Thursday, 30 October 2014

Hiding heads in the sand

Ignoring all demands for an Independent enquiry into the failings of NHS Wales is continuing as Minister Mark Drakeford accuses he BMA of playing "political games".  Nothing in the BMA report could - in any way - be interpreted as playing political games, yet the governments response reveals a note of desperation about their feeble attempts to hide the truth.

Personally, I have collected six more articles that show the endemic incompetence of our government and their failure to overcome the ever-lengthening waiting lists and inadequate services. 20,151 patients have been waiting for more than 36 weeks for treatment at the end of August, beating all previous records.

During the past month I have been unable to write about the continuing failings as I have become more and more conscious of my own declining health, as well as my personal failure at raising awareness awareness of the problems detailed in my posts.  It is soul destroying to have to look back over 252 posts and realise that I have failed to achieve anything more than impress a few close friends.  On top of this my heart failure gets worse and I can't seem to rid myself of the Deep Vein Thrombosis that has obliged me to have to self-administer over 130 injections of Heparin.  My death draws nearer and I have been panicking over the awful business of putting my affairs in order, for the sake of my family.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014



Once again we have another demand for an independent enquiry into our NHS as doctors have united to prevent the Wales NHS going into ‘meltdown’.

Dr Phil Banfield of the British Medical Association has announced the publication of a further critical report on our health services which was formally presented to the Welsh Government today and acknowledged by our Ministers.  Without any hesitation or prevarication at all, Ministers responded that "They have received the report which they will read and ( hopefully ) study."  Meanwhile, we are all forced to wait with bated breath to hear the predictable negative responses eg. “We’re much too busy improving our services to stop and have an enquiry that will only hinder and delay our work...” or some such similar tripe from Messrs Drakeford and Jones.

I've lost count of the number of times an independent report has been requested, particularly following the damning report from the Royal College of Surgeons that concluded that the Cardiff and Vale University Hospital for Wales is “dangerous”.  Those of us old enough to recall Rhodri Morgan’s first declaration that “The Welsh Assembly Government will be run with complete transparency and openness...” remember how misleading and insincere this statement of intent was, and still is to this very day.  We have all had to endure the repetition of lies about the true state of our health services from every Health Minister since, that has been involved in the progressive degradation of OUR health services.  Starting with the decimation of our Mental Health Services, we have all been made to endure the centralisation and rationalisation of all of our health services. Finally, we arrive at the point where all we can do is look back on the closures of hospitals and a total of 4700 inpatient beds – all changes that have brought Welsh patients to their knees, begging for a G.P. appointment. Even if we get lucky, they can do little to help us to survive the ever-lengthening waiting lists that keep us from getting even a hospital consultation and any necessary treatment that may be required.

To my personal despair the Royal College of Surgeons report showed that 152 cardiac patients awaiting surgery had died before getting remotely close to a life-saving operation. I can’t imagine how many other patients have died in ambulances before ever reaching one of our four remaining trauma centres ( This will increase to five when, and if, Cwmbran hospital  is ever built ).  I can only imagine what poor cancer patients are having to put up with, or neo-natal and postnatal babies.  Meanwhile, chronically ill patients are being sent home, and asked to seek a second referral from their GP to see a consultant, again.  And all the while their ailments get worse, and the likelihood of preventable deaths continues – all because of the gross incompetence of untrained Health Board Officials and self-serving bureaucrats who will do anything to keep their jobs, expenses and fat pensions !  As I have often said, all of these changes are with one aim only - to save money.  Providing adequate healthcare has become a secondary situation.

Will we now get a fully independent enquiry into our health services ????  In my personal opinion, the answer is that their is a greater likelihood of a frosty day in July !   R. W.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

What's Wrong with You, Anyway ???

Experiencing UHW

There has been a long gap between this and my last post. Unfortunately, I have been taken to – what can only jocularly referred to as ‘an accident and emergency department’ - the ever revolving door which passes for the patient entrance to the University of Wales.  Unfortunately, I have been too depressed by my experiences that I have been unable to write , having reached the sad conclusion that all my efforts ( to get improved health services ) have been a waste of time.

Although I am only suffering the last throes of Heart Failure, whilst still experiencing the pains of Diverticulitis, Dystonia, Angina, and Reflux Oesophagitis, I am managing to get about, albeit a little slower than before. To add to my woes, I developed a Deep Vein Thrombosis in my left leg which was extremely painful.  Luckily the Assessment Unit at UHW, refused to admit me, choosing instead to send me home with a bag of Heperin injections that I have to stick in my tummy every day.  At least it was only 87 syringes in total which gave me something to look forward to for a twelve week period. The short, sharp experience of 13 Bo Tox injections every 8weeks may be painful but at least the Neurology staff are extremely helpful and kind. I do feel sorry for poor doctor Lewis who has to overcome my futile attempts to be a ‘brave little soldier’ whilst he puts up with me squirming about in pain.

Getting back to A&E, I worked out that there are now 5 departments which are supposed to care for the rows of patients waiting hours for some treatment One poor old chap in the ‘minor injuries department’ had been sitting with a dislocated wrist for three hours – his pain was as obvious as the blue/purple colour of his injured wrist.  I felt that the old Triage system would have at least pushed the poor chap to the very front of the queue, but no one but his tearful daughter cared a jot for his discomfort.

The next test of your patience are the two part Assessment unit which feels like death row, with doctors strutting about importantly, as though trying to decide the order for ejecting the ‘condemned’ out of the revolving door.  Their projected arrogance is totally unjustified as is the manner in which they approach their next victim.  My experience was that I was told that I looked fine and, therefore could be treated at home, despite my DVT demanding attention. I had to ask this female ‘clinician’ “Exactly how ill do you have to be to be admitted to this hospital ?” bearing in mind all my ailments.  It was quite obvious that she had not bothered to look at my file and, when I asked her precisely where the blood clot was, she pointed to a spot an inch above my ankle.  Having just left the Doppler department, I knew that the clot was in fact above my knee – approx. 18 inches above her reckoning. When asked, she haughtily informed me that she was a Registrar, although she couldn’t tell me the name of her supervising consultant. She then walked back to her office and, after another hour long wait, I escaped from the unit and called for a lift home.

One half of the Assessment unit is for ‘Ambulatory’ patients and the other for old ladies due to be admitted having suffered a near-death fall in the kitchen.  The other two departments are the  children’s A&E, and the Resus department.
I did get to see the Bed Manager who whined that there were no beds to be had. I asked her “Well, if the health board had closed 4700 beds – what the hell did she expect ?
Generally, the morale of the staff was even worse than that of the long suffering patients.  I had to get out of there, because, if I only hav a few moths to live, I was damned sure it wouldn’t be having to endure being treated like excrement !   There are more examples of the appalling treatment my family have experienced, over the same period.  However, anyone may have a go at me but definitely NOT my family.    R. W.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Private Hospitals Used to Cut Heart Surgery Waiting Lists

Is it Possible for our NHS Wales to provide our growing population with safe Healthcare ?

Having dared to look the £2.4m ‘gift horse’ in the mouth yesterday, I couldn’t let another day pass without commenting on the First Minister’s Annual Report to the Assembly.  This reminded me of a public address given by Iosef Stalin in which he said “People are the problem, therefore no people no problem”.  Carwyn James' whole time at his lectern brought to mind the emptying of a garbage truck onto a public tip.  It was like we poor Welsh people were left sifting through the waste material looking for something edible or – to me – Credible. Needless to say his brazen declaration that all surveys proved that we Welsh were happy with the many improvements to public services, all supposedly reporting over 90% satisfaction with our public services, especially health. Of course, if the people surveyed were especially selected they’d agree to anything, so without knowing who they were, you could make-up any result, which is precisely what Carwyn did.

His entire demeanour was one of a school bully who dared anyone to disagree with him or even to question any of his nonsensicle claims that should have been subject to more vociferous scrutiny from the opposition parties. His report on our health services was mostly fiction, as usual and, once again he questioned the integrity of a great MP, Ann Clwydd, dismissing her evidence as unsubstantiated with no names given to the author of each complaint.  I found this particularly objectionable as ANY complaint about patient mistreatment made to the Universally Inept Health Board always receives the stock reply, “We cannot comment on individual cases.” So Carwyn – the dishonest Walrus – wants the penny and the bun but, alas, he has not sufficient intelligence to realise the stupidity of his words. In short, the First Minister is nothing more than psychopathic thug.

Yesterday’s Echo carried the article that revealed the political motivation behind the fact that some private hospitals are being used to “cut cardiac surgery waiting lists”. The pathetic explanations for the waiting lists were inedible enough to make a Billy-Goat puke.  The facts and figures are unsupported and insubstantial and – as usual – gang-member Drakeford repeated his  drone, “The improvements have come as a result of implementation of innovative practices by NHS organisation”  ( what improvements, what organisations and where is the evidence ? ).  He ended with his maniacal rant that “pushing through the current structural and organisational changes was his highest priority”, thereby publicly declaring that he knows nothing of the operation of the NHS nor how this could possibly be improved by all of the government’s cost-saving measures.

Week in Week out last evening gave Ann Clwydd the opportunity to speak on behalf of the thousands of complainants of NHS services.  The most staggering figure I noted was the fact that the NHS has actually closed 2700 beds over the past decade, whereas I have been only saying that ‘over a thousand had been cut to save money. 2700 ! less beds leaves no wondering about why waiting lists are so long for hospital consultations or for elective surgery.  With less beds ( including ITU ), fewer rural services that have been rationalised or centralised, plus the fact that there will only be four A&E units where patients can now be admitted to hospital. [ The NHS will say five A&E units, but they are counting one at Cwmbran hospital that isn’t even off the drawing board yet ]

So First Minister, how have you got the bare-faced cheek to lie to the Assembly members, as well as the general public , about the improvements to the health service ?  Also, what can we do to eliminate this unaccountable, incompetent government, short of staging a massive riot? The best we can hope for is a coalition government where Labour do not have overall power.

With regard to the waiting lists, they will only increase – along with mortality rates – because many are still waiting for a diagnosis. More will die in transit to distant hospitals, with  deaths of patients awaiting cardiac surgery increasing in ever greater numbers.

Therefore Mr First Minister, realise the huge crisis in our Health Service and DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT !!              R.  W.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

£2.4 m Pledged to Reduce Cardiac Surgery Waiting Times

Investment pledged after doctor’s group finds ‘substantial work to do’

Once again, our First Minister has committed several Terminalogical  inexactitudes about the so-called improvements that have been made in Wales with many public services. It is a shame that Sir Winston could not have enjoyed a titter or two by listening to Carwyn Jones’ Annual Report.

Certainly, in my area of expertise – NHS Wales - , and in my capacity as a patient advocate, I am not obliged to follow the niceties of Parliamentary protocol.  With regard to the groundless claims of improvements in NHS Wales ( and the spurious figures quoted ) I can safely suggest that he fits the adage “There are Lies, Damn lies, and Statistics”.  We mustn’t forget that his Health Minister, Puffessor Prudence Drakeford ( of Prudent Healthcare fame ) has an excellent knowledge of the last word in the adage, but is a bumbling amateur with the first two parts. Still if he keeps on trying for a few more years, he may succeed in reporting some accurate figures to his Lord and Master that will enable that strutting bully-boy to sound as if he gives a damn.

Whereas this article purports to report ‘Good News’, it fails miserably because of the usual absence of any meaningful information.  Examples are timescales for rates of reductions in waiting lists, who is going to achieve these improvements, and when will we be able to be told  ( honestly ) how these many reductions in the cardiac surgical waiting list have been achieved using the £2.4m if, and when, it actually becomes available ? Of course, If our incompetent and uncaring Ministers can’t answer these important questions, perhaps Mr Adam Cairns may care to provide this data, without the usual accompanying B.S.  It is an unfortunate fact that, if the actual reductions are only equal to the daily additions to the waiting list, sending patients to hospitals far and wide will be an exercise in futility – not forgetting the waste of £2.4 m is what appears to be a bad attempt at believable Public Relations. And - a year after the damning report by the Royal College of Surgeons - why did it take so long for the Health Board to DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT???      R.  W.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Regardless of public opinion, we're going ahead !

Hospital Plans are approved by health council

The unpopular proposed changes to hospital services, announced in The South Wales Programme nearly two years ago, have finally been approved by the Cwm Taf health council.  These highly controversial changes to our hospital services were put to consultation in late 2012.  We criticised these changes, stating that the consultation would be completely bogus and that the plans would be implemented even before the final decision was taken.  Over 60% of the general public objected to all these changes, which was always a fait accompli to patients throughout Wales, regardless of their massive response, their genuine concerns, and the impact on each area affected by the changes.

Now, after the announcement was made, the public outrage has been deafening  to all but our corrupt government and their NHS poodle.  In the history of all the bogus consultations, conducted by the health boards, ALL have been approved against the wishes of the people.  However, this latest act of treachery has set a new precedent, even for our incompetent, uncaring Labour government - this being the inevitable result of 15 years of increasing autocracy in Wales, permitted by weak, ineffective opposition of the other parties. No sooner than health and education were devolved, all hope of democratic government was lost simply because The Welsh traitor government could no longer be over-ruled by Parliament in Westminster. 

Now, we must all prepare ourselves for the deadly affect that ten years of cost-cutting rationalisation and centralisation have inflicted on OUR ( much reduced ) HEALTH SERVICE.  Access to our A&E, Neo-natal and paediatric services will be logistically difficult because of the distances that patients and their families will have to travel.  Combine this fact with the distances that will have to be covered by the emergency services, and mortality rates are bound to rise exponentially due to the stupidity of these ill-thought-out changes.  We are said to be left with 5 A&E departments, even though this number includes the highly doubtful new hospital at Cwmbran which – as with other recent capital projects – will be farmed out to a private, profit-making developer.  Whatever the decision, we have to suffer years with only four A&E units that cannot possibly fulfil the needs of our ever-increasing population.

The only hope for the future healthcare of our children and the elderly is that this evil Labour government will be voted out at the next assembly elections.  The dissatisfaction of all Welsh people will be greater even than the recent UKIP tsunami, and we all must hope that a new, equitable form of government will be formed.   R. W.

Cuts reduce Cardiac Aftercare

Dear readers,

 After my stay in hospital, followed by 4 weeks of Diverticultis, and my anxiety of my continuing heart failure, I’ve decided to quote an article from the ‘I’ newspaper that is relevant to all of us who suffer serious heart problems.

Cuts leave heart attack victims prone to anxiety - by Charlie Cooper and Pippa Bailey

Patients who have had a heart attack are being left without psychological support despite evidence that nearly half suffer anxiety and depression, which in extreme cases heightens their risk of dying from the condition.

One in five patients will develop serious depression after a heart attack or similar cardiac emergency, and another 25% experience less serious depressive symptoms.

Recent research has revealed that these psychological problems are linked with poorer outcomes for cardiac patients, and much higher risk of dying. Despite this, the number of UK heart patients, the number of patients being offered  psychological treatment has halved.. British Heart Foundation blame cuts to Cardiac services forced by NHS budget squeeze in England, which has seen mental health care disproportionately affected.

In 2009 – 2010, 16 % of cardiac patients in the UK were offered  specialist mental health support, a figure which has dropped to just 9% this year, according to the BHF.  Fifty six percent of patients receive no rehabilitation services – help with lifestyle, exercise and diet – whatsoever.  Dr Mike Knapton, the BHF’s Associate Medical Director, said that cuts in mental health services were in direct conflict with the government’s professed commitment to “parity of esteem” between physical and mental healthcare.

Dr Martin McShane, from NS England said “Their is a significant benefit in treating physical and mental health in an integrated fashion “. ( article ends ).

From personal experience, I have suffered from continuous anxiety depression, which has worsened since I have been informed that there is nothing more that can be done for me.   R.W.