More NHS Awfulness 81

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.

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81 thoughts on “More NHS Awfulness

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  • Dreoilin

    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.

  • Indigo


    “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?

  • fedup

    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.

  • John Goss

    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.

  • Tony0pmoc

    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.


  • XanderMackay

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

    Can’t they email your referral?

  • Sandy Henry

    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.

  • DavidH

    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.

  • lwtc247

    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.


  • lwtc247

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

  • Techno

    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.

  • Flaming June

    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?

  • Komodo

    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.

  • Yossi

    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.

  • Richard

    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.

  • guano

    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.

  • John Goss

    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.

  • guano

    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.

  • doug scorgie

    “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.

  • Graham

    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.

  • guano


    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.

  • guano

    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.

  • Parky

    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?

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