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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  • Abe Rene

    I was in Ramsgate a few weeks ago, and Boots in Queen St (or is it King St, somewhere around there, anyway) may have good foot supports that you can put inside your shoes. I’ve used them sometimes.

    The view of the harbour and walking on top of the cliff or the harbour wall might also be therapeutic for, um, some part or another, says this ignorant non-medic.

  • Komodo

    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.

    And “they”‘re right most of the time.

  • Villager

    Craig, you need to immediately stop all milk products, especially cheese and yoghurt which are fermented. Take the minimum amount of milk in your tea, etc.

    You have a build up of toxins in your body which needs to stop and then eliminate. Stop all fermented and sour foods, e.g. vinegars, wine, citrus fruits, even sour apples and grapes, etc. All of the above will only enhance your pain.

    I would be surprised if your digestive system is not affected — in fact it is probably the root cause, generating an accumulation of toxins in your body which in turn are attacking you from inside.

    Sip plenty of warm water THROUGHOUT the day — minimum of 2 or 3 litres. This will aid flushing out the toxins.

    Swimming is a great exercise — low impact — and will help burn away the toxins and increase your metabolism and balance your digestion and whole body.

    More later, but it seems you need to listen to your body first before listening to your unhealthy doctors — they are only going to give you more chemicals for the ailing body part. They even forget you are a collection of body parts, i.e. a WHOLE human being. Think holistic.

  • Villager

    Agree with Tony it could be gout but disagree that alcohol is ok. Its fermented, highly acidic and so not ok. First sensible post i’ve seen from him though.

  • Sue J

    Hi Craig, my son recently had plantar fasciitis, which does eventually go of its own accord. But we went to Boots and asked the pharmacist’s advice and he sold me some gel pads which you put in your shoe (for both feet even though the pain is only in one). I think they were made by Scholl and cost about £24 – but they worked!! My son was able to walk without pain, and in doing so, stopped him from walking awkwardly and causing more pain. It’s got to be worth a try!

  • Flaming June

    Some of the anti NHS comments are probably constructive.

    The machine will be ready to stick the poison in especially a blog as active and as important as Craig’s. Any successes? Any demonstrations of compassion or care well beyond duty like the nurse who comes home three hours late?

    My experience as a NHS worker and latterly as a patient in the local general hospital is the complete opposite to some here. I saw the dedication, the compassion and care and the willingness to go the extra mile at close hand especially when there was an emergency for a sick child or adult admitted to A&E.

    I read this morning that Wetherspoons have been given permission to open a dining pub at a junction of the M40. YCNMIU.

    JD Wetherspoon to open first motorway pub on M40

    I wrote to a relative who lives in the area saying that I hoped Wycombe General Hospital and other hospitals along the route were geared up for an increase in emergency admissions from the probable accidents ensuing, as well as the other emergency services. The relative said that I was behind the times as the A&E was closed at Wycombe and patients now go to Stoke Mandeville. That is 30 mins distant by road for residents of a town with a population of 120,000+.

    Services at Stoke Mandeville are failing.

    Fight for the NHS. ‘Don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone’ as the song says.

    Remember the plan is to Destabilize, Demoralize, Disintegrate.

  • Flaming June

    It’s been good to see the trolls expressing commiserations to Craig for his pain and ailment and for their support for Bradley Manning. NOT.

  • evgueni

    Diclofenac warning – read the side effects blurb, it is in rare cases associated with heart failure. If I were Craig I would stay away.

  • Dreoilin

    The only painkiller that doesn’t affect my heart (angina or arrhythmia) is Solpadeine. It makes my head woozy, and I don’t like that, but at least it seems to leave my heart alone.

  • CanSpeccy

    So the statists and lib-lefties, the Camerloonatics and Europhiles, intent on trashing England’s Christian moral tradition and her heritage of art, music, science, literature and law, the creation of generations of dead white males, while celebrating the wonders of the new and better, multiculti, multi-racial, PC Cool Britannia, the national health service, now find that this colossus of post-modern enlightenment is a bureaucratic basket case of waste, incompetence, and the cause of endless suffering.

    It would be funny if it were not a catastrophe.

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    @ Mary/April Showers/Flaming June :

    “It’s been good to see the trolls expressing commiserations to Craig…”

    The last time I did so you were quick to accuse me of hypocrisy, you….


    La vita è bella, life is good!

  • Cryptonym

    @ Horace Swanson (4 Jun, 2013 – 6:36 am)

    I don’t know anything about that site you mentioned. None are the in same league as google/youtube, which entered the discussion, for the sheer volume of the data they harvest and its potential to mine and infer from that data, much about us, from their own sites but also unwittingly (to users) of many other sites where something or another rings google’s doorbell. It is staggering monopoly which has insinuated itself into almost every corner of the web in an opaque manner, a monopoly which must be countered not least for its deep ties with the US secret state agencies. The privacy implications are too ugly to behold.

  • N_

    @Flaming June – if you think you’ve spotted any “anti-NHS” posts here, you ought to adjust your attitude, fast.

    The main point of view that has the potential to get to the heart of the matter is the point of view of patients and their families, not the point of view of staff.

    Staff’s point of view is welcome only if it gets to grip with the real conflict here, which is between patients and medical bosses of various kinds, whose job is basically for Big Pharma (not forgetting medical equipment suppliers – ever wondered why pregnant women are told to have multiple scans?)

    There must be loads of issues on which staff can spill the beans and gang up with patients. Go for it.

    Any identification by staff of their oen interests with their bosses interests must be ruthlessly denounced as the idiocy that it is. Frankly you might as well be a Pinkerton. The hell with ‘professionalism’ of all descriptions. It craps on you, and it craps on the rest of us. If you believe in that rubbish, you’re letting yourself be conned.

    I doubt you’ll get what I’m saying. Staff are encouraged to view patients as a fucking nuisance. Yes, yes, I know there’s a “care” thing, and a “go the extra mile” thing. It’s schizoid. A lot of culture is. Surface contradicts what’s underneath. Get it?

    A child in my family was taken to A&E, and was made to wait 2 hours in a room away from the main room, while 4 staff stood playing with a computer, not even looking at her.

    The so-called “doctor” came along just before it was time for the child to go, and had problems speaking English comprehensibly (and if anyone calls me a racist for saying that, they can shut up – it’s a real problem), and her sole (very well-paid) contribution was to read a few points off a card.

    They also handed the parents a card which had an advert for a solicitor on the back of it. A bit of probing unearthed the fact that the solicitor had agreed not to take any cases against the hospital, and to inform the hospital managers when anyone started sounding off about the standard of care they received there or asking for legal advice about pursuing anything in relation to the hospital.

    Oh and they sold bottled water in the waiting-room. People wait for bloody hours on end, and the great altruistic hospital managers won’t even let them have a fucking drink of water unless they hand over money.

    Of course the sale of water was all dressed up as ‘helping charity’.

    All the nurses who can’t stomach this kind of stuff, leave. Their managers want people who can’t stomach it to leave. Same with school-teachers. Same with police officers.

    When the stitches were taken out, the nurse just moaned the whole time, because the patient was from a different area of the country. She had no care whatsoever for how the child might be feeling.

    If you want to help make things better, one thing I’d like to hear the inside track on is how patients get transferred back and forth between hospitals, in order that waiting-list times can be artificially reduced. Another is how they ask for dates between which you won’t be able to have an operation, and then they give you an appointment for a day between those dates, again so as to pretend waiting times are shorter than they are. Sometimes, like a lot of scams, this probably happens without the patient even knowing anything about it.

  • Horace Swanson


    Yes, I get your point, I was just wondering if people posting videos of Craig, for example, would do better to post them elsewhere than on Youtube

  • N_

    @Flaming June – just to clarify: CanSpeccy does seem to be anti-NHS, but he posted after you, not before.

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    @ N_ :

    “@Flaming June – if you think you’ve spotted any “anti-NHS” posts here, you ought to adjust your attitude, fast.”

    Don’t hold your breath.

    More seriously, though : you seem (to quote, or perhaps mis-quote someone whose name escapes me momentarily)to be saying that every profession is a conspiraacy against the laity?

  • Villager

    Flaming June
    4 Jun, 2013 – 12:26 pm
    “It’s been good to see the trolls expressing commiserations to Craig for his pain and ailment….”

    Mary, i like to see things as they are, not as what they could or should be. Habbakuk is right, the last time he did comment on Craig’s wellness you did make some remark. Your own commiseration was several posts deep after your having remarked on other o/t subjects. Which is fine but what do you propose to gain from raking it up?

  • sarah

    Gps will ‘soon’ have access to the xrays themselves so they can look at them and take any necessary action while awaiting a formal rediologist report. Now how ‘soon’ this might happen is anyones’s guess…

  • Flaming June

    Villager I do not have to justify myself. The RI is a hypocrite, acknowledges that he is a troll by replying to that post, continues to name me specifically and takes pot shots. I have a list as long as my arm of unpleasant names that I have been called. He did not come to this blog with fellow feeling. He came to disrupt and divert and seems to be succeeding when he is engaged in conversations.

    N_ You seem to be very embittered about the NHS. Everyone speaks as they find of course. There were several comments that indicated non support of the NHS. Go private. Go to France.

    There is great urgency which most people reject. When OUR NHS is dismantled then there will be much weeping and gnashing of teeth -Old Testament style. When a family member needs urgent surgery or there is a stroke it is possible there will be no bed and indeed no hospital.

    Already the politicos have reduced bed numbers by 30% in the last two decades. So one learns that people with acute mental illness are being sent long distances to private clinics when in fact they should be near their friends and loved ones.

    You will hear the mantra (repeated again on World at One yesterday by Dr Dan Poulter, Health Minister) of the aim to treat more people in their homes with an ‘integrated social and health care system’. The fact is that district nurses have lost 40% of their number in recent years. Social services are under pressure, some of the service partly privatised.

    All of this is being accompanied by the current propaganda which portrays the NHS as dangerous. The increase in the number of patients lying in A&E for more than 4 hours has risen from 5% to 5.9%.

    Who is going to become a doctor or nurse in the current climate now?

    I will value and love the NHS to my dying day.8

    PS Any comments of support for Bradley Manning from the trolls as I also enquired?

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    A very revealing post from April Showers at 08h01 this morning.

    Let us look at a couple of her complaints:

    1/. “The RI is a hypocrite, acknowledges that he is a troll by replying to that post,…”

    Puzzling logic here : if I reply to a post which calls me a troll, that makes me a troll. So, if I called April Showers an obsessive and she replied (eg to deny it), that would ‘prove’ that she is indeed an obssesive?

    2/. “..and takes pot shots.”

    That is an idiosyncratic description. See also point 4 below.

    3/. “He did not come to this blog with fellow feeling.”

    Firstly, you do not know why I came to this blog. Secondly, I had not realised that ‘fellow feeling’ was an entry requirement for any blog. When you think about it, if everyone started off with the same opinions and premisses, what would be the point of the blog other than to just assure contributors that everyone else thought in the same way?

    4/. “He came to disrupt and divert and seems to be succeeding when he is engaged in conversations”

    Perhaps the most revealing sentence of all, coming as it does after another contributor was kind enough to address some complimentary words to me. The sentence seems to exude a sense of disappointment that I should contribute to this blog in any other way than by ‘taking potshots’. And a sense of “damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t”, in that if I take ‘potshots’ I’m a troll whose aim is to disrupt and divert and it I engage in discussion I succeed in diverting and disrupting. Not very consistent, surely?


    La vita è bella, life is good! (beware of false prophets)

  • Flaming June

    What our Presidents tell our Young People
    Anti-Empire Report

    by William Blum / June 5th, 2013

    ‘In this season of college graduations, let us pause to remember the stirring words of America’s beloved scholar, George W. Bush, speaking in Florida in 2007 at the commencement exercises of Miami Dade College: “In Havana and other Cuban cities, there are people just like you who are attending school, and dreaming of a better life. Unfortunately those dreams are stifled by a cruel dictatorship that denies all freedom in the name of a dark and discredited ideology.”1

    How I wish I had been in the audience. I would have stood up and shouted: “In Cuba all education is completely free. But most of the young people sitting here today will be chained to a large, crippling debt for much of the rest of their life!”

    As the security guards came for me I’d yell: “And no one in Cuba is forced to join the military to qualify for college financial aid, like Bradley Manning was forced!”

    As they grabbed me I’d manage to add: “And Congress has even passed a law prohibiting students from declaring bankruptcy to get rid of their debt!”

    And as I was being dragged away, with an arm around my neck, I’d squeeze out my last words: “Do you know that $36 billion in student debt belongs to Americans who are 60 or older? … (choke, gasp) … and that students have committed suicide because of their debt?”

    I don’t know if Professor Bush would have found any words within his intellect to respond with, but the last words I’d hear from the students, as the handcuffs were being tightened, would be: “If you don’t like it here, why dontya move to Cuba?”

    Bad enough they have to pay highway-robbery tuition, but they wind up brainwashed anyhow.

    Let us now turn to the current president. Here he is at the May 19 graduation ceremony at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Martin Luther King’s alma mater:

    I know that when I am on my deathbed someday, I will not be thinking about any particular legislation I passed; I will not be thinking about a policy I promoted; I will not be thinking about the speech I gave, I will not be thinking the Nobel Prize I received. I will be thinking about that walk I took with my daughters. I’ll be thinking about a lazy afternoon with my wife. I’ll be thinking about sitting around the dinner table and seeing them happy and healthy and knowing that they were loved. And I’ll be thinking about whether I did right by all of them.

    And I, like Woody Allen’s Zelig, would have shown up at this graduation as well, and I would have shouted out: “What about the family sitting happy and healthy around the dinner table in Pakistan or Afghanistan, and a missile – your missile – comes screaming through the roof, reducing the precious family to bones and blood and dust. What about the nice happy and healthy families in Yemen and Iraq and Somalia, Pakistan and Libya whom you’ve droned and missled to death? Why haven’t you returned the Nobel Prize? In case you’ve forgotten, it was a PEACE prize!”

    Oh, that taser does hurt! Please contribute to my bail fund.’

    This is the first part of William Blum’s latest Anti-Empire Report. He continues with sections on Pipelineistan and the sanctions on Iran.


  • Flaming June

    Sarah Montague, one of the presenters on the flagship BBC Radio 4 Today programme, and who tends to deal with the interviews and debates on the topic of health on the programme, is chairing this 3 day conference for the NHS Confederation and will be paid.

    She should not be taking this work which creates a conflict of interest which she should declare. She cannot maintain impartiality when working on Today.
    5 – 7 June 2013
    Liverpool ACC

    Conference welcome

    5 June, 12:30 – 12:40 | Main stage

    Michael O’Higgins
    Chairman – NHS Confederation
    Sarah Montague
    Journalist and broadcaster – BBC Radio 4 Today programme

    NHS Confederation Chairman Michael O’Higgins will welcome delegates, followed by BBC journalist Sarah Montague, who will chair the conference.

  • Leonard Young

    It’s all about systems. Boring maybe to discuss, but utterly wasteful. How can it possibly take more than a few hours to take a photograph (x-ray) then look at it and then make a simple phone call? The answer is simple: at each stage of any contemporary organisation there are layers upon layers of defensive protocols. Each layer is headed by a suit or jobs-worth who has to proceed with corporate caution, following all the “procedures”, filling in the forms, entering details on the database, writing emails, sending memos. The whole system is worse than triplicate carbon copies under colonial India in the 1920s.

    It is too much for a doctor to simply look at a photograph of a heal then send a quick text or make a 1 minute phone call. And of course, built into all these systems are DELIBERATE delays in order to create excuses for inherent inefficiency. The referral system has at its heart a palpable and hugely cumbersome bureaucracy that is specifically designed to delay meeting patients head on. Behind this is an enormous backlog of patients who are relied upon to be obediently compliant in conforming to unacceptable delays about which THEY are made to feel guilty, not NHS staff. I’ve no doubt Craig, that you were made to feel guilty for even questioning why your results were not forthcoming.

    It is terribly sad that the private option is more efficient and I wish it were not so. Perhaps behind much of this is an increasingly litigation-crazed public who force the NHS into defensive and therefore slow mechanisms for even the most simple diagnosis or treatment.

    We need to abandon the centralised, inefficient hospitals and re-instate practical and self contained small health care centres which do not involve ludicrous delays for a simple x ray and outcome. There is no doubt that if you are over 60 years old, you are largely on your own unless you are a dire emergency.

    And all the seeds were sown by New Labour, and continue under the Tories. By the way Craig, I doubt very much whether you will see better treatment in Scotland, independent or not.

  • Flaming June

    At the regional district hospital where I worked, digitised diagnostic scanning was introduced several years ago. A patient attending A&E or the Fracture Clinic would have the X ray taken in Radiology (or a CT or MRI scan), and then return to the department where the doctor could view the images and take the appropriate action. A typed report from the radiologists would follow in due course. The system is called PACS.

    If Craig had plantar fasciitis an X ray would not be needed. It can be diagnosed easily by examination and taking a history etc.

  • OldMark

    ‘And of course, built into all these systems are DELIBERATE delays in order to create excuses for inherent inefficiency. The referral system has at its heart a palpable and hugely cumbersome bureaucracy that is specifically designed to delay meeting patients head on.’

    Spot on there Leonard. Occupational health at my workplace diagnosed a frozen shoulder 10 weeks ago during a ‘workstation asessment’. After 3 GP visits, and a pointless but painful cortisone injection, I’ve received confirmation of an appointment for an ultrasound scan at the local hospital at the end of this month. I ‘m advised the results won’t arrive with my GP for another 14 days, and only thereafter will effective treatment (the standard ones are either surgery, or manipulation under anaesthetic)be authorised- but if I’m unlucky I’ll be referred over for a more expensive MRI scan, which will add further to the delay.

    The NHS may thus eventually get round to treating me properly (optimistically)around 4 months after the condition was reliably diagnosed by a paramedic attached to my employer. I’m lucky this condition isn’t ‘life threatening’.

    My brother had the same condition a couple of years back- and was given the same runaround by the same NHS Trust.

  • Q

    Definitely sounds like plantar fasciitis. You’ll probably get a requisition for orthotics, and possibly a prescription for anti-inflammatories/anti-inflammatory skin cream. Meanwhile, start rolling your foot on a tennis ball to stretch out the tendons. Also flex your heel several times before you get out of bed in the morning. I would suggest laser pain treatment for soft tissue injuries, but don’t know if you have it there. Sorry to take so long to respond, but even those of us with internet doctorin’ degrees are busy folks! 😉

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