vronsky

    Plantar Fasciitis sprang to mind for me too. Try stretching your achilles tendon (place your foot flat on the ground and lean as far forward as you can with your knee straight). If that relieves it, then that’s what it is.

  • NHS experience

    Went to see the GP and was sent off for an X Ray, but instead of being sent to the hospital I was sent to a private clinic. The private clinic had an old fashioned X ray machine, which had broken down. A few days later it was working and I had the X ray done, but it never turned up at the GP’s. Fortunately, when I saw an NHS consultant he was able to arrange for the hospital to take an x ray and within 30 min it was done and I had received the consultant about that x ray. I could not but conclude that the GP practice had become something of a business, whereas at the hospital there was still a focus on treatment.

  • Giles

    Techno @9:04 pm.

    Yup, I’ve had that treatment. After saying I work in conservation and expressing sceptical views about man-made climate change, I was informed by commenter “Komodo” that my real job is to “greenwash” for big oil and multinational corporations! They always imagine the worst of motives in their opponents.

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    @ Technicolour and Giles:

    You’re lucky that they didn’t call you Zionist trolls, taking the Israeli shekel.

    Or perhaps I wasn’t paying attention and they have.


    La vita è bella, life is good! (ask to be paid in Shekels)

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    @ Technicolour:

    actually I would like to read what you have to say.

  • Giles

    I think you mean Techno! Technicolour is one of those for whom to complain about a delayed operation or poor treatment by staff is to support the breaking up of the NHS and wholesale flogging to Tory billionaires in the Cayman Islands!!!

  • N_

    They’re a bunch of quacks. It’s deceitful of them even to call themselves ‘doctors’, because hardly any of them are qualified to that level. They get away with it because ‘doctor’ is an unprotected term. Scratch about and you will find that everything from local hospital prescribing policy and policy on using this or that equipment, to the way GPs’ surgeries are managed, is determined by pharmaceutical companies (e.g. Bayer, Glaxo SmithKline) and equipment suppliers.

    Most other countries don’t have waiting lists. You get an appointment when it’s decided you need something. Most people in Britain are indoctrinated to thinking that waiting lists are natural. It’s an amazingly deferential system.

    Medics also routinely say people can jump NHS queues by e.g. seeing the same medic privately who will then refer them back to the NHS. In any other country, almost everyone would recognise that for what it is: BRIBERY.

    Craig – I don’t know what’s wrong with your heel, but have you got swelling? (Or oedema, to call it by the name given to it by those great Latin scholars who fucked about at medical school with stethoscopes around their necks, when they weren’t doing stuff like injecting their veins with pure ethanol.)

    If so, try dandelion tea. (Not joking.)

  • N_

    And dentists! Don’t get me started! One of those crooks told my wife, an NHS patient, the other day, that she could only get what she really needed by going private. Guess what, that’s against NHS rules for them to say that. They have to tell you what you need, in writing, and you are entitled to get it all on the NHS, for a maximum price. Work such as root canal work counts as band 2. Maximum charge, £49. No matter whether you need it on 1 tooth or 10. Bridges and orthdontal work take you into band 3.

    Repeat: 10 teeth requiring root canal work, maximum price, £49.

    How many of the swine ever tell anyone that?

    Fucking money-grabbing liars, the lot of them.

  • lysias

    Isn’t France supposed to have a great public health system? It should be easy to dash over there from Kent.

  • Indigo


    After 23 years in France I’m fed up telling people that this just isn’t true; so this is one comment that I can make without prefacing it with, “I can’t pretend to know much about …” etc.

    I could go into so much detail … so many cock-ups … so much poor medical training … but one example should suffice; a husband diagnosed (by GP and specialist without ordering any x-rays or other technical diagnostic supports) with asthma at the age of 70 when he had no history of the illness. He was sent home with prescriptions for Ventolin.

    He had a stage IV cancer.

  • crab

    My close relative – 3 uncharacteristic visits to GP in 1.5 years for an odd pain in the hip -sent home with a never “worry each” each time. Finally a chiropracter had a go at it and made it unbearable > A&E.. x-ray.. biopsy.. stage 3 Cancer.

  • daniel

    Best and cheapest place for dental work is Hungary. It was cheaper for me to have spent a few days in the beautiful city of Pesc then visit a UK dentist for similar treatment.

  • Tony0pmoc


    Your foot problem could just be gout, which is caused by a build up of urea. Ensure you drink sufficient water, such that your urine never gets strong and is pretty clear. Do lots of exercise – I know this is very difficult when you can’t walk – but you might be able to ride a push bike. Lose half a stone in weight. Cut down on rich foods that cause it – do a google search. Alcohol, seems reasonably O.K., but not if it comes as wine, port or heavy beer. Decent filtered lager might even clear it up, if you dance around a lot.

    It can come on very quickly, but it is often possible to get rid of it quickly by lots of exercise and lots of water.

    I get it occasionally, usually around Christmas, or when I forget to drink at least 2 or 3 pints of water and my pee gets too strong – or I put on too much weight.

    Your doctor can prescribe drugs for gout, but you are probably already on enough of those – and some of them may have brought it on, if that is what it is.


  • John Robertson

    Something in the UK water?? While on a holiday to the UK (mainly Scotland) a few years back, I experienced similar heel pain Craig.A visit to a Podiatrist for treatment when I returned to Oz fixed the problem. Mainly having the tootsies taped rather firmly did the job and kept it at bay.The pain was not at all funny
    and you have my sympathy, get well quickly. Better still come and live down here, the politicians haven’t wrecked our health system….yet, but they are working on it.

  • lwtc247

    I am very suspicious person. Unfortunately, experience has given me very good reason to be.

    On reading it would take 10-14 days for your GP to get the X-ray, the suspicion that the NHS is deliberately being made inefficient (hence sowing the seeds of it’s own deconstruction – to be sold off to private companies of course!) came instantly to mind.

    Sorry that you’ve experiencing various bouts of health problems. I really hope you get better soon. Don’t worry, I’m sure everyone fully understands you have to do what you think is best for your health.

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    @ Giles :

    Yes, of course I meant Techno and not Technicolour. Thanks!

  • Horace Swanson

    French dentist sent me to hospital for an x-ray just the other day. Ten minute wait in reception, give my details, go downstairs, five minute wait, x-ray, five minute wait, large brown envelope to take away and give to the dentist.

  • Horace Swanson


    What about embedded video from other sites – dailymotion etc?

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