More NHS Awfulness

by craig on June 13, 2013 4:22 pm in Life

It s rather humiliating to reveal so much of my personal medical history in order to expose the absolutely dreadful operation of the NHS in Thanet – and this blog is in danger of looking like a medical soap opera sometimes.  But as I continue to try to navigate myself through the system with utter disbelief at how awful it is. I thought I would keep you posted.

Like all the best soap operas, here is an update.  I am still in my 31 week wait to see a cardiologist.  In the meantime, and unrelated, I find I cannot walk for more than a hundred meters without agonising pain.  This turns out to be due to spur of bone growing out from the base of my heel.  On 6 June I went to see the GP to be told this, and also that it would take about 15 weeks to see a consultant.  When I pointed out I could not walk, the GP told me I could walk, it was merely a pain management issue (though I find it hard to believe this much pain can be caused if no damage is being done).

Anyway, I found I had a stark choice between being housebound for months, and opting for private treatment, and shamefacedly I opted for the latter, and asked the doctor for a private referral to the Chaucer Hospital, which he agreed to do.  Apparently in the UK you cannot see a specialist, even privately, without a referral from your General Practitioner.  I struggle to see the benefit in that peculiar restriction.

Having not heard anything for a week, I today contacted the Chaucer Hospital, who checked and said they had received no referral from my GP.  So I contacted my GP’s surgery, who said that the letter of referral had not been sent yet as it was “still working its way through the system” and it was “only a week” since I had seen the GP.  I pointed out that a week was a long time to someone who can hardly walk and is in great pain with a readily treatable condition.  I asked them if they might fax the letter of referral to a fax number the Chaucer Hospital had given me.

It was plain from the long silence that ensued that this was viewed as a grossly impertinent request.  They would have to consult the practice manager.  Finally came the answer – they would not fax the letter, but if I waited 24 hours they would print out a copy which I could collect and fax myself….

Which would be simple if a) I could walk and b) I possessed a fax machine.   On Sunday I have to go off to Africa which is not going to be easy.

Tweet this post


  1. Scan it and send by E-Mail?

  2. I believe you are particularly unluky. My GP practice (somewhere in Hertfordshire) is good, the referrals (to near NHS hospitals) prompt, the treatment, so far, timely.

  3. That’s awful, I really sympathise. I don’t think you should say ‘shamefacedly’ – you were in agony and the NHS couldn’t sort it for 15 weeks. Anyone who could afford it would do the same, no matter what misgivings they felt. I would. And I would regard it as evidence that the system had failed, not that I had.

  4. Craig, I believe any doctor can refer you, it needn’t be your GP. If you have any other doctor acquaintances perhaps they could help. Absent that if you call the appointments line of the specific GP at the hospital, they may be sympathetic and book your appointment on the understanding the referral is on its way.

  5. I guess someone has to splurge their medical details all over the internet. The vast majority of the life-bending problems our health system is causing go unreported because people don’t like to “go public” with their details.

  6. I am sorry to read about your painful affliction, and I hope you will somehow get well soon. However, the policies of successive neo-con/liberal/labour governments have been to liberate NHS from our ownership and hand it over to its rightful owners: the rich, and the filthy rich. It should come as no surprise that the GPs under the contracts awarded by the last lot of scoundrels have become accustomed to lots of paperwork, practice management, and less concerned with their primary duty: taking care of the sick, and infirm.

    Clearly, the paper work is so much that the retrieval, and annotation of a standard letter is far too onerous of a task to fulfil, that you as a patient have no idea about it. Also the additional cost of someone standing next to a fax machine and pushing a few buttons, to send the said letter, along with the cost of the call itself are far too much for the practice managers to consider entertaining your expensive request!

    You have not understood the concept of “pain management issue” at all. This means you suffer the pain, and your GP gets on with managing! The sad fact is with every scheme for improvement and efficiency somehow we the public get the shaft even more.

  7. michael williams

    13 Jun, 2013 - 5:28 pm

    Hi Craig
    It would seem you have Plantar fasciitis. I have had this for a number of years although i have it under control

    I would imagine the GP has already prescribed NSAIDS (e.g. ibuprofen or dilofenac) to reduce pain and inflammation. The problem is however that this condition is mainly a mechanical problem with the foot not aligned correctly and you therefore put strain on the ligament joining the heel to the forefoot.

    Therefore to correct this you probably need an orthotic to align the foot. I spent £600 on a privately made orthotic however I found the orthotic from orthaheel was superior and it only cost £30 or so from Boots the chemist or online at

    This orthotic reduced the pain in days and took about 4 months for the pain to subside. I still wear orthaheel with Dr Martins shoes all the time now and have no problems.

    In addition to the orthotic you may need to do some special foot exercises, therefore before you see a private doctor you easily book into podiatrist who specializes in mechanical problems of the foot and he/she would advise you.

    If you do see a private doctor be careful as a common treatment for this condition is steroid injections or an operation. If the doctor proposes a steroid injection check the doctors past history and how many times he has done this as this injection must be done right and if he injects in the wrong space this can result in serious side effects.

    Finally I would try the orthotic first as you have nothing to lose and there are no side effects with this. Good luck.

  8. I muss confess I find your story just unbelievable…

  9. Much sympathy.

    Are you by any chance taking simvastatin, amlopidine, or both, or similar? I got crippling heel pain till I stopped. When it went away completely. Have a quick scan and google around any other medicines you are on and their possible side effects. Might even save you a visit to the specialist!

  10. Thanks to the existence of two systems, private and public, all referrals have to be ‘scrutinized’ and logged, in order to counter collusions between the two.

    For example, an NHS GP could make lots of lucrative referrals from his batch of welfare clients, to his golfing buddies in a private clinic, and the Doctors then share the loot from public funding and private pricing.

    Since private enterprise is part of a free society, the solution to the above type of problem would be to abolish the NHS, and make welfare medicine a means tested voucher system.

  11. Re going private: Worse still, like a friend of mine who decided to choose ‘free’ private treatment as an alternative for a pretty serious operation, after the op, she discovered that the vital post-op treatment at the private clinic was not free and because she’d ‘chosen’ private she couldn’t go back to the NHS!

    LIke you Craig, I’m also on statins and until I took charge of my own level of dosage (through trial and error) I had terrible muscle pains that came and went pretty much at random.

    I’m now on the smallest dose (short of chopping them in half), 10mg. I ascertained that the difference in the levels of cholesterol between 40, 20 and finally my 10mg was so tiny (i.e. from 3.9 to 4.1) that it taking a 40mg was pointless. Even my gp agreed (finally) but it was a struggle. Unless you’re an MD they think you’re an idiot!

  12. Can Nadira collect the letter?

  13. Im sorry for the pain youre suffering Craig,may it pass quickly.

    But i have to ask: as much as we all know youre a stoic and dogged old bugger why on earth are you going to Africa whilst in such pain?Even the walk from the check in to the plane sounds very painful never mind the fulk trip with luggage etc?

    Sounds like you need a proper rest for this to heal or you may end up seriously exacerbaring the problem and risking long term complicstions.

  14. Jimmy Giro is right – the money needs to come with the Patient, not get steered around by a central planning bureaucracy.

  15. sometimes I think that doctors and surgeons are paid way too much. This kind of offhand, disdainful treatment meted out to a patient who is in pain signifies that an elitist ethos is at work at that GP clinic. This may only get worse as GP units become further embedded in private sector market mechanisms.

  16. I cannot tolerate the side effects of most statins, but I am able to tolerate pravastatin (Pravachol). No muscle pains, no abdominal pains.

  17. Come back to Scotland, Craig. We still have an NHS and referrals from GPs to specialists (NHS or Private) are processed electronically, generally within a day. Waiting times are exponentially lower as well.

  18. Sorry to hear this news, Craig. Their refusal to fax the referral letter is unbelievable.

    But as Jives said, it doesn’t seem like a very good idea to go to Africa right now. Can you not put that business off?

  19. In meantime Craig, think about using a knee scooter. They can rented.

  20. “Come back to Scotland, Craig. We still have an NHS and referrals from GPs to specialists (NHS or Private) are processed electronically, generally within a day. Waiting times are exponentially lower as well.”

    When I had a paralysed finger it was around nine months before I got a phone call from Raigmore to tell me I had an appointment for tests. I explained it had got better on it’s own months before.

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

    13 Jun, 2013 - 9:46 pm

    What is the solution? Obama didn’t even want single-payer, or he didn’t want it enough to fight for it. Did he soften his negotiation position because he had a conversation?

    “Cameron; why are you pushing ‘private’ so much on NHS?

    Someone; Please explain why single-payer has denigrated? Siphoning funds? Poor infrastructure design? What?

  22. Hope you get better soon, Craig.

  23. Mike,

    Thanks, but it turns out its not plantar thingy, its a calciferous spur (or something). Basically I’ve got in effect a nail sticking out of my heel into my flesh every time I stand on it.

  24. I doubt that Craig has plantar fasciitis. I had that and it involves an inflammation (or some disorder) of the lamina-like structures (hence fascia) along the length of part of the underside of the foot. It got better after a while. It was uncomfortable and I limped a bit especially when I first got up, but a spur of bone growing where it should not just where you want to put your weight on the heel is clearly different and sounds infinitely worse. Sympathies and best luck with it. Why they can’t get these simple things done and dusted in a week or ten days I just don’t know. I suspect that it is just plain bad management – massive over-management, probably. Too much dogma, too many chiefs, not enough Indians and a fair few jobs for the boys. I am sure that with good will and a sense of national service rather than careerist selfishness we could have a health service that works. Christian Socialism anyone?

  25. The world tonight – Patrick Coburn – national borders change in Syria – long term neo-con agenda – made to sound – innocent and logical. Wonder who wants to change borders in the Middle East?

  26. Well you can be comforted in the knowledge that Mr Lansley’s
    reforms, instead of fixing what is really broken will hand
    over the lions share of the NHS cash to GPs like yours and
    the rest to private health companies (e.g Virgin Health –
    Mr Branson will use it to buy more private Caribbean islands).

    The run up to 2015 is likely to be punctuated with the imminent
    bankruptcy of many NHS hospitals as the cash s drained away to
    the evil Tory project.

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

    13 Jun, 2013 - 10:29 pm

    Craig; How about some feedback? Have you tried reducing inflammation with the perfect natural anti-inlammatory, live garlic?

  28. When I had a paralysed finger it was around nine months before I got a phone call from Raigmore to tell me I had an appointment for tests. I explained it had got better on it’s own months before.

    Huh, think of it those Scots want independence, and miss all the miracles of self healing!

  29. a nail sticking out of my heel into my flesh every time I stand on it

    Holy shit, be careful it does not cause any inflammation and tissue break down, it sounds a nasty piece of work. Hope you get the treatment you need soon. what is the cause of this spur?

  30. Why did I get a heel spur?

    Trying to be of some help, although you may have already come across this.

  31. Announced (on Sky News) a short time ago that the WH has now decided that the Assad “regime” has in fact used chemical weapons. Namely Sarin. And that they have found no credible reports of rebels using it. No news about what Obama is going to do.

    you might find this interesting: Some info about how to ease it on Page 2.

  32. hah! Fedup, I think I posted the same link as you. Sorry.

  33. AlexT

    “I muss confess I find your story just unbelievable…”

    I don’t …

    The GP surgery of someone I know who lives in Derby has just been taken over by a “for profit” organisation (the receptionist’s words). One of the first results was the refusal of any surgery appointments at all to those 75 and over; telephone appointments only.

    My friend’s daughter insisted on a home visit for her mother … eventually, they complied but the doctor who arrived was not the doctor they had been told to expect. This doctor first refused to enter the house if there were any pets … on being assured that there were none she entered hesitantly, remained standing during the interview, conducted no examination of any sort, carried no medical bag and eventually discovered that she had forgotten to bring prescription forms …

    To cut a long and very boring story short … to get the missing prescription required a bus journey the next day to the chemist (who didn’t know anything about it) and then a two hour wait in the GP surgery.

    For profit surgeries are exactly that and, like any other for profit organisation, will hire less experienced employees at lower salaries with inferior working conditions to maximise those profits. In the case of health care it is the patients who pay the price.

    The NHS I knew and loved is going to hell in a handcart. I can understand Craig’s anger … to see the disappearance of something that I believed in wholeheartedly is incredibly painful.

    Craig, I know you were a diplomat but forget the gentlemanly conduct and be as bloody minded as you know how to get to see a specialist as quickly as possible.

    PS Are you sure your GP surgery isn’t ‘for profit’ now?

  34. Announced (on Sky News) a short time ago that the WH has now decided that the Assad “regime” has in fact used chemical weapons. Namely Sarin. And that they have found no credible reports of rebels using it. No news about what Obama is going to do.

    Ex president Clinton has been sticking his two pennyworth in a couple of days ago:

    “Nobody is asking for American soldiers in Syria,” Mr Clinton said, according to a recording heard by Politico magazine, “The only question is now that the Russians, the Iranians and the Hizbollah are in there head over heels, 90 miles to nothing, should we try to do something to try to slow their gains and rebalance the power?”

    Whilst US forces are to leave their kit in Jordan:

    The U.S. has sent about 1,000 troops along with a battery of Patriot missiles and F-16 jets to Jordan where it is currently leading a multinational military drill.

    An unnamed American official told AFP Washington will keep the fighter jets and Patriot anti-missile weapons in Jordan after the military exercise ends this month.

    Russia has expressed its concerns about the transfer of Western arms close to the Syrian conflict.

    The warmongers are trying to push another war in the area. However, more realistically these measures are designed to slow down the Syrian army’s progress that has been pretty successful in clearing up the foreign mercenaries injected into the Syrian soil. The facts on the ground make it highly unlikely for any kind of military intervention in Syria.

  35. … Still, it could be worse; it could be toothache:

  36. Thanks for the comment and links Fedup. It is clear today, as it ever was, that world leaders are merely puppets of the money-men. They get their rewards when they retire, like Blair did, but they still have to go on supporting the nonsense afterwards. Smarmy toadies are the pawns of Zionism.

  37. I am going off-topic too. Delete it if necessary but it is really important in the light of revelations from Ed Snowden.

  38. I am convinced my doctor tried to kill me 10 years ago, when I felt perfectly O.K., except I had an ear infection from swimming in polluted water. He prescribed drugs for 3 months in increasing amounts that made me ill. I stopped taking them, got better and haven’t seen him since. O.K. he probably wasn’t trying to kill me, but he was being paid – I think it was about £30 for each patient he managed to get on each of a certain range of drugs…statins, high blood pressure tablets etc.

    “Heel pain from plantar fascitis (heel spurs) is another common complaint among those taking statin drugs.”

    “The Dangers of Statin Drugs: What You Haven’t Been Told About Cholesterol-Lowering Medication (Part 1 of 3)”

    Its far worse than you think.

    Some of these conspiracy theories are true.


  39. XanderMackay

    14 Jun, 2013 - 1:09 am

    FAX ???
    Even the NHS has email these days..

    Can’t they email your referral?

  40. Hi Craig. Just thought I’d mention that I developed a calciferous heel spur during my teens (1980s) and know exactly the kind of intense pain this can cause – I couldn’t walk more than a few steps. I was treated with ultrasound therapy by NHS Scotland. Once a week for approx 2 months, I would go to the clinic and get a half hour Ultrasound treatment on my heel. I’ve never had a reoccurence of the condition during the 30 years since. May be worth checking out if you haven’t already. It worked a treat for me.

  41. Craig, my sympathies. Hope you get the foot fixed somehow soon.

    The lesson for the NHS must be that such a massive operation cannot be publicly and centrally managed. You end up with wallabies like “Sir” David Nicholson job-hopping around the executive positions getting massive pay checks and mis-managing the whole thing, front line service providers running around filling in forms, and middle managers fiddling the stats to keep their jobs. And nobody gives a shit about the patients who fall through the cracks. Because when we all suposedly own something, it turns out that actually nobody does apart from the bureaucrats. This is an operational point, by the way, not a political one. It doesn’t matter which political party is in charge, as the unfortunate case of Sir David Wallaby shows.

    The system in most European countries seems to work much better. Health should be publicly regulated but privately and locally provided. Health insurance should be mandatory and subsidized for those in need. The political question is then exactly who should receive health insurance subsidies and how much. Health care proffesionals can get on with providing the most efficient services. The Sir David Wallabies can go get a proper job cleaning toilets.

  42. These “paralyzed” people, They can move you know, and play voleyball. They just have nerve impulse issues.
    These blind people, they can see, they can watch movies and read books. They just have sight issues.


  43. But Craig, you are being a touch silly taking off to Africa in your condition.

  44. As reported recetly in the media, the Poles in London got fed up with the NHS and set up their own private practice which is now thriving.

    You may pay £70 for a GP appointment, but you get 30 minutes instead of the usual 7 minutes you get with the NHS.

    Sorry to disappoint some of the commenters on here, but there are a great many people who do not regard the NHS as wonderful, or have endless loyalty to it, including me.

  45. Flaming June

    14 Jun, 2013 - 8:21 am

    I am very sorry that Craig is still suffering. It is outrageous. I did e-mail with some advice.

    Indigo and Domestic Extremist are aware of what has been happening to OUR NHS.

    There was no irony in Paul Burstow MP (one of Lansley’s minions behind the Health and Social Care Act 2012) on local TV last night stamping his foot and protesting about the proposed closure of either hospitals or hospital departments in South West London/Surrey.

    Surrey and London hospitals consultation postponed

    This weekend a group protesting about closures at Lewisham Hospital are going down to Farnham on a ‘Hunt for Hunt’. Farnham is in his constituency, SW Surrey. Lewisham Hospital faces losing its A&E and Maternity departments.

    There was no mention of NHS privatisation in either the Con or LD manifestos. Do you remember Cameron saying ‘NHS NHS NHS’ in answer to what B.Liar had said about education? This is the actuality. He is a liar.

    Meanwhile, Branson who already has a very large slice of the NHS under his control, is setting up a new organisation called the B Team! Now what’s that all about? Theft from the people under a different name?

  46. I’m guessing that having made the decision to go private, you could get the treatment done by simply going abroad…possibly Poland?…I believe they do dental implants without faffing around, anyway.

  47. There are areas of the south east which are just as deprived as those north of Watford and you will know, because you live there, that Thanet is one of them. The local NHS and the QEQM hospital reflect this deprivation.

  48. I feel that someone should mention Ken Loach’s film, “The Spirit of ’45”. The more people who see this flawed but passionate hymn to the welfare state, the better.

  49. The last 30 years, through Thatcherite policies, have enabled a lot of people who wanted to get rich to do so. The Thatcherites want their part of the deal, which is for the money they created to come back into their capitalist net. Someone like Craig, who went off to serve his country and was prevented by his principles from receiving the promised dosh, is not going to worry the likes of Branson. By their minds, us altruos should have bought into Thatcherism in the first place, and we’d have had to the dosh to pay for private today. Literally they are rubbing your nose into your foot.

  50. Craig,

    I had to post this. It could be worse!

    (I know I know, it won’t make your heel feel any better)

  51. They’d be the rich Poles then Techno at £70 a visit. I have “endless loyalty” to the NHS, not because I think it is the best thing since sliced bread, I don’t, but because it was set up to provide healthcare for those who could not afford private treatment, when many were dying from consumption and malnutrition. I have no objection to people going private. What I object to is private healthcare schemes luring away doctors and nurses trained by the NHS with increased salaries. It’s a lot cheaper for them to increase the salaries and let the NHS do the training. If they train their own medical personnel I do not object.

  52. Now that we know Israel’s reason for getting Bush/Blair to invade Iraq, which is to establish the Shi’a in Baghdad as a local footsoldier army to expand the territory of Israel into Sunni Syria, we also know why they have got Obama and Cameron to ignite a Sunni insurrection against Assad, to give Israel a pretext/chance to push North.

    John Goss linked to the US’ use of rape as a weapon of war to force Sunnis out of their traditional homeland. Those crimes are actually the crimes of Israel to establish a Shi’a base.

    I get pity and condemnation from my political Islamist fellow Muslims for not going to jihad. Is it Jihad to give Israel a legitimate pretext to expand their territory into Sunni Syria?

    Those of us who opposed Thatcherism listen to those who scrambled to the present destruction of our country’s economy say that nobody at the time of Thatcher realised that her economic policies would lead to this.

    Political Islam has been duped for the last 20 years into thinking that USUKETCIS will give them a Sunni toehold in which to make a seedling Khilafah state. Allah says in the Qur’an that if the Israelis come to power they will not give us, the Muslims as much power as the tiny black dot at the foot of the groove on a datestone.

    Those who stampeded like the Thatcher Bison towards removing traditional values, industries and honest financial dealings are exactly the same as the political Islamists who tell me to abandon my old-fashioned British tendency to restraint and embrace Al Qaida’s brutal Jihad.

    Jihad has so far wrecked many Muslim countries, like Somalia, where the West has now got a clean slate to develop the oil under the sand. You are made to feel that you are against Jihad itself. No. It is the same as with the Thatcherites. You said to them that removing traditional values would lead to bankruptcy and it did.
    Political Islam has discarded traditional values and handed Syria to Israel. There was no need to abandon those traditional values while pursuing legitimate jihad against the dictator Assad.

    Why do human beings think that in order to create change they have to abandon common sense? Telling lies is Israel’s job.

  53. “It was plain from the long silence that ensued that this was viewed as a grossly impertinent request. They would have to consult the practice manager. Finally came the answer – they would not fax the letter, but if I waited 24 hours they would print out a copy which I could collect and fax myself….”

    Craig, it sounds to me that the GP has forgotten to write the referral on the day he/she saw you.

    This would explain why the practice needed 24 hours to print out a copy. (Thus giving them time to rectify their error).

    If the referral had already been in the system a copy could be printed out straight away.

  54. I used to defend the NHS. Not any more; a more shambolic administration I have never encountered and I’ve suffered at the hands of child benefit, inland revenue and council tax benefit but top of the pile is the NHS.
    On 2 occasions I have been given dates to commence chemotherapy; sadly telling me and telling the staff who administer the treatment results in no treatment.
    In late Feb/ early March I was told by the consultant that without treatment I would be dead in 5 months. Over dramatic possibly, but here I am still waiting. It is beyond belief.

  55. Doug

    In 2006 I needed some outpatient help with a damaged toenail (also in Kent). I sat on a chair in the same waiting room as the male nurse/doctor was sitting at his desk doing nothing for half an hour. I felt as though the staff were testing my patience. Medical notes contain warnings from our lovely intelligence agencies slandering non-conformants to status-quo ideology and staff read and follow that advice. If Craig’s medical notes say that in the Foreign Offices opinion he has a bipolar condition, they will test his patience deliberately to see if they can turn his pain problem into angst. The police do that every time they encounter a civilian to see if they can turn an innocent person into a criminal.

    I remember a psychiatrist telling me that my attitude was very competitive to which I replied that it was him, not me, that was wearing the white coat.

    Craig is not suffering from a post-code problem. It is probably a problem in his own medical notes. The NHS is still brilliant.

  56. The first words you see on my medical records last time I looked are that Mr Guano (not) ” is unaware of his own sexuality ” which is medical shorthand for ” no wonder any decent woman would be fed up with him “. That’s what you get for writing ” I hate Mrs Thatcher ” on the wall of the local Conservative association. They re-painted the building, but I have never tried to re-paint my medical notes. Their words stand as a memento of the traditional use of the label psychosis by the medical profession when confronted by people whose political opinions do not conform to the norm. (Psychosis means that you are unaware of yourself.).

    Q.: Is a person who thrives under Hitler in good or bad mental health?.

    Anyway, Craig’s problem is partly postcode because the ‘disgusted of Tunbridge Wells’ syndrome of the Garden of England would not be present in cosmopolitan London or Birmingham. A Muslim G.P. would basically ignore such blatant manipulations of the truth written by the medical profession against a political dissident or a fellow Muslim as happened in my case.

    Also, the lady G.P that was reluctant to enter a house with pets in it, was probably a junior Muslim doctor. as an electrician I have had to work in houses, even of a local councillor, where there is an extra layer of carpet made from doghairs over the carpet itself. We have to wash our clothes after being licked by a dog seven times , the last time with earth. She was perfectly within her rights to convey her apprahensions to the patient’s family. They always say ‘the dog won’t hurt you’ but they don’t have to go and buy another pair of trousers after being licked by an overfriendly dog.

    No, I don’t avoid capital letters because I’m against capitalism in general. The keyboard of my laptop is old.

  57. Have you considered acupuncture? No joke.

  58. If the pain gets unbearable then pop down to A&E (early Sunday morning for example) be prepared to sit around a while and get seen there. They may not be able to do much at the time but you may well get on the hospitals list without waiting for your GP to get his finger out.

    I would seriously consider changing GP as a matter of urgency. These people are paid tons of public money and if they can’t deliver an efficient public service then move on to one who can. It should not take them over a week to get a simple letter organised. Does the GP know how inefficient his staff are?

  59. Scouse Billy

    14 Jun, 2013 - 3:36 pm

    Tony Opmoc – spot on. Statins are dangerous and the lipid hypothesis is unscientific and wrong:


    In the meantime, you might find this information helpful. Good luck!

  61. Painful as it is, Craig, your doctor is right, although somewhat more abrupt than you might have liked. The foot problem is a pain management issue for now. Stretching, icing and alternative therapy methods will help a great deal until you see the specialist. Therapies such as Active Release, the Graston Technique and low-level laser may work for you. Plantar fasciitis, heel spurs and pain are related, but the pain component is poorly understood. See a physiotherapist for further advice. You might also want to visit one of those specialty running shoe stores, where they are familiar with plantar fasciitis in runners. They can fit you in a pair of sneakers that will help. You’ll also be able to set a new trend for medically-necessary business attire!

  62. doug scorgie

    14 Jun, 2013 - 7:37 pm

    13 Jun, 2013 – 9:35 pm

    “When I had a paralysed finger it was around nine months before I got a phone call from Raigmore to tell me I had an appointment for tests. I explained it had got better on it’s own months before.”

    Two points:

    1. Obviously nothing serious.

    2. Why didn’t you inform your GP or Raigmore hospital that you no longer needed an appointment?

    Perhaps the cause of your paralysed finger was repetitive strain due to your hand signals to Scottish Nationalists.

  63. repetitive strain due to your hand signals to Scottish Nationalists.

    ROFLMAO. The best yet.

  64. doug scorgie

    14 Jun, 2013 - 7:59 pm

    14 Jun, 2013 – 12:05 pm
    14 Jun, 2013 – 12:53 pm

    Guano, please increase your medication; the dose is obviously too low.

  65. Craig, you might try finding a local GP near where you are staying on your African visit and get a daily shot of local anesthetic to deaden the pain for the duration of your meetings. Depending on where you are staying, a doctor’s callout to your hotel could be cheap enough. Tho’ you’d probably end up walking around like a club-footed monster.

  66. “Perhaps the cause of your paralysed finger was repetitive strain due to your hand signals to Scottish Nationalists.”

    Actually it was down to pressure on a nerve in my neck, I suffer from spondylosis which is a degenerative disease of the spine.

    Now fuck off areshole.

  67. I had quite unusual experience recently at Chelsea and Westminster hospital. After quite a painful kidney operation I went for a follow up appointment. I was still having pain, and the consultant said all stones had been removed and i have almost brand new kidneys. To my question why then i still have pain he just made a funny face. But i insisted that i want to go for ultrasound scan. He then filled a form and sent me to x-ray department. On my halfway i realised that it was not my name on the form. I ran back to him to explain that he made a mistake and he made a decision about my kidneys being ok looking at smn else’s results on his computer. He did not want to accept my accusations but allowed me to do the scan and filled out a new form. I did the x-ray and yesterday went for an appointment again. By this time now my pain is more severe with occasional rising temperatures. And the doctor met me in the corridor, he apologized and said he left some fractions of stent in my kidney during the previous operation! He hays he “may have missed them”. Can you believe that. A surgeon missed some fractions of plastic stent inside my kidney and he was saying everything was ok with my kidneys! Unbelievable. If smn here knows legal professionals who can help me to sue the trust i would be thankful.

  68. Flaming June

    15 Jun, 2013 - 7:04 am

    More evidence of the ConDem plan to Destabilize, Demoralize and Demolish the NHS.

    Many GPs ‘Can’t Promise Safe Care’
    Family doctors are under “overwhelming pressure” and grappling with huge workloads and increasingly complex cases, a survey shows.

    Remember also that the ‘changes’ have cost £3bn.

  69. Latimer, check out this firm: Slater Gordon. They do work on a no-win, no-fee basis.

  70. Jemand/Craig good thought though i would try physiotherapy instead: Laser, ultrasound, Intramuscular stimulation, Electro shock wave (as Mike originally recommended), Icing…combination of these. Private physics in developing countries cost nothing in sterling terms. Get your local friends to find the best, get going and be regular.

    Be careful with room-service food — it can counter your efforts through wrong food. On the other hand it can facilitate a special diet. Avoid, in principle, all sour and fermented foods!

  71. Extract from Q’s link posted earlier too:

    “A new treatment for heel spurs chronic plantar fasciitis is being investigated. This treatment, called extracorporeal shock wave therapy, or ESWT, uses energy pulses to induce microtrauma to the tissue around the heel spur. This microtrauma is thought to induce a tissue repair process by the body. ESWT is recommended in patients who have failed the previously mentioned treatments, and are considering surgical options.”

  72. Isn’t there some rule that if we can’t get treated within a reasonable period in the UK, we can go to France and reclaim the cost here?

    Alternatively, perhaps you could get privately treated in Ghana. It should cost less than the UK, avoid the bureaucracy and probably be as effective.

  73. Craig, you need to change your GP. He is medically incompetent quite apart from anything else, for the following reasons:

    Firstly, foot pain is much more than a “pain management” issue, because you will automatically tend to avoid weight-bearing on the affected foot. However your body is designed to bear weight equally on both feet. You will therefore eventually get a knock on effect of musculo-skeletal imbalances going up through your knees, hips, and spine, all of which have to adjust in order to keep you upright.

    Secondly, if you take loads of pain killers over a long period there will be side effects, especially with the NSAIDs (like Ibuprofen), which are an avoidable and potentially serious medical issue.

    In the longer term the heel spur needs to be shaved off in a small operation, but in the meantime a good podiatrist (chiropodist) could maybe make you an orthotic (insole) that would reduce pressure on the affected area. This should not be that expensive.

  74. PS if you follow Jermand’s suggestion of a daily shot of local anaesthetic while in Africa, you need to be very careful cos this will also block out necessary pain signals, eg if you stepped on something sharp- you don’t want untreated skin lesions especially in a tropical climate. If you did go down that road you’d need to behave like a diabetic, ie wear shoes/sandals all the time you’re not actually in bed, and check the soles of your feet daily. For this reason I don’t recommend the local anaesthetic idea despite its obvious attractions. Remember that lepers end up the way they do mainly because of their permanent lack of feeling in the extremities.

  75. Fred
    14 Jun, 2013 – 11:29 pm

    “I suffer from spondylosis…”

    Well Fred, has your diagnosis been confirmed?

    It could be something serious like congenital syphilis.

    Do you have a square head?

  76. Latimer
    15 Jun, 2013 – 1:47 am

    “If smn here knows legal professionals who can help me to sue the trust i would be thankful.”

    Latimer, some insurance policies that you might have (even home insurance) can cover legal costs under these circumstances; check them out.

    However, don’t be too hopeful; the NHS is a monster when it comes to a legal challenges as I know to my cost.

  77. Flaming June

    17 Jun, 2013 - 5:50 pm

    For those who care about what is happening to the NHS.

    What is the impact of NHS Changes

  78. Horace Swanson

    18 Jun, 2013 - 7:10 pm


    Are there any other GPs around? I’ve found some surgeries are less arsey than others – if there’s a choice it might be worth asking around and if one seems better you could try to switch.

  79. Craig, sorry to hear of your problems. I last worked as a GP in the UK in the 1980’s, I would normally be a stout defender of the NHS, it certainly wasn’t perfect, but at least you got treatment based on need and not on ability to pay, and for the most part, I thought it worked. My wife, though, a nurse from NZ, is fond of telling me that her experience of working in the NHS was less than stellar, even all those years ago.

    Plantar fasciitis is generally what one might consider a “nuisance” condition, hardly serious, but bad enough in some sufferers to be quite disabling. There are lots of suggested treatments, which generally means no-one really knows how best to treat. Usually rest, heat, a comfortable shoe ( I would recommend trainers a size too large with a soft, probably closed-cell foam insole or heel pad , eg Spenco), thick socks, avoiding walking any more than necessary, keeping fit by cycling or swimming, antiinflammatories, and see a physiotherapist or podiatrist with experience in dealing with this condition. Stretching exercises for instance can be quite beneficial. You say you have a spur, what you need to know is this is not necessarily the cause of the pain, which might be not quite in the same place. Spurs are not that uncommon in people without symptoms, conversely spurs are often absent with really troublesome fasciitis. In other words, they can be diagnostic red-herrings.

    I would also agree that whilst your doctor’s advice might be true in a sense, that his communication skills might need to be upgraded, you shouldn’t have been left feeling so inadequately treated, ditto the receptionist. If it’s a “pain management problem” then that’s actually the doctor’s job, not yours, to deal with it. In addition, whilst your condition isn’t “urgent”, any competent GP should be able to get a letter away the same day, it’s now generally a matter of cutting and pasting computer notes to an electronic form. Equally he should be able to provide a private referral just as quickly.

    I am reading this as I hear of yet another major scandal in an NHS hospital. This truly is appalling, but the NHS is under siege, it is an unloved and embarrassing encumbrance of another age for far too many politicians, and if the effort is not put in to make the NHS as good as it could be, if it is constantly undermined and reorganised and if funds just aren’t enough or the staff too pressured, then the result will be chaotic and poor. A cynic or conspiracy theorist would say this is a deliberate ploy so as to undermine the public’s confidence in the NHS, so that continued privatisation can be accomplished with less opposition. The cynic and the conspiracy theorist may well be right.

  80. Flaming June

    21 Jun, 2013 - 1:51 pm

    Hunt the Hunt

    NHS protesters claim support in ‘Hunt for Hunt’
    June 20, 2013

    COACHLOADS of protesters were met with a warm welcome from all but Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt at the weekend when they landed in Farnham to take part in the ‘Hunt for Hunt’ – a peaceful protest against NHS cuts.


  81. Craig, Just refuse to use Thanet, we do.

    If possible – i.e. when you have someone to drive you, use William Harvey in Ashford – excellent.

Powered By Wordpress | Designed By Ridgey | Produced by Tim Ireland | Hosted In The Cloud