A huge issue in British society at the moment is the state, reform and longevity of the UK’s NHS. Set up after World War Two, the NHS was created to ensure that all peoples of all ages, backgrounds, colour’s and creeds had access to good and safe health care. We’d just survived a mega war, the priority was to stop people dying in the street. Since it’s creation the NHS has gone from strength to strength, offering some of the best health care services in the world, completely free and paid for by government and taxes (so not free, but you get the point). In the UK we currently have more and more old people living much longer. We have a huge amount of people who are overweight and need treatment connected to this. Substance abuse and aftercare such as methadone prescriptions are hugely important and cost a lot. In Liverpool there seems to be a baby boom, that’s not going to be cheep. More and more the NHS is struggling to function. Our current (utter shite) Tony government have imposed cut after cut on NHS spending. This mean’s that nurses are having to use food banks, that junior Dr’s and nurses (including family and friends of me and L’s) are being worked until they drop with no extra pay or even a break half the time, during a 12 hour shift. Frankly our little crow and Jezza Hunt the massive Cun… aren’t really doing a great job.

Unfortunately as much as I would love to sit and utterly slate our Tory house of shit heads in Whitehall, alas, they aren’t completely to blame for the state of our NHS. Yes people turn up with minor injuries to A&E causing a backlog, yes some people still ask for paracetamol on prescription (the last box I bought, cost me £0.24p) and yes a worrying amount of the British public, see the NHS as their own personal pill box. Culturally people in the UK take terrible advantage of what the NHS offers. Having blamed the government and my fellow countrymen and women, there are also more ever-present and dangerous reasons the NHS is beginning to sink into the quicksand of yesteryear. The management teams and some Dr’s and trainees are making what I would describe and brass faced and fundamentally bad decisions, with a ‘nar it’s fine,’ kind of attitude and I say this from my own personal experience over the last 12 months.

Boxing day 2017. L seems to be having what we all, could only describe as a mild heart attack. Instead of calling emergency services, (because if you don’t definitely need them you shouldn’t call them) we called the 111 NHS helpline. The call centre style operator asks L a series of generalised questions, much like one of those flow diagrams you’d get in magazines as a kid, and determines he needs to be taken to hospital. She sends a paramedic first, they hook L up to and take two ECG’s (Electrocardiogram) in my mum’s kitchen, test his blood sugars, monitor his heart rate and check his blood pressure, in my mum’s kitchen. Paramedics are superheroes. Without finding any cause for obvious concern, the Paramedic then sends for an Ambulance to run further tests at a local hospital. This Ambulance ride cost upwards of £80.00. upon arriving a the hospital (paid for by the NHS purse), we are seen by a nurse, L is given a another ECG and his blood pressure is taken again, he is not admitted and we then enjoy, the pleasure that is, sitting in A&E for four hours, waiting for a DR who isn’t on shift, to not call us though, because a DR from another ward arrives instead and literally tells us that nothing was found, but it wasn’t a heart attack and to go home and rest. This visit came in at roughly £1,000.00 for the night again to be covered by the NHS. This doesn’t include the costs for the pain killers given, the numerous blood pressure tests or the nurse and Dr. But the cost of this looking at it now, was completely irrelevant, I thought my husbands life and health were in danger. If upon leaving however, they had charged me the £1,000.000 for his non treatment and basic tests in relation to his symptoms, we simply couldn’t have paid it. What happens then, do you wash the floor’s until you’ve paid it off?

I am an all too aware user of the benefits that the NHS offers. I am a woman who is pro choice and in saying that, I believe it is my choice to reproduce as I see fit. In the UK all form’s of contraception, regardless of age can be given for free on the NHS. I have used contraception for the last 8 years and this year I take my biggest step, in having a marina coil fitted. This is costing me nothing, I don’t even have to pay for the £8.50 prescription fee, because as i said, it is contraception. A fee I’d be more than happy to pay I might add. This makes me feel truly blessed. The thought of not being able to take control of my own reproductive system, or even worse, that someone else makes the decision based on how much I’ve got in my purse, seems medieval and frankly makes me nauseous if I think about it too much. This year has already seen me making trips to my GP that feel all too often, from contraceptive prescription updates, growths and the treatment that is then required, I myself over my last seven trips already (whist I honestly am almost embarrassed to say) have cost the NHS an estimated £1,181.00 without the fees of he drugs ect. It feels shocking but each treatment has been vital, how do you possibly begin to prioritise which treatment or life choice is more important in relation to cost. It’s the most terrifying thought to me that in the last few week alone, I will have cost the NHS a huge amount of money, money I couldn’t pay if I was charged for it, on my way out of the door, which means no treatments. How do other countries function in this way? It’s a basic right to have access to good health care, apparently in some places that costs more than in others.

I also feel that there is a need to support my statement in relation to management and Dr’s playing silly buggers, with money they aren’t spending, though the absolutely absurd ways in which the NHS runs. Last week I had a blister removed from my thigh. This has been an eye opening experience in what just might be going wrong, caused by NHS professionals. It’s also been a fantastic lesson in how not to organise yourself. My GP is in a shared building with another GP practice, this is key to the madness of today’s story time. I was literally (LITERALLY) given a post-it note with “minor surgery” written on it by my GP and told to take it to reception, as they would send the referral. A post-it note! I wandered through to reception, the lovely receptionist takes it off me and tells me, that I will soon either receive a letter or a phone call to make my appointment. “Great” I thought, “this will be sorted in no time”. Two days later the letter comes, the next day an exact copy of the letter comes again. Two letters in two days saying exactly the same things, seems a bit excessive really. Both letters then tell me to call the contact number provided to book my appointment (via a call centre). Right, so far this process has gone through 6 different people from me to the postman and I’ve not even got an appointment yet. I’m starting to feel like this is taking the piss. But we’re just getting started. I call the number attached and am given an appointment for yes you guessed it, the other GP practice within my Doctors surgery. It’s gone through six people, and taken a week to wide up, just a little way down a corridor from where I started. I go for my appointment and literally walk past my GP’s room to get to the minor surgery room. What a bloody trial, but at least it’s happening. I make myself comfortable on an impossibly uncomfortable Dr’s treatment chair. I watch as two either Junior Dr’s or trainee nurses begin to get everything ready for the man of the hour, who’s going to cut my demon out of me. I watch in utter amazement as the “more advanced” stand-in, starts prepping the trolley. The Dr says he wants 4 (I presume ml) of anaesthetic for me and she gets on with it. Not only does she make the biggest mess I’ve ever seen within a Dr’s treatment room, but she snaps the first needle opening it’s packet meaning that another one is now been used and as she cracks the vial to fill the second needle, I watch as she practically pores it’s numbing content all over her hand and the counter, trying to fill the needle. Out comes a second vial because so much has been spilt. I am astounded and disgusted at the waste of it all. She’s clearly not paying for it. I then end up needing more anaesthetic along the way, so not only is everything he uses to cut me and wipe me and numb me on its way to the bin anyway, she’s then added to it at least twice because she was careless. This entire charade of an appointment has involved 11 people in total including myself, took no more than 30 minuets to complete and I happened two doors down, from where the post-it note referral was issued. But wait it’s not over. With everything cut out cauterised, cleaned and stitched up, I’m given another piece of paper with aftercare and ANOTHER contact number to arrange getting my stitches out. IS THIS A JOKE?! Why on earth can I not just see the same Dr again in ten days, time or even one of the two trainees who sat in, to have the stitches taken out? Home I go and I call yet another NHS call centre to make an appointment. I’m told I can have a Saturday, but that I now need to travel to another GP surgery, to have the stitches out, because both surgeries in my building, are unable to offer a service to have them out. By this point I’m exhausted. Not only am I exhausted, but I also now feel guilty about the poor person who has to sit in on a Saturday, at a surgery I’m not even a patient of, to take out my TWO stitches. What a bloody mess! All of this backwards and forwards and around the bends to have a treatment down the hall, why on earth do the Dr’s and patients have to jump though all these hoops? Heaven forbid my GP could have been able to walk down the hall and say “book Hannah an appointment”, or even just give me that initial phone number. I’m sure to most this doesn’t seem like the nightmare I found it, but it’s just ridiculous! So much faffing for such an easily fixed treatment, that if anything just became more and more wasteful. There’s no wonder the NHS is struggling, this whole thing much have cost an absolute fortune. It’s an example of complete in-efficiency and cost. Who thought that was a good idea, seriously?

For all my bitching and moaning about this little adventure into the land of in-efficiency, the fact is that if I had been asked to pay for this and every other service I enjoy in one go, I couldn’t have done it. I’d still have a blister on my thigh and I’d probably have a baby by now, which only highlights how amazing it is to live in this country with an NHS. I have the power to protect my womb from invasion, I have the ability to live without discomfort and I do all this though tax payments that are pooled together. The National Health Service, is being run into the ground in one way or another by everyone, by me and my demand for choice, by Dr’s and their carelessness with drugs and more importantly by a government and its officials, who I’m sure all use private health care anyway. Our NHS is a sacred thing, that we are lucky to have and I think the best way to protect it, aside from giving the Tories a painful and swift kick up the arse and out of the houses of parliament, is for people to realise just how impossible it would be to access health care if we had to pay for it ourselves. It just wouldn’t be possible! The current baby boom wouldn’t be happening, because women wouldn’t be able to afford their babies. Those caught because they can’t afford contraception, then have to have their babies at home in an unsafe and unclean environment because a Hospital stay would be an impossibility. This is a harrowing thought and loosing our NHS would be like stepping back into a dickens novel, cue the poor house and child worker’s. If I know anything from writing this, it’s how lucky I am to have the NHS and how much I pity those without one. I wish everyone had an NHS and I wish that mine here in the UK was given the respect it needs. The thought of it being mistreated now that I know all that I do, really pisses me off. Stop spitting in the eye of the people trying to keep you alive!

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FEATURE IMAGE:http://pinterest.com/pin/464011567847974208/?source_app=android

SUPPORTING INFORMATION:  https://www.theguardian.com/society/ng-interactive/2016/feb/08/how-much-have-i-cost-the-nhs                   http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/11718631/Aspirin-loo-roll-and-surgery-true-cost-of-the-NHS-revealed.html                   http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/your_nhs/3550855.stm

Published by Hannah Doyle