Thursday, 19 July 2012

No confidence in Health Minister? Surely not?

So there was a vote of no confidence scheduled this week against Lesley Griffiths, the Welsh Health Minister. I can't help but wonder why they bothered since 'The motion was not binding, meaning it would not have forced her to resign.' She survived by one single vote, although maybe 'survived' is the wrong word since there was no actual danger to her job in the first place? *scratches head in wonder*

It seems a little silly to even ask Lesley Griffiths to confirm that her 'officials' have done nothing to prejudice the 'independent' report since she's highly unlikely to say "well, actually, we realise that we've done a really bad job with budgeting and allowing the Health Boards to do whatever they like and didn't want the truth to be printed for all to see" - when in actual fact, anyone with half a brain (yes that probably rules out the majority of Cardiff Bay) can see that Health Services in Wales are shocking, to say the least.

I must admit, I did feel just a little hopeful when I saw the news last week relating to this report and seeing Lesley Griffiths' name dragged through the mud. Only for a split second though. It did occur to me that Edwina Hart and Jane Hutt before her have been equally as rubbish in the role so what difference does it make if they replace Lesley Griffiths with another red monkey? They need someone who doesn't get private medical care through BUPA (this is just an assumption, but it would be amusing, right?).

The reality of the situation now, is that we have an expensive report that will nott/cannot be taken seriously, and is therefore a complete waste of time, effort and money.

Bravo WAG.

L Spragg

Sunday, 15 July 2012

The ( new ) Auditor General Says that the NHS is "simply unaffordable".

At a time when I am begging for support against these merciless and ( to my mind ) unnecessary cuts to life-saving health services, the New Auditor General, Huw Vaughan Thomas pours more coal into the furnace that ensures that these cuts cannot be reversed states grandly that "The NHS is 'Simply Unaffordable'. So how have we managed all these decades, and what has changed - apart from government cowardice - to make these changes appear necessary ? Of course, there is no answer, merely empty meaningless words such as "the status Quo is not an option", and "services are not fit for purpose" ( whatever the hell either patronising terms means ). Now, this Auditor General shows that he is from the same kennels that produced his predecessors. and all the miserable, feigning civil service whelps that do the bidding of their masters with such apparent zeal. No - we can get no comfort from the saying 'a new broom sweeps clean'. Instead it is 'carry on sweeping all the abuses of public funding under the carpet, whilst obeying every wish of HQ in Cathays Park' He was asked to re-examine the shameful corruption that led to Sully Hospital ( and grounds ) being gifted to Galliard Developments - by our crooked Health Trust Directors - for a paltry £2m, for all that the sales bumf specified. They actually paid £3m in total - the extra million being for land not offered to any other of the 104 potential bidders, and supposedly not to be developed.

Now this ridiculous Mandarin of Financial matters, makes the stupid statement the 'The NHS is Unaffordable". Of course what he really means is that under constricting budgets, the government will not pay out for the health services as promised by the great Aneurin Bevan. The key to this awful deceit, is the blatant unwillingness of an incompetent government to meet the healthcare needs of our growing population. As with the local authority in the Vale ( the Bryneithin scam ), the government - now through the so-called 'independent' General - is attempting to blindly place some kind of viability test to health services that are essential. As I have said many times, this means of testing the management of public funds by health authorities ( or any public service, for that matter ) is errant nonsense. Where have 'Honesty', 'Truthfulness', Transparancy', and 'Openness' gone ???? And who created all of this empty rhetoric to replace these important vales ??? Perhaps there is a secret 'Minister of Words' in our government, rewriting the English language, to ensure that all of us remain completely bemused by their dishonest and ( certainly) insincere declarations ? And, STILL, the incompetent Leslie Griffiths remains in office with the stubborness of a mule. R.W.

More broken promises to the mentally ill- more shame on the Health Authorities

Whilst awaiting the news of Leslie Griffiths' impending 'Bob Diamond' moment - when ashe is unceremonially ejected from her Ministerial post and reassigned to the canteen till - I became extremely depressed over two articles about the poor treatment of the mentally ill, and of course, their carers. First there was the report 'Scandal of children on adult psychiatric wards'. This urgent topic has been reported for some thirty years now, and still the Health Boards are placing vulnerable children in adult wards with mixed sex, acutely ill patients. Promise after promise has been broken by the uncaring Health Boards who treat all mentally ill patients with scant concern. Similarly, the necessity of same gender wards has been ignored, from even as far back the report of the Royal College of Psychiatrists in 2000. Now, if that highly esteemed body is treated with contempt, what hope is there for the rest of us ? ( Echo 12th JUly 2012 ).

Next, on the 14th inst, in the same Echo I read 'Mental health suicide worry' among patients being condemned to be treated in their own homes ( where most of their problems probably occurred ). Once again, the loyal Royal College of Nursing has called for 'proper investment' to ensure that mental heathcare in the community was safe. Peter Meredith-Smith, Mental Health Lead and Employment Relations Director states, "The ongoing shift in mental healthcare from inpatient services to communitysettings requires proper investment if we are to ensure that mental healthcare in the community is safe and therapeutic". Well said, Sir ! Unfortunately your idea of 'proper healthcare' and that of the Health Boards is as far apart as planet earth and planet Uranus. Inspite of the urgent need for these corrections, I have to say that I doubt very much if I will see them in the time left to me by the Almighty. I just wish that all my efforts ( and those of my colleague, 'Magpie') could produce some modicum of improvement in the services to the Mentally ill. Somebody MUST be listening SOMEWHERE, surely ? R.W.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Dr Tony

Once again, our ex Chief Medical Officer continues to confuse us with figures in para 1of his recent statement - "More than half the population ( of Wales ) are overweight or obese, and a third do little physical activity." So, children : 1/2 = 3/6ths and 1/3rd = 2/6ths, making a total of 5/6ths, or 83.3% of the population. How the great mathmedical brain arrived at this figure is a complete mystery, which the great sage fails to disclose. ( lack of evidence has never prevented anyone in NHS Wales from making similar stupid statements ).

However, surely the Taliban-esque headline is enough to send us running in terror towards a Dietician before most of us explode in a blur of disgusting flesh ? After all such alarmism is ( usually ) quite effective.

Personally speaking, if pseudo-intellectuals like the scene-stealing doctor, continue to blind us with this mathmedical B.S. ( business statists, of course ), we will all remain in ignorance of what it is we are expected to do. Frankly I am amazed that so many poor citizens - existing in Wales' many areas of deprivation - can afford to get fat. Certainly we poor pensioners would find it extremely difficult on our meagre pensions but - with Cameron telling us that the elderly must bear their share of the cuts - perhaps Dr Jewell will explain all in his Final, final report ? R. W.

Dr Tony Jewell -

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Health Minister - in The Dock, at last

Laugh ? I nearly wet myself. Professor Marcus Longley was asked to write a report about the changes to be made in NHS Wales, and - as with every other report or consultation ordered by 'The Minister' - it has come to light that the results of the report were pre-ordained by close work ( or collusion, I prefer ) between the eminent Professor and his paymasters in the Welsh government, specifically Leslie Griffiths' own band of loyal civil services, who are similarly paid to "Do what you're told, or take a hike" ( well, you didn't think everyone in this corrupt government had any freedom to say anything that remotely bears a resemblence to the truth - did you ? )

So, it has come to pass that the Minister- after her thorough makeover in her appearance - stands before the A.M.s from all parties, attempting to justify this typical collusion between anyone asked to write an 'Independent report' ( Yeah right ) on pre-determined matters, such as all the recent inexplicable changes made to parts of our health service. Then these 'after-the-event' spurious reports are given the "We welcome the findings of report XYZ, as it shows that the status quo is NOT an option". Or, in other words 'Thanks Marcus for confirming exactly what we told you to confirm, in return for the huge fee paid to you".

And the 'dear leader' adopts the Kim Il Jong posture by saying, "I was not lying, nor have I - or anyone in my department ( oops-a-daisy ) done anything to influence the findings of this report." Well, that's about as believable as Scientologists that we are are all Thetans who have taken over our bodies etc etc ad nauseum.

I really do hope that she gets ripped apart in public, before being made to resign. And poor old Carwyn has got his work cut out to find another dumb fall-guy to do his bidding or suffer a similar fate to her/his predecessors. Meanwhile, the public is kept completely mystified by this sudden claim of 'Transparancy" over changes that they were obviously too stupid to understand - hence they were never asked. R.W.

A Process of 'Natural Selection' ?

13 Carers…one resident…£450,000 bill – Echo 9th July 2012.
Peter Collins’ article is, as usual, heavily biased towards the Vale Council’s deliberate misrepresentation of the events that lead to this seemingly wasteful position. The council brought this situation about because they wanted to profit by selling the Bryneithin site for housing. To bring this situation about, they stopped any maintenance of the building in order to say it was dilapidated, too expensive to refurbish and ‘unsuitable for purpose’. This was a typically underhanded way of achieving their goal of closing this care home, prior to selling the site. Their skulduggery continued when they limited the number of patients that could be in Bryneithin, thereby creating a situation that spread the total overhead cost over fewer residents, which made it seem that the home wasn’t ‘viable’. [ Here, I have to say that attaching any viability test to the only specialist care home for the elderly mentally infirm is as stupid as saying that a road or a pavement wasn’t viable ]. Also, social or health care service provision should be assessed in accordance with current and future need. Needless to say, that neither the Vale Council nor the Health Board have conducted a Needs Assessment for their area for over a decade.

Therefore it is an easy untruth to say that this specialist home should be closed because of lack of use – by limiting the number of residents, then stopping any new admissions completely – because they have provided no evidence whatsoever as to the need for Care Homes specialising in dementia patients having dropped. In fact, the need for specialist homes for the care of dementia patients is growing as the ‘BabyBoomers’ are increasing the number of the elderly, exponentially.
Therefore, the Vale Council have deliberately wasted all of this money in order to appear pious and long suffering over a situation they created with cunning premeditation. Also this disparity is exacerbated by elected hypocrites of all parties, whose primary concern is the preservation of their fat-cat lifestyles. The truth of the matter is that there are a growing number of Elderly Mentally Infirm for whom adequate care will no longer exist. Incurable dementia patients are being herded together with non-suffers and classed as being ‘geriatric’, whose needs are considerably less costly to provide.

Margo Farbrace and her friends and colleagues have fought hard for years to retain this much-needed specialist care facility, whilst the authorities have shunned their Duty of Care by callously dismissing all reasonable, intelligent argument, and the legal rights of these terminally ill patients. So, the carpetbaggers and other hypocritical Public Servants are hell-bent on reducing the population of the Elderly Mentally Infirm by depriving them of care in order to shorten their lifespan. If readers have elderly relatives, fight now for the care they will need. R. W.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Animals are important too. A thoughtful interlude

Just to break the monotony of the incompetence of NHS Wales and the Health Boards, I wanted to write a post about my little dog and his frighteningly sudden health problem. I say 'little' but my boy pulls on his lead, struts about like a Rottweiller, and scratches the ground with his back paws whenever another canine crosses his path. He's tough - especially on rats and those despicable cats - and regularly digs deep holes in the garden, presumably looking for foxes or, perhaps, Badgers. All this makes it more surprising that he became seriously ill when I took him to my daughter's last weekend. She has two Labradours and Jake has 'designs' on mating with one of them, futily of course.

However, he was car-sick before we left the M42 for the A38 to Hilton. It wasn't much, but I still stopped at the services to walk him in the fresh air. Happily, we arrived in Hilton and Jake was ready to pursue his chocolate Labradour with the enthusiasm of any Casanova. Unfortunately, after a comfort break in the rear garden, he was sick over the carpet as he re-entered the house. We all thought that the culprit was one of the Labs, but it soon became apparent that Jake had suddenly become listless and generally unwell. He was vomitting all through the night, and I was horrified to see blood mixed in with his sputum. After cleaning up the many patches of mess, I decided that he must see a vet - urgently - even though it was early on a Sunday morning. My daughter called her vet and a half hour later he was examining a very sick dog. Jake was badly dehydrated and was put on a drip, even though he tried nip the vet before his leg was shaved. I found the process upsetting and suddenly realised how much I needed Jake to get better. I was numb when the vet said that he probably had Pova ( a deadly virus that causes necrosis of the intestines ), and could only watch while two shots of antibiotic were injected into Jake's nape. Next, with the help of a nurse, Jake had a leg shaved, before the vet inserted a drip into his leg. Then, after a blood sample was taken, the nurse placed my sullen-looking pet into a cage, and the vet said that Jake was very seriously ill and we would have wait for a call later that evening. When I went outside to the car I realised that my face was wet with tears. My daughter drove us home, where we both sat looking at the phone.

When the phone rang later, the vet said that Jake was bleeding a great deal from his bottom. He added that Jake had a 50/50 chance of surviving, which stunned the whole family. Not one of us thought Jake would die - it was inconceivable, especially as he had seemed so well the previous day. We all went to bed early, where I was praying that Jake would be well, even though I felt that he would die after losing so much blood. Amazingly, the vet telephoned my daughter at 11.30pm to say that Jake had fought to stay alive and would ( he said ) recover with a strict diet, a lot of caring, and another few nights of concnetrated treatment at their 'hospital'. It was wonderful news, but we had to wait for two antibiotic injections a day, the slowness of the drip, and ( most tiringly ) desparately awaiting updates on Jake's progress.

Four days later, the miracle was complete and we were told that he definitely did not have Pova. Further, we were asked if we would visit him, with some boiled chicken, as he wouldn't eat any of their food. Liesl ( my favorite daughter ) and I entered the waiting room, clutching two warm boxes of chicken. To our surprise the senior nurse came in walking Jake on a lead, whilst holding the drip in the air. Jake was limping on his bandaged leg, looking from Liesl to me as if to see who would give him the most sympathy. The nurse handed the bag to liesl and the lead to me, then and Jake broke the tension by burying his nose in the first lot of chicken, wolfing it all down in seconds. The next container took longer to empty, followed by an unexpected jump into my lap. "Scratch me - a lot" he seemed to say. After being allowed to take him outside for a short walk, with Jake spending most of his freedom standing on three legs, we were granted permission to return at 5.00pm with more chicken.

At the promised hour, we returned to the joyous news that we could take the patient home. I paid the bill and clutched him tightly until we arrived home. The next day we wanted to go back to Cardiff but I wasn't happy with Jake looking so listless. So, against protests from my 'ex', I returned to the vets and asked for a second consultation. The vet was unhappy with Jake's condition and said that his inital thought that it was Pancreatitis was looking likely. I asked for a blood test, even though the result would not be back until the following monday. Also, I requested something to stop Jake's travel sickness and we were given two tablets, as well as a packet of tablets to give our little soldier, in the event that the blood test was positive. Once again, I paid the bill, happily, and we were on our way home to Cardiff. Unforunately, the rain had other ideas and our return journey took five hours, thanks to the M50 being closed, and my SatNav proving as reliable as a Timex watch.

So far, I've learned two lessons; I've never been a pet-lover, but I was transformed into an idiot who was prepared to spend his last dime in order to get Jake better. Secondly, I wondered, "Why isn't there an NHS for animals ?". I must be nuts, because I wouldn't even call myself an animal lover. Then I regained my senses when I realised that if the NHS had to provide animal care, there'd be a sharp increase in pet deaths, as well as their poorly served owners ! R.W.