Tuesday, 31 December 2013

2013 - a year no patient of NHS Wales will ever forgive

The Unwinnable Health Checkers Game

The last day of the year , when we all look to the New Year to be better than the last, offering - perhaps - better economic growth and a Health Service that does what it was intended to do - Provide a service of Health and Social Care at the point of need.  Whereas there is a slight chance of some economic growth - albeit through hyped-up property values, bringing higher interest rates and more bad banking practises - the chance of us having an adequate health service during 2014 is non-existent.

The Western Mail spread, entitled "A Year of Pressure on Health Services" sees our government ducking-out of any responsibility for the cost-cutting that sees less services available and accessible to us than two decades ago. However this wonderfully flattering article serves to remind us that the fault for this is the entire population of Wales and their unhealthy lifestyles. Indeed, our failure to give some of our children MMR vaccine apparently created 1000 or more cases of Measles that were being recklessly spread throughout a tiny part of Wales, yet - somehow - tied up enormous NHS resources, as though we were the cause of Typhoid and Tuberculosis which also re-entered our country via illegal and uncontrolled immigration.  Here, of course, the government doesn't attempt to quantify the cost of caring for the health of these immigrants who created grid-lock at our GP services and already inundated hospital A and E departments.

All the disasters are listed, including the deaths of more than 152 patients awaiting Cardiac surgery  -highlighted along with other failures - all declared by the Royal College of Surgeons to have been "avoidable" - yet our Incompetent Minister pathetically attempts to justify his refusal to allow an enquiry into these very serious matters. An enquiry is mandatory, especially when you read articles such as "The NHS kills more people than Shipman!", and "The University Hospital of Wales is "Unsafe" by every organisation and patient group that are qualified to judge such matters.

It is a matter of National Disgrace that our health service has been run in such a neglectful manner, as exemplified by the cancellation of operations, the increase in waiting times to more than nine months for patients to be seen at hospital.  The Staffordshire Trust was rightly pilloried for their appalling record, so why not the University Hospital of Wales, for pity's sake ? The only reason that our government is able to ignore such blatant incompetence is due to Devolution.  Since Health was devolved, inexperienced politicians and incompetent, over-paid managers tore our health services apart as casually as tearing bits off a giant chapatti at a feast.

Even after all this destruction, the Assembly member's Health and Social Care Committee write a letter of concern to the Health Minister, which he will study and respond to 'in the New Year' with as much determination as he did all other critical reports he, and his predecessors have received, telling the government that "You've got it all wrong !".  The repeated response is "We know Best" to which we all say "Like hell you do", only to be ignored yet again.

A culture of fear pervades all front-line staff, who are too afraid to criticise the NHS, as reported by the Care Quality Commission.  What is referred to by the Daily Telegraph as "A Chillingly defensive culture" where even the most outspoken Consultants were too frightened to speak out for fear of losing their jobs, is deeply imbedded in all hospitals and clinics. Consequently, it is hardly surprising that staff morale and patient care deteriorate, with the growing numbers of deaths ( due to neglect ) increasing at an alarming rate every week.

With the Minister 'Praying for Silence' it seems churlish to add that the NHS has been forced to pay out £117m in 2013, for its 'avoidable mistakes.  This is a final condemnation of the manner in which our health services are planned, implemented and run.

So much for the accuracy of reporting in the Western Mail and the South Wales Echo, who behave as lackeys, paid to print the deliberate misinformation given to them by the LHB and NHS Wales. Meanwhile, I await the first New Year's article blaming the public ( once again ) for placing an "unprecedented demand" on the NHS over the Christmas and New Year festivities.    R.W.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Could there be a cure for Cancer??

Like a large proportion of society, I have a FaceBook account.

As Robin and I like to look into Health stories, and find out every possible detail, I have various health related pages on my newsfeed, including some that look into the stories we aren't supposed to know about, or see, in today's society.

Today, I stumbled upon an article which greatly disturbed me, and it simply said 'what if I were to tell you that a cure for Cancer has existed for over 40 years, but Cancer is worth $150 million, and so it hasn't been released?'


8,000,000 people die from Cancer every year. 100,000 people a day are diagnosed with Cancer. 1/3 of those will die within 5 years of diagnosis.


For money.

That fact makes me sick to my stomach. To think some corporation (and it has to be a worldwide knowledge so that nobody let's slip) has a cure for cancer, and is just sitting on it because of their own greed.

I would post the link to the hour long documentary for you all to watch, but curiously, the webpage it was on no longer exists. If this wasn't the truth, why has the evidence been removed?? Literally in the space of 15 or so minutes, gone.

I do not remember the names of the gentlemen speaking on the documentary, all were Professors of various American Universities, or Scientists or even ex salesmen for pharmaceutical companies. All highly qualified people, knowledgeable and without bias.

The documentary stated that Carnegie, along with two other highly successful, and wealthy gentlemen, bought out medical schools and directed the teachings towards medicines and such like, rather than natural remedies, homeopathy etc. The doctors and nurses we have today have received years of training in surgical and medicinal 'cures' but what do we know about the drugs we use on a, sometimes daily, basis?

We know that Cancer treatments such as radiotherapy and chemotherapy, are carcinogens in themselves. We know that chemotherapy doesn't just target the cancer cells but also healthy cells, hence hair loss, sickness, and 'chemo brain' as it is termed (memory loss).

The doctors in the documentary tell us that chemotherapy is only successful in around 5% of patients and each weekly/monthly dose of tablets costs from $3,000 - $7,000. Obviously it is far bigger business in America, where people have to pay for their healthcare, whereas in the UK it is just a post code lottery.

We know that chemotherapy drugs have to be incinerated after use, and all medical staff are taught to handle them with the greatest care. Any gloves that have touched the treatments have to be burnt also and are so toxic, they they don't always lose toxicity just from incineration alone. THIS is what we are allowing them to pump into our loved ones to make them 'better'.

The part that upsets me most though, the children. How can these corporate fat cats sleep at night, knowing there are thousands of children dying from cancer, just so that they can earn a buck? Surely they could be earning their money honestly, finding cures and making people better. Where the hell are their morals? Their conscience?

I haven't been able to stop thinking about this since I saw it earlier. All these unnecessary deaths. It breaks my heart.

I can't write anymore, it's too horrible.

Mentally Ill Face Stigma - situation normal !

Together for Mental Health Strategy

Our Welsh Government have just given their report on this previously unheard of strategy. which claims that discrimination in general seems to be decreasing (how so ?).  They go on to say that more than 50% of the Welsh public are not willing to have someone with a mental health problem care for their children.  Also, that such a person should not be allowed to hold office ( How do they know how many there are at present, and how will they find out if anyone wishes to represent a constituency has ( or is now ) ever suffered a mental health problem ?  Should we begin a national witch-hunt to weed out all of these unsavoury, untrustworthy, and possibly dangerous characters by creating a CRB-type check for anyone who wants to care for children or wants to stand for their community ? The above questions show stigma of the worst kind, which is prevalent amongst most of the population.

When this topic has been raised before, I suggested that we should make all those is the 'mentally ill' generality wear yellow stars, so that they may be easily identified and avoided at all costs.
The report / paper goes on to confirm that most parents and people in employment feel that stigma and discrimination of the mentally ill is increasing. Most patients know already that even mentioning the word 'depression' kills off any chance of employment with most corporate entities. However, if you're homosexual or of a non-Christian faith  (in traditional dress ), speak broken English or even Welsh, you'll be hired immediately as a demonstration of the national policy of 'Equality'.

Therefore Equality isn't really equality at all because the mentally ill are not included and may be stigmatised with impunity.  In spite of this, our incompetent government announces that planning  a second phase of this battle will take place next year under the ridiculous title - 'Time to Change Wales', which looks to tackle stigma.  The rest of the report brings bile up to my throat as it is full of the type of rubbish and rhetoric shown in all government attempts to show "commitment to ending this" ( yeah right ).  Any patient who laps up this type of empty promise, should contact the Time to Change Wales programme manager, Anthony Metcalfe .

Frankly, you'd be better off  claiming to be a short, black, bald-headed, short-sighted, homosexual
scientologist, with Polish Muslim parents who don't speak a word of English, but manage to make a good living from their poppy fields ! You cannot legislate against Stigma any more than you can eliminate prejudice or religious dogma.     R.  W.

N.B.  Fellow Patients - watch out how some doctors and nurses react when your categorised as being a sufferer of a mental health problem.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

A New Mental Health Unit ?

Mental Health Unit Work Going Well

My poor old ticker missed a beat when I saw this item in the Echo, last week. After all, it isn't often that mental health gets a boost I thought.  Unfortunately, reading on dashed my hopes that - perhaps - the promised new unit at Llandough was underway. As readers will recall, the new hospital ( to replace the Victorian asylum at Whitchurch ) should have been three years into the promised four year commissioning time.  Sadly, not a brick has been laid.

The new unit is a £16.4m mental health unit near Bridgend, where groundwork is well underway for the low-secure unit at Glanrhyd hospital.  The steelwork should be completed before Christmas, after which work on the floors may begin . Eventually the unit will have 28 en-suite bedrooms, replacing the out-of-date at Glanrhyd and Cefn Coed hospitals. [ Oh no !  not two hospitals into not one again - how many beds will be lost this time ? ]. There goes the ball-game again - another cost-cutting ploy!

The new home will be for patient detained under the Mental Health Act for a range of challenging  behaviours including self-neglect, self-harm and aggression. It will also provide patients who may have previously had to receive their care in England, with the care and support they need closer to home.

Acting clinical Director for Mental Health, Gill Thornton said "The unit will provide modern fit-for-purpose ( ? )facilities for patients to recover and regain the independence to live at home" ( yawn ). This unit will be open in December 2014.

How they've got the nerve to call this a low-secure unit, beats me !  However, pity the poor patients stuck in Whitchurch hospital for another four years - Such are the NHS promises.      R.  W.

Another child is failed by inadequate Mental Health Services

Moving Tribute to 'My Boy Derek'

The fact that suicide rates are increasing is lamentable, and ( in my opinion ) totally due to the vastly reduced mental health services - the Cinderella Service. - but the suicide of a 1..4 year old boy is beyond a tragedy.  Derek Brundrett was found in the grounds of his school in Pembrokeshire.

His distraught father could only write, "To my boy Derek,  Sorry for for being there for you. Should have tried harder, you will always be in my thoughts every minute of every day as you have been since you were born."

He also appeared to blame bullying for Derek's death, writing in a separate message, "Bullies, I am coming for you.  Now my life is not worth living.

The headteacher trotted out the usual banal ..platitude, "He was a likeable and popular student with a group of close friends."

How many deaths of children and adolescents do we have to suffer before anything is done  by our pathetic government to help them ?  If we can't protect our children............ ?      R.  W.

Operations to be delayed - AGAIN !

Health Board set to delay ops to cope with winter surge

Hywel Dda health board has set out its' proposals for dealing with expected activity during winter.  As one of the five worst performing health boards in Wales, they join their fellow boards in exercising maximum managerial incompetence in  predicting a log jam of patients that will have been created entirely on their own, supported by the Minister, of course.

All Health Boards expect to be at maximum capacity, despite us all being half-way through winter already. Most health pundits - especially Dr Richard Lewis of BMA Wales - express some surprise, a they see NHS in Wales at capacity on a daily basis.  So there we have it - the Minister and all health boards are gearing up for dealing with the predicted 'unprecedented demand' - via GPs referrals and other 999 calls to our few A&E departments - yet the BMA indicate the situation couldn't get worse than on a 'normal' day !

Hywel Dda are mentioned for bravely stating that they will be delaying some elective orthopaedic operations. With thousands of operations already having been delayed, it seems that the other health Boards will carry on with delaying operations as they have been all year. Needless to say the usual suspects to be blamed will be the patients ( who, apparently cancel most of their ops themselves ? ), and our already 'flogged to death' ambulance service, who will have even longer journeys to A&E thanks to the changes underway ( yet still not approved ? ).

At this time, we have heard that Minister Drakeford "profoundly regrets" the recent avoidable deaths of eight liver operations.  This creation of an even higher level of regret, still does not dissuade the Minister from having the mandatory external investigation, even though these fatalities add to the tragic total of 152 avoidable cardiac deaths, as reported by the Royal College of surgeons.  His pathetic excuse is that their own 'established monitoring systems' exposed the failure of a liver consultant. Odd, then, that the same monitoring system (LoL) failed to notice the cardiac failures ., whilst the death toll was mounting, higher and higher.

As I have reported previously, Health is devolved, with no more controls or checks by Parliament, except the overall budget. Obviously, this is a consequence of the regrettable devolution process that has so patently failed to deliver any service improvements or economic gains for Wales.  If only we could go back in time to stop this stupid mistake !   R.  W.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Drakeford Puts his Foot Down !

The Laddy's not for turning - Wales Report - Huw Edwards

Huw Edwards is - without doubt - the best Anchor Man and Presenter in the business - bar none !

Mark Drakeford is - without doubt - as useless as udders on a bull, following the same inflexible path of destruction of NHS Wales as his predecessors. Huw Edwards usually reduces interviewees to their DNA, but the entire show appeared to be a medium for the Health Minister to look almost knowledgeable about health matters and also a bit intelligent.

Marcus Longley threw in a few brilliant observations, such as, "The NHS is not coping with emergency cases, and "people have been lulled into a false sense of security, believing they will get  good treatment" ( which, of course is like shooting craps and hoping for a 7 ). He also added that "NHS money is not being spent to best effect " [ No - REALLY ? ]. Huw then asked Drakeford why the NHS in Wales was performing so badly, according to many newspaper reports and most of public opinion.

Undeterred ( and with a face straighter than studio wall ) he said, "Wales' performance is the same as England, in fact, identical". He then claimed "that their were no cuts made in Wales and that 43% of the Welsh budget was spent on the NHS".  Huw Edwards managed not to burst into laughter and aske "Why then has the Kings Fund ( completely independent ) reported that Wales has suffered 8% cuts for each of the past three years, and the Conservatives showed that £800m of cuts had been made over the same period. ?" Incredibly, the Minister claimed that their had 8% growth in the NHS".

After a pause to allow Huw to regain his seat, he asked the MInister "Why then are their nothing bur reports of Failure in the NHS ?" Drakeford countered with, "there are more pressures not failures.." and went on to meekly report that "Nurses have been given another £10m for next year" [ BIG blinking DEAL - RW ].

Huw then moved onto more fertile ground, asking about the awful delays at A&E departments, where some people were waiting in ambulances for 12 hours. Ignoring the disaster that is UHW, which is now closed to passers by who want to rest, Drakeford trotted out the usual pathetic excuse that "Last winter A&E suffered "Unprecedented pressures from patients, which was ( of course ) the cause of the long waits" ( yeah right ) . Not satisfied with that insult, he went on to say, "...that too many people turned up to Morriston Hospital A&E that didn't need treatment".

The next question was "What about the lack of beds to put A&E admissions into hospital ?" [ over 800 cut - RW ]. Drakeford parried with "People should be moved out of hospital beds, more people are receiving residential care, preferring to stay in their homes". ( no mention of all the residential homes that had been closed by local authorities, of course ).

Huw responded "..but aren't you just shifting one problem to another area, and delaying matters" ( by not being busy fabricating reasons why he intends to completely ignore public opinion ).

The Minister then leant forward saying, "When a matter is put to me, I consider it and then make a decision...."  He added that, "...once I make my decision there is no changing it. People from Llanelli have tried to raise the matter with me but I have told them that I am only willing to discuss the implementation of the change. I am satisfied that the changes are necessary ".

Death rates were the next topic, with Huw saying "How is that 11 out of 17 Welsh hospitals had higher death rates that anywhere else in the UK  ( over 100 deaths ), as reported independently and confirmed by Ann Clwydd. ?" The Minister said that he didn't agree with much that was in her report. He claimed that the NHS Wales was performing well with "Huge patient successes". He chose to finish by saying, "The average A&E waiting time was 6 minutes" ( apparently causing a lot of choking noises in the studio ).

As I have already stated in earlier posts, there seems to be a huge chasm between Drakeford's assertions and the truth - suprise suprise !    R.  W.

N.B.  Regretfully. the topic of the damning report be the Royal College of Surgeons that UHW was 'dangerous' and that there had been 152 avoidable deaths of cardia patients waiting for surgery'.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Marcus Longley shows his contempt for the truth.

"Mental Health is no longer the Cinderella Service" - ( The professor Hypes himself up to a point where 'Nutty' becomes a more appropriate description of his opinions. )

 - Go tell it to Debbie and Anthony Jones of Ely, and their teenage daughter Chloe, Marcus ! - (see Echo article "Daughter's treatment has torn us apart"

Having been appointed as a Director of the Universally Inept Health Board ( Cardiff and Vale Chapter ), this learned Professor chooses to make his mark in the 'Monumentally Stupid Statements" category with his unbelievable declaration, as above.

Chloe is one of 27 children who have been placed outside of Wales for mental health treatment.  She is currently being treated at Huntercombe Hospital, Maidenhead, in their high dependency unit. This is because her nearest treatment centre - TyLlidiard, Bridgend - was unable to cope with her. [ Unable to cope with a 16 year old mentally ill child ???? I do not believe it ! ]  And - What of the other 26 children ? What excuse has been proffered for them being moved ?

Maidenhead is 125 miles away and the Jones' do not own or run a motor car, so they have to rely on the help of friends, making their visits too infrequent in an all too tragic situation, not of their making.  In fact Chloe was given initial treatment at Ty Llydiard but then had to spend 9 weeks at Huntercombe Hosand .  Afterwards, Chloe was  back at her home for her 16th birthday. However, she was once again admitted to Ty Lydiard, prior to the staff there sending her on to Huntercombe, away from her family again.

Debbie and Anthony Jones do not get help with any travel or subsistence costs, which makes their visits to their daughter fewer and far between. Unlike Ty Lydiard, Huntercome does not provide any facilities for parents to stay with their children.  The Jones' have to find the money to stay in nearby hotels to be near their sick child.

Incredibly, Dr Paul Davies of Cwm Taf Health Board says, "There are not enough young people in Wales suffering with specific mental health issues to require ( justify ) a local specialist unit".  NHS Wales is quiet in response with Minister, mark Drakeford offering sympathy, adding that "This situation is rare".  How comforting are these words for the Jones' in their hour of great need ?

Unsurprisingly, no information is available on the other 26 children that are forced to seek treatment out of Wales.  This information needs to be made public so that the extent of the negligence in failing to treat these children may be fully investigated and corrected.  Previously, my colleagues and I have been informed that as many as 40 older patients have been sent 'out of area' for treatment - simply because, the Welsh NHS has decimated our mental health services without any thought for their relatives.

So-called 'experts' like Marcus Longley have been paid to hype up mental services to a point where their remarks have been  so misleading and irresponsible that patients ( and their families ) demand more transparency and openness from our incompetent government and their lackeys.  All the hype surrounding changes to the health services that ( supposedly ) will improve patient satisfaction have now been shown to be myth - a cruel joke on all those families who will suffer avoidable deaths because treatment for their illnesses is no longer accessible to them or their loved ones.   R.  W.

Ministry of Fear Strikes Again

'Bankruptcy' Fear for NHS

This article is so stupid, I rank it in the top 10 of the most stupid I have ever had the misfortune to read.

Professor Sir Mansel Aylward, Chair of the Bevan Commission ( a group of international experts who give advice to the Health Minister ) claims that the financial pressures facing the NHS are the "worst in history".  Well, at least he has a 'Sir' before his name, which must make him important to some people.

Patients of the NHS are not so stupid - contrary to popular government opinion - and they know all-too-well that the financial pressures are created internally by producing unexplained figures of over budget health services.  Of course, we are never informed which of these services are causing the problem but - again - this really is irrelevant.  The most important fact known to patients is that all of their health services have been cut by centralisation, rationalisation, and a perverse belief that these changes are - somehow - going to provide us with a service "Fit for Purpose" ( whatever the hell that means.). Nothing could be further from the truth, as all patients know that their services are more inaccessible than ever, with little likelihood of getting any treatment for common ailments and little hope for the elderly and the chronically ill, under this new regime of fear.

To get back to the stupid title of this article, it is impossible for a publicly funded service to become insolvent or bankrupt.  They are not commercial entities and are not measured by such notions of 'Profit or Loss'.  Consequently, to even claim that 'near bankruptcy' is possible is highly irresponsible and deliberately misleading.  For ten or more years our government has progressively and systematically reduced; community hospitals, District hospital departments, Mental Health facilities, with over 800 beds being cut in recent years in order to save money.  Why? we are not told, nor are we permitted access to any of the financial information of; health boards, hospitals, specialities, or the need to cut any of these services.  Instead, we are insulted with statements like the above and so-called 'facts' such as "Cardiff and Vale Health Board has to lose £57.5m this coming year.  Again - no 'Why' or 'how'.

The only information you are given is, that IT IS ALL OUR FAULT !  Not a word about irresponsible banking, poor governance, incompetent management, or such things as spending fortunes on furniture for A.M.s, and a forest of potted plants ( to name but two items). Sadly, Orwell's 1984 is upon us with no democracy whatsoever, no freedom of expression, and the Thought Police taking the form of  intrusive acts of; phone hacking', interception of all electronic communications and, not forgetting the CCTV that records our every urban movement, wherever we care to go !      R.  W.

Monday, 9 December 2013

Ambulance Times Contradiction.

Drakeford's Foot in Mouth attack

2weeks ago, our dear old Minister of health reported how pleased he was that 98% of ambulance times were being met at the 65% target.

Now - TODAY - we get the F.o.I figures on ambulance times, throughout the UK, showing that Wales has the WORST times of all.  Once again. there appears a huge chasm between the Minister's version of events and the TRUTH.

Perhaps the old boy is misinformed and can't be bothered to check the information he is given, OR, he is a consummate LIAR.

My conclusion that he has shot himself in the foot, again, and - as Churchill said - "Made a "slight terminological inaccuracy". ( Hoots of derisive laughter ! ).    R.  W.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Minister Refuses Review - again !

 NHS Review call rejected by Minister - 27.11.2013

I find it hard to believe that such a silly, deaf and arrogant man, as Professor Mark Drakeford, is still able to hold down his job as Minister for Health.

He rejects the deafening calls for a review into all the accusations of 'Dangerous Hospital', The Royal College of Surgeons Report that (amongst other bad news ) reported that 152 avoidable deaths of Cardiac Patients on the surgical waiting list.  In addition, Senior Doctors, the Head of Junior Doctors, Health Inspectorate Wales, the Royal College of Nursing, the British Medical Association, and countless other health experts from as far away as Wellington New Zealand, have condemned the University Hospital of Wales as being so dangerous, they would not like their relatives treated there.

Wales NHS and our incompetent government have allowed the closure of more essential health services than are left standing, since the assembly was formed.

Everyone ( and his dog ) knows that the reason is to cut costs, and NOT Salami as one stupid UHB board member claimed.  Even after years of public outcry and representations in all forms, the Minister is allowed to 'Carry on Regardless' like the other mindless characters in 'Carry On' films.

It is reasonable to suggest that the unworkable dog's breakfast that NHS Wales has been allowed to become, is more than a match for the deaths and misconduct at Mid-Staffordshire hospital.  The only difference is that the NHS in Wales is Devolved, so our incompetent government can do as they like, without batting an eyelid over the deaths they have caused and will cause in future.  With a majority in the Bandstand, they ignore public and professional opinion with impunity, choosing to preserve the myth that everything is under control.

I sincerely can't wait for the day when NHS Wales is charged with Corporate Manslaughter, and the silly MInister is made to serve a lengthy term in jail !      R. W.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

NHS Will Face Winter Strain ( Yeah Right )

One Health Board is already planning on delaying ops, due to the public expected to be making "unprecedented demands" over the forthcoming winter period. Consequently, patients in Mid and West Wales, already waiting more than nine months for their first hospital appointment, can give up all hope of receiving their life-saving intervention until at least a year from now, thanks to Hywel Dda health board. Doubtless, the other four Health Boards will follow suit, in preference to making their traditional excuses that it's all our fault.

Mark Drakeford ( away from his frozen allotment ) helped the situation by stating that "Health Boards were doing all they could to prepare, but they are not immune to pressure" He fails to add that pressure will rise in proportion to the loss of A and E services elsewhere in Wales. Of course, he is confident that ambulance services will improve their performance although I don't fancy the chances of patients surviving up to the three hour drive to their nearest A and E department from the remote rural areas, even if they're not chronically ill. By the time they arrive at UHW, they can get more rest waiting to be delivered to the "Assessment Centre", until they eventually get to wait in a worn-out chair to be summoned by a doctor dressed in welcoming black.

After being assessed as 'still alive', you will experience the joy of waiting for a medical doctor ( dressed in mufti ) who will minutely examine your disease-ridden body whilst asking you questions about your condition - the answers to which are already on their computers. After ordering all tests, the pressured doctor will leave you for several more hours until the consultant becomes free enough to confirm that you either need major surgery, or that you are fit enough to go home.
[ after my own experience of the Revolving Door protocol, I was in extreme pain for a total of four weeks during which my G.P. kept repeating, "It will go, don't worry - take pain-killers and get plenty of rest". ]  And still, the consultants shout that they are near 'meltdown', the poor highly paid dabs.

All the while, the over-worked staff ( nurses, porters, phlebs etc ) are expected to do twice as much in the same time as the last time they were overloaded.  'A spokeswoman' says "has my headcount reduced year on year ?  and.  "Is it likely to reduce again".  Answer - "Yes, it has decreased and it is highly likely to reduce again, but it's transformational change rather than salami slicing is what gives us the benefit"
[ HUH ? What'd she say ? "Are we patients being referred to as Salami now ??? ).  R. W.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Views on Health Revamp Revealed ( really ? )

Views on Health Revamp Revealed ?

Why isn’t the information revealed ? – see www.wales.nhs.uk/swp/post-consultation-documents

So much information but few detailed responses, with most of the responses Showing no  detail at all.

How is, it that so much information – a huge volume of print and illustrations – produces so few facts, yet churns out a boat-load of rhetoric – meaningless, insincere and not worth the paper consumed by  - voluminous publication ?  For instance, 27,567 questionnaires were completed but – you guessed it – not a single one is made available for us to see.

Not surprisingly, the Universally Inept Health Board still claim that their ‘Best Fit’ option is the most popular, but what do the public say ?  If you look at the written responses ( I read every one of the  contents of 7 items ), the sum total of views were 244 against the proposed changes, with only 67 for any of the options.  So, if we assume only half of the questionnaires were supportive, then we still would see double the number of those against the proposals. Therefore, the massive lie in this article is that most responders were FOR the Best Fit option, with the written responses favouring Option 4.

A spokesperson said that most Health Boards will make their decision later in the year  Based on the above evidence, it would be really going against public opinion if any of the changes were approved.  Somehow, I have a feeling that the NHS and our government will insist on total acceptance of all of the changes.  That would make for a very sad day indeed !

With the sleet pouring down on us from the skies, it cannot be long before the bleatings of blame on an 'unprecedented' number of us are to blame for the forthcoming overload and inevitable gridlock.  The real blame lies with the Government and their NHS toadies who will have deliberately engineered this situation by cutting resources to the bone.  Mark my words, no one in the government or the NHS will accept any responsibility for the chaos and the inevitable increase in deaths that will result  from their stupid, callous changes.   R. W.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

UHW apologises (again)

The Cardiff and Vale University Health Board has apologised to a young mother, after incorrectly diagnosing a silent miscarriage (otherwise known as a missed miscarriage), at the University Hospital of Wales.

A silent miscarriage is where the foetus' heart has stopped beating, however the female body has not recognised the loss, and therefore, does not abort the pregnancy in the typical 'miscarriage' scenario. Many women only find out about the loss at their routine 12 week scan (or 10.5 weeks in the C&VUHB area).

After the diagnosis, there would usually be a confirmation scan to ensure that this was indeed the correct diagnosis, then the woman would need to decide on a course of action which, would include a possible procedure to extract the remaining pregnancy from the uterus or tablets to encourage the body to miscarry iteself. In some cases, the body can naturally miscarry a week or so after the news of the loss. The whole process is deeply traumatic and can have lasting psychological effects on, not only the mother, but the father and any family involved.

Emily Wheatley, from Monmouth, was wrongly diagnosed with a silent miscarriage, by a sonographer at the University Hospital of Wales (UHW). It was discovered that the hospital is using guidelines that are two years out of date, and could have been making the same mistakes as far back as 2006.

Investigations only took place after the ombudsman, Mr Peter Tyndall, was involved in the above case, as the health board would not acknowledge any wrong doing.

Quote from BBC News:
Peter Tyndall, Public Service Ombudsman for Wales, said it was an "unacceptable mistake" which should have been avoided and he has called a review of midwife sonographers' competency.

The hospital has since accepted that they were at fault, and have taken measures to ensure this doesn't happen again, however I do wonder why it happened in the first place.

A doctor, working within children's and women's services, has estimated that a staggering 600+ women could have been affected by the out-of-date guidelines each year, since 2006. That could mean upwards of 4000 healthy babies, could have been wrongly aborted.

An apology really doesn't cover that.

BBC News:

Cardiff and Vale University Health Board's executive director of nursing, Ruth Walker, offered an "unreserved" apology to Ms Wheatley and said the said the board was "genuinely sorry that it has taken an ombudsman's report for her to receive the answers she deserved".
She said that correct procedures were now followed.

 Luckily for Emily Wheatley, she chose to attend a different hospital, in a neighbouring health board, and was found to be carrying a healthy foetus, and carried to term, with a beautiful baby daughter resulting.

Women in the Cardiff and Vale area should be thankful to her for taking her plight further, and ensuring future women are not treated in this manner again.

Magpie. (please note, I am not medically trained and apologise if any terms are inaccurate)

Thursday, 7 November 2013

None so blind as those who will not see

Never mind the deaths, get the admin right !

After the University Hospital of Wales has been slated as being 'Dangerous' by the Royal College of Surgeons, Senior and junior doctor's organisations, had more deaths than Shipman, continued hospital-acquired infections - what do the hospital and government Mandarins do !  Why sit on their thumbs, of course, and the only time they open their mouths is to change feet !

After Mark Drakeford's disgraceful and inexplicable refusal to hold an enquiry into the poor management at UHW, the apparent wanton overspending and ( not forgetting ) the avoidable deaths of patients on the growing waiting lists, constitute a shameless admission of gross incompetence at the Universally Inept Hospital of Wales.  The reports ( eg Royal College of Surgeons, Royal College of Nursing, Royal College of Psychiatrists etc ) are all based on fact, whereas the Minister's responses are based on complete fiction and blatant lies. No one in Government will correct the situation in the  NHS because this would constitute an admission of failure - which is irrefutably the truth.

Let's get fully up to date, shall we ?  Cardiff Vale Universally Inept Health Board issued their budget, showing that they had to make saving of £56.7m this fiscal year - Why ? no one has a clue.  Yet Leslie Griffiths added a belated contingency fund of £80+m and then failed to report the budget overspend situation at the end of the same year. Recently, the Finance Minister, Jane Hutt announced an extra £570m for the NHS, over three years, with £150 m of that to be allocated to the remainder of this year.  In addition it is reported that Labour has made £800m worth of cuts to the NHS over 5 years So, after all the murderous cuts followed by an extra dollop of £570m, what is the situation NOW ?

According to our latest Board executive, Adam Cairns, 380 jobs will have be cut before March 2014. THIS is following Mark Drakeford and Graham Shortland's declarations that "We will be prepared for the winter demand."  It all makes perfect sense really : A and E and all other critical service have been cut and centralised, staff are to be made redundant, winter demands will be "Unprecedented" as usual, and they're letting at least 380 staff go. This means that there will be less facilities and less staff to handle the already increased demand ( from our growing population ) and NO additional staff 'on call' to handle the "Unprecedented demands".  Reading the rest of Mr Cairn's pathetically inaccurate excuses for this drastic action ( at a time when the need for health services will be at its greatest ), will leave you completely bemused.

Some satisfaction could be harvested from this confusing state of affairs - IF - the 380 job losses were to be made from the Board and Senior managers of the hospital, along with the inept puppeteers and clowns in our government.  Sadly, this will not be the case, with more nurses being heaved out and less doctors left, running around like blue-arsed flies.

Personally speaking, I find the situation staggering, confused and totally inadequate  In short, a dog's breakfast or Fred Carno's Circus ( take your pick ).  I shudder to think of how many deaths there must continue to be of patients stuck on waiting list for treatment. In addition, I am certain that the deaths amongst the elderly will increase tenfold - and all this due to the monumental incompetence of UHW, NHS Wales, and the Welsh Government. And - at the end of it all - the Echo will still be reporting 'good news' from these bodies, especially as investigative reporting of facts no longer exists ! And - OH,( I nearly forgot ) "Never let the truth get in the way of a good story".   R.  W.

Thursday, 31 October 2013

The A & E Revolving Door Protocol - UHW

The A & E Revolving Door Protocol

No guilt, no change in direction, no remorse, NO INPATIENTS

No need to guess who we are still trying to make see sense.  There is nothing logical about the NHS/Wales government’s changes, nor is there any financial justification for the murderous policies being adopted by either legal entity.  I have little enthusiasm left in me. for continuing the horror story, even after hearing the misleading promise of a 45 bed neurological ward for Llandough hospital.  Re-arranging the deck-chairs on the deck of the Titanic was of no use, neither are any such stupid outpourings from our Minister for Health and Social Services, Mark Drakeford,  Professor of gardening implements and their application.

Not even the article of 11th October about an increase to 13,147 patients waiting 36 week or more from their referral to hospital for treatment. What chance anyone elderly or with a chronic illness got of surviving until his first appointment .  My answer is “damn all”, with not a care in the world  However, I would like to relate my own personal experience of being taken to what used to be called Accident and Emergency Department at many of our local hospitals.  Now, it is said – by the great horticulturist and the First Minister of Jokers – that “we don’t need more than 4 or 5 A and E departments any more, even though we have, apparently, been making excessive demands on these facilities.
Once upon a time, the A and E department of the hospital was its’ front door. Now, for reasons of falsification of figures and costs, this entry point door has become  a revolving door, intent on sending you out faster than you were brought in – even following  a 999 call or an urgent referral from your GP. My first such emergency trip to hospital received short, sharp shrift.   I had a suspected heart attack and endured a day and a half on a trolley before being given a hospital bed.  The following morning I did not see or hear from a cardiologist, only a 16yr old ( looking  ) F1 who had been told to” discharge me” before lunchtime. My protestations were ignored, the only response being “make an appointment to your GP for a referral to a cardiologist” !  But the 999 call had been made by my GP, so what the blazes were they playing at ?

The most recent visit was as a result of an increasing pain in the surface of my left side, and the 999 call being made by a ‘concerned party’, despite my protestations. Ah well  “Better to be safe than sorry – eh  ?“ [Why is it that most people speak in platitudes, sound-bites, or Americanisms ? ]
To continue my tale, neither of the ‘first responders’ was a paramedic so, no mandatory E.C.G. Taking a mere 45 minutes to drive from Penarth to the Heath ( 7.1/2 miles max }, I waited a relatively short 20mins before being wheeled into a small corner of the new Assessment Unit – still under construction, and exposed to the open air – the ambulance man was instructed to wheel me to ‘Ambulatory Assessment” , where I waited little more than 45 mins before being taken to a ‘trolley’.

Nope ! – not the old type of uncomfortable trolley with the side-gates and no room to move – but a new trolley,  Black 2 piece, covered in shiny PVC , impossible to adjust yourself and as uncomfortable as the rack designed by Edgar Allen Poe.  A short wait and a highly efficient doctor – dressed all in black, making me feel as though in the presence of a pall-bearer – who bunged a canular into my arm, took some blood, and said “A medical doctor will see you shortly”. During that period of wondering what the difference between a doctor and a ‘medical’ doctor, I attempted a find a comfortable sitting or lying position on the rack-sorry trolley both were impossible, so I bent my knees to enable me to lie onthe flat bit whist a charming nurse (over 12y.oa ) took an ECG. Needless to say, I was still in great pain, and relieved to see a fresh-faced medical doctor ‘in civies’ who examined me and asked me every detail of my medical history ( in spite of having all the data to hand on his computer. ) This true professional then escorted me to x-ray for my chest to be examined.  After being returned to my rack-trolley, I endured a further  E.C.G, conducted by a green woman - who allowed no speech – then told me that I could take off all the stickers.

The hours past, without my being offered a cup of tea and/or a sandwich, until the time came to take my usual medication. No one answered my - “Is it alright to take my tablets now…….?”. Another hour passed with me longing for some fluid and nourishment from my tablets, at least. The bench grew more uncomfortable and I was becoming a little frustrated.  Eventually a new shift brought a charming sister who provided a welcome cup of tea AND a sandwich, promising to organise my meds and to arrange a trip home. Sated, I realised that no one had given me any results, so I began asking “Is my doctor still here….?” Again, no answers but a short 45 minutes later, a most charming, distinctly Irish consultant bussled up to me, apologising and saying that “The tests showed nothing so I have to agree with your original feeling that you are suffering from Shingles”.  During his most charming manner, he touched my skin in several places, causing me to yell out in pain, before saying “Shingles – yes” before bustling away again.
My happiness was short-lived as another import from the Emerald Isle approached, saying “Is this your bag “, rather abruptly, to which I said “Yes, what’s wrong with it ?”

“I Need this trolley” he, continued, rudely.  Fortunately, Sister Fiona intervened, telling me to send anyone else like him to her and she would sort them out. Regardless, of her kindness I collected my bag in silence and went back to the grubby chair area, to await the ambulance.
At last, 10.00pm slipped by and the St John’s ambulance men slipped, offering the friendliest smiles I had seen all day. A mere 40 minutes later I was being escorted into my flat by these wonderful men.

Not bad after eight / nine, hours of purgatory . Unsurprisingly, they didn’t have my medication, so I gingerly followed my way out as the nurse was washing the blood off the trolley !    Since then, then pain has not lessened during the following seven days, and all my GP can tell me is that I “must have perpatetic neuralgia” without giving any indication of how long this might last.   R.   W.

N.B.   One sad sight on my way into the A and E Dept. was seeing a young man in handcuffs being kept outside by a policemen. I asked the nurse if he was mentally ill and she replied " I'm afraid so". So, if we treat our so-called 'norma'l patients badly, just imagine how awful it is to be mentally ill and unable to access proper care.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Robbing Paul to Repay Peter - a.k.a. The Budget

"Sing a Song of Sixpence, a pocketful of Rye.........."

In the government game of Monopoly, money changes location with annoying regularity.  The only problem being, is that there is no NEW money being added to the game.  Rather, we get bogus announcements of budget allocations from La Hutt, Finance Minister, that bandy huge sums of money about like the £500 note rents payable when you're unfortunate enough to land on Park Lane or Mayfair. Unfortunately, as I say, this is the same old money that has been floating around government departments for years.  Why, even dear old Mark Drakeford was torn away from his allotment to announce ( once again ), that £88m was to be allocated for the building of the new adult mental health unit at Llandough. ( Explantion : 3 Years ago, Paul Hollard and Katie Norton confirmed that £80m had been 'ring-fenced' for this important project, so what extra £88m is for, nobody knows.  The project remains three years late, with not a sod of earth having being lifted in preparation ).

Yes, Jane Hutt AM announced that £570m was being budgeted for health over the next three years. This would have meant £190m extra each year, except for the fact that  the Minister explained that this sum included £150m until April 2014.  As you avid mathematicians would have worked out that means that only £420m is to be available for health over the next three fiscal years, making us all wonder why the Minister said £570 over three years in the first place !  So, NOW we have the actual figure of £140m as the annual share of this booty.

Sadly - when we listen further - the dear old thing mentions that this extra money will come from cuts to made in Local Authority budgets, where cuts to further education (£43m), libraries etc will have to be made.  Hence the title of this post Robbing Paul to repay Peter, as "£800 has already been cut from the health budget over the last five years" - verbatim Shadow Finance Minister, Paul Davies.

Clear as mud, isn't it ?  except - in reality - we know that every amount budgeted to enable this government to function, is cloaked by an impenetrable fog, contradicting the "Openness and Transparency" that we were promised by the second First Minister, Rhodri Morgan .

So - there we have it ! £570m 'over three years', which will actually only be £440 m = ca £140m p.a.. And, let us not forget Professor Drakeford's promise of £88m for the new mental health unit - assuming, of course - that it will ever be built. Or, if it is built, whether this imaginary cost will also be taken from the £570m !

I know I have said this to the point of boredom but, as a writer, I wish I could create fiction as well as our Welsh Government.     R.  W.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Media headlines are REAL madness

(the Sun news-rag's monstrous exaggeration of tragic circumstances - again. Wasn't their Hillsborough coverage cock-up bad enough ?)  This is their headline of Monday 7th October 2013 :-

1200 killed by Mental Patients

These figures are supposed to cover a decade -  ten long years, which is an average of 120, per annum - IF their figures are to be believed. However, that fuller statement wouldn't be as dramatic and collar-grabbing as the one above, would it ?  Also, it wouldn't be as damaging to anyone who suffers from a wide range of health problems - from emotional crisis to life-long incurable  problems such as paranoid schizophrenia, bi-polar manic depression, or a more difficult diagnosis of a personality disorder. That's not forgetting psychopaths who are capable of attacking anyone at any time, with no reason and no remorse after the event.

The problem here is that anyone can kill a person and then have an appropriate psychotic label attached to them afterwards. So, getting back to the atrocious Sun article was probably written by some unknown journalist, who wouldn't normally be allowed to publish anything more sinister than a pizza menu !  You may be aware that such dramatic figures are published in this unsubstantiated manner, in order to vilify and even demonise any poor soul who is perceived as having a 'mental' problem.

The internal 'investigation', lists only eleven murders committed by people with a diagnosable mental health problem. We are not told where the balance of victims hail from but the general - and ( I think ) intended effect of the article is to stigmatise anyone who suffers from the simplest, curable ailment, such as the emotional stress from a divorce or a fatality in the family.

In fairness to the NHS, the article hints that these 'broken people' have been failed by the mental health system and consequently have 'slipped through the net'. If we are to believe the Sun, that's a hell of a lot of broken people and a net in need of urgent repair. The point is that you cannot condemn NHS mental health services for every death occurring from a sudden, unpredictable destructive incident.

On the other side, of course, there are incidences of manias brought on by a failure to take the prescribed medication.  For example more patients than ever are being prematurely discharged from hospital, resulting in the shameful statistic that most suicides occur within the first two weeks after discharge. The idea behind this notion is that patients will improve quicker if placed back into the community. 

In theory, Community Mental Health teams will pick up the discharged patient and then prepare a Care Plan for his or her on-going treatment which provides details of all medication and the regularity of each dosage.  It's a great theory but, in practice there are never enough CMHT nurses, or council-run social workers to ensure that no one 'slips through the net' and misses out on a vital call. Experience has taught us that schizophrenics have predictable periods of 'normal' behaviour and feel confident to go out not having taken their medication.  It is during these periods that the patient is at most risk of harming himself, or at a much smaller risk of him/her harming others out of fear that they themselves are being threatened.

Similarly, bi-polar patients will have periods where they feel that they can manage their conditions without taking their medication.  Some of these may have a mania where they strip naked or stand in the middle of a road stopping traffic. However, the small number of times these incidents occur, no harm results to anybody.

So - in conclusion - the Sun newspaper is misrepresenting the facts in order to create a far greater alarming effect, than simply printing the facts gained from putting such incidents into their proper perspective. Therefore, frightening headlines like these sell newspapers, whilst causing unnecessary alarm amongst the public. Unfortunately, the inevitable effect of such irresponsible journalism is greater stigmatisation of the mentally ill, which is unforgivable.         R.    W.

Christmas is coming, the Patients are getting fat, but NHS Wales, is too small to cope ! ......

Get your excuses in early, before the winter rush !

Filling the moats and raising the drawbridge is the order of the day from David Sissling, part time NHS Wales Chief Executive. He's written another report, you know, this one is an early copy of all previous years' stock excuse for not being able to cope. vis-

"The pressures experienced by the NHS in Wales during the winter period saw an unprecedented demand on our urgent and emergency care services"   ( Yawn )  He goes on to say, "We have been able to learn from these experiences and we are now planning the rest of 2013" ( Yeah right, double Yawn ).

Of course, the report is endorsed by the BMA who - as Secretary Dr Richard Lewis instructs - "Get ready for winter ( etc etc ad nauseum )". Let's examine reality, shall we ?

Every year, the need for health services grows with the population ( home-bred, immigrants, health tourists ), yet the services don't increase proportionately in order to meet this increased need.  In fact, they do the exact opposite - they radically reduce resources throughout Wales, whilst telling us that if we change our health styles we won't need the treatment for the illnesses that we caused in the first place. So, we now have less A and E units, less emergency services which ( naturally ) causes log-jams in emergency departments and with the ambulance service. Let's not forget that - unlike other countries - we don't have dedicated A&E teams, which means that doctors have to be called from their ward duties to go to A and E and vice versa !

The logic behind the NHS's thinking ( if anyone there thinks at all ) is non-existent because nothing they have done, or do, makes any sense at all. Imagine a private business adopting the same attitude.  They get more and more customers, so they make their shops and their stocks smaller every year, and then say "We had to get smaller because of the unprecedented demand" an insane scenario, you'll agree ?

And, what of the poor staff that are overworked, yet reduced in numbers, who are expected to deal with normal increased demand - let alone 'unprecedented' demand ?  They are expected to do more with less colleagues, in half the time. Crazy ? you bet it is, and we are heading for a winter crisis that has never been dreamed of in our worst nightmares.  That isn't scaremongering, that's common sense being used to examine inexplicable policy changes.

So, Sissling and the BMA can sing in unison, "We told you so !" when the nightmare that the NHS has created becomes reality as more people die due to being unable to access the reduced, inadequate services. So, ten years of cost cutting, by reducing beds, rationalisation and centralisation of essential local services, will finally solve the bed-blocking problem by killing off the chronically ill, the elderly, and the mentally ill, and the NHS won't give a damn !   R.  W.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Does repeating a lie make it believable ? - I think not, Minister

Mental Health Unit Given £88m

I guess you can't tell a good story too many times, especially when you have no intention of making it true. Yes, here we are again on Fantasy Island, high on heady imaginings of the new Adult Mental Health Unit, to be built on the highly congested site at Llandough hospital.

Perhaps Robert J Owen isn't aux fait with the painful journey to reach the promised land?  Maybe he's too young to know about the seven attempts to build a new hospital on the Whitchurch hospital site where - to my certain knowledge, no less than 5 sets of plans have received Planning Permission over the past 12 years.  To be fair, the last extortionate cost of £80m was followed by some of the most expensive site preparation known to the construction industry - every red cent wasted, totalling £6m of public money - thanks due to the total ineptness of UHW's incompetent Planning Department ( a man, a mangy dog and a hopeful young lad with a box of crayons and a fishing pole.)

From the failed new unit at Whitchurch, ( planning wise ), a new idea was born out of the madness that is NHS Wales and our Labour government, with not a competent bureaucrat to make the coffee.  Then - like the Phoenix ( of hope ) out of the ashes of the disastrous Whitchurch hospital fiasco, emerged the Great Plan 'Making a Difference', that included the Adult Mental Health Unit to be built on the existing Llandough Hopsital Site - Hallelujah ! we all cried.

Sadly, this wondrous idea was a tad flawed in that it lacked any detail as to How ? When ? Where? What ? or Who would make this plan reality, given the noticeable lack of  any details, specific costs, design, location - or anything that would normally constitute a 'Plan'.  In spite of this, months of public consultation where no further information about countless unanswered questions, the Great Plan was given the royal approval of the old Foggies and Donkeys organisation, the Community Health Council, much to everyone's consternation.

Now. three years after the hospital was to have begun construction, not a brick has been laid in anger, nor anything resembling the site for an adult Mental Health Unit of unknown size and detail.  As usual, I hope you will forgive my cynicism, but this great unit was to have been completed next year ( 4 years promised  by Paul Hollard and Katie Norton for a 'ring-fenced £80m' that failed to appear ).

September 2013 - the Penarth Times reports that the new Minister for Health and Social Care has been pledged £88m for the new hospital  - a 135 bed unit that is to replace Whitchurch Hospital services and complement the Llanfair unit already at Llandough. Suddenly, I'm beginning to wake up and smell the rat-shit in the coffee.

Llanfair is a 57 bed unit built for £7.155m ( £125kper bed ) but - at a staggering £88m ( more than ten times the cost of Llanfair ! ) the cost per bed leaps to £652k, So - we the dumb public - are expected to swallow this deliberate confidence trick, once again. When I published my first report, in 2010 on this huge rise in costs no one could believe the cheek of our government. Obviously the wool was being pulled over our eyes.

Since 2010, the Finance minister, Jane Hutt AM let us know that ca. £16m was to be spent on the new Mental Health Hospital, which seemed a more realistic figure.  Still, not a single brick was laid. Now we're expected to believe that £88m is to spent.  Even if we include the cost of the 150 place new car park ( not in original plans ), the cost of relocating Rookwood hospital to Llandough, plus the new concourse / super mall attached to the M.H. unit, plus the new entry road and infrastructure, we STILL would be miles away from spending £88m - in my opinion.

Of course I expect Professor Drakeford will have a ludicrously ridiculous and unbelievable explanation for this cause of all my angst, but somehow I doubt it, I really do !       R.  W.

Saturday, 28 September 2013

It's a HEALTH service, not an 'Illness Service'

Public Health problems the big priority

So, all the overspending, cuts, cancelled operations, congested bed availability, avoidable waiting list deaths - are not a priority - it's public health !  That means it's all our fault, again !

And Lo, the NHS is not the Illness Service any more, it's the National Health Service !
Terrific - what the blazes does that mean ?  Is it that we only use the 'Health Service' when we're healthy ?  What are we supposed to do when we're ill ?

Apparently, it's an Image thing, as well as being a warning that we're not supposed to get ill, fat, diabetic, coronary heart disease, heart attack, and - generally - waste hospital time by asking them for help - especially inpatient care !

Of course, this is just some publicity report issued by some tame committee ( previously unheard of ) that is supposed to be the last in a long stream of 'expert advisors'.  According to Dr Patricia Riordan, Director of many things, "Today marks the beginning of an attempt to change the whole culture of health in Wales, refocusing our approach to health improvement so that we target those in most need in our society". ( Who are they - the sick, and elderly infirm, and those in need of operations that will probably be cancelled ? ).  And - What ruddy culture are you talking about, for heaven's sake? To most people 'culture' comes in a tub of yogurt (eeaauucht !), or some unaffordable show at the golden snail in the bay.

I recall commenting on a previous article - 'NHS changes must be monitored so patients are the one to benefit'.  Patients ? - in Public Health ?  How can we be patients ( and benefit ) unless we become ill and need the National Illness Service, as before ?

Mixed messages and tons of BS is all we get from NHS Wales.

When is someone in authority going to say "WE GOT IT WRONG" and go back to their allotments or knitting circles where they know something useful.     R.  W.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Annual Outpouring of BS from NHS

Welsh NHS overspend Must end - Warning

Five months into the new Fiscal year and we still do not have the figures for the amount of overspend for last year.  As this perpetual tale of money-wasting only seems to affect the NHS, I really do wonder why the true figures are hidden from us in this Machiavellian way.

We've just had the supposedly joyous news that the 'War on Drunks is saving the NHS Millions' - well, almost £7m we are told.  Almost ??? - here we go again - imprecise figures for 'good news', yet no news - after threatening that 'heads will roll' if the LHBs fail to meet their budget targets. So, how the blazes are we supposed to give any credibility to any warning given by the Auditor General, Huw Vaughan Thomas, who appears to be 'champing at the bit' after his summer hols ?

He does say that a "Health Boards have  developed an expectation that they would be 'bailed out' by our Welsh government if they overspent their means. But, this master of the 'after event' statements of the 'purely-bloody-obvious' can only whimper to A.Ms that "More discipline was needed to manage budgets if this cycle was to broken",  So I ask,

What bloody budgets - we haven't been told what they are so why tell us that they're always overspent ??  Also, "this discipline must be brought in from the start of the year" from which we may reasonably deduce that the healthcare we may expect in future will be limited to what's left in the £500bn+ pot.

Alas, we don't know how much of the pot is given to which service, so we have no way of telling which specialities are overspent or, in reality how much they were underfunded when the annual need is supposed to be a 'given'. Perplexing isn't it - but what does it matter - every family will have excess numbers so shouldn't mind donating at least one relative to the cause of cutting funds (LoL)

May I remind everyone - AGAIN - that the health service is not a profit or loss organisation.  It is, in fact, and organisation that exists to meet our health needs dependent on what those needs are.  Of course, if the NHS continues to fail in assessing those needs, how can they provide the resources necessary to deal with this need ?  Really it's as stupid as trying to say "The M6 is no longer profitable, so we're going to cut it off at Coventry, leaving you a cross country trip to Manchester, for instance".

Clearly, all this nonsense has to stop, and key people like the Auditor General ought to back up everything he says with the factual figures, instead of assuming that we're all too stupid to know what's going on. I'm not joking when I say that our government is almost on the same wavelength as extremist terrorists - keeping us in a permanent state of fear in order to suppress our enquiring minds.
'Discipline', that's what the Auditor General said, and that what's happening to us - we're all being disciplined, instead of our incompetent government, who have consistently shown that they are not 'Fit for purpose'.

Incidentally, fear runs through the corridors of UHW today as it has been discovered that 380+ staff are to go A.S.A.P., which kinds of throws a spanner in the 'Improve the caring nurses' approach, doesn't it ?     R. W.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

NHS Wales in 'Dead Cat Bounce' Mode

Yet another contrived survey reveals that we are a nation in 'poor health'

NHS Wales has committed itself to leaving half the population without access to basic healthcare. Without doubt, the chronically ill, the elderly, the mentally ill and the Elderly Mentally Infirm will meet a premature and avoidable death because of the drastic cuts made to their health services.  In making these drastic cuts, the Welsh Government has shown little or no regard to the consequences of their unjustified, parsimonious actions on the vulnerable citizens it is supposed to serve.

In spite of all the damning reports on their 'dangerous' services ( especially the recent report by the Royal College of Surgeons that showed that 152 cardiac deaths over the past two years were avoidable ), our government remains oblivious to our growing health needs as it refuses to have any public inquiry into these and many other fatalities.

Even the horrifying, factual report to Ann Clwd MP that was sent by Professor Ninian Peckitt - who trained at UHW but is now resident at Massey University, New Zealand - that was entitled, "NHS Wales kills more people than Shipman", received no reaction from our incompetent leaders except "There will be no inquiry into these reports."
So, are our Ministers and NHS Mandarins sufficiently qualified to ignore these damning reports ?  Answer - NO but, apparently The Royal College of Surgeons' detailed report carries no weight at all with officials who are hell bent on suicide - of themselves as well as ensuring the euthanasia of half the population of Wales.

Why do I state 'contrived', survey ? because their is absolutely no evidence provided as to how many people were surveyed before arriving at the percentages of citizens that shows specific examples of poor healthcare.  Where is the published report, even ?  What is so secret, apart from the fact that they certainly did not survey the entire population, or even half of us ? If the conclusion is that the problems of the NHS are caused by us not taking responsibility for our own health, why are they effectively cutting the patients to fit their idea of what we need, instead of providing a fully funded service to meet the growing needs of our rapidly expanding population ?

Anyone can pluck figures out of the air. For example 95% of government Ministers are incompetent, and 98% of NHS staff are afraid of losing their jobs if they say how bad the health service really is.  Somehow, I think that my figures will be closer to being factual than those claimed in the Health Wales survey !      R.   W.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Locked up for being ill

     Panorama - Monday 9th September - Care in the Community ?

Over the 15 year during which time our Mental Health Services have been methodically depleted, I have written many times about the inevitable failure of NHS Wales to fulfil their promise to provide 'bed-equivalent' Care in the Community. As seen by anyone with any interest in mental health, hospitals have been closed along with other smaller, dedicated mental health service units in rural areas. The loss of so many mental health beds - along with 'early discharge' policy has increased distress in patients and their families that has not been addressed at all.

The result of all this centralisation and rationalisation of our mental health services has - as predicted - meant that our police services have ended up as the backstop for increasing numbers of mentally ill patients being taken into police custody - many being physically manhandled and bullied into submission, instead of being psychiatrically assessed for the proper care that they need to resume their normal lives in our communities.

The horror of the systemic failure of our NHS to provide this much needed care was shown in video camera footage that showed many mentally ill people being physically manhandled into cells that were built for the common criminal. In the vast majority of cases once the cell door had been slammed, that was the end of any hope of treatment for these seriously ill patients. Most of these were acutely mentally ill with a long history of being given care that enables them to live without fear of being harmed, with their families. Instead, Schizophrenic and Bi-Polar patients were seen going out of control for the simple want of their prescribed medication.

Many of these were seen to be punching the walls with their fists or banging their heads repeatedly against the door and walls, causing inevitable damage to their bodies as well as their minds.  The police were not immune to this suffering - they simply were faced with a problem that they have never been trained to confront. Some officers sat with crying, suicidal patients, listening to their experiences in a calm, safe manner.  Other patients were seen trying to use their clothing around any ligature point, in order to strangle themselves to death.  As soon as these scenes were noticed, officers piled into the cell to physically subdue the patients in order to forcibly remove any potential ligature. The scenes could have come from horror movies, for that was the effect on the viewer.

Under the normal procedure laid down for the police in such circumstances, they detained the patient under Section 136 of the Mental Health Act.  This meant that they were taken directly to a mental health unit where they would be subject to forensic examination or assessment by the duty psychiatrist.  They would then be given a bed where treatment with the appropriate medication could commence.  Unfortunately the police have had patients refused examination because of the serious shortage of beds ( as a result of planned closures in order to save money ). They are then arrested and confined to the custody suite along with regular villains

The procedure laid down for dealing with such obviously mentally disturbed people is that they MUST be assessed by a mental health professional within 3 hours of them being detained.  Sadly, this rarely happens as calls to hospitals and Community Mental Health Units can go unanswered for days and the wait for a bed could be two weeks or more.  Consequently, the police and the patients are let down by a system meant to facilitate care before any injury or self-harm can occur.

Sadly, care is rarely timely and the already over-worked police end up with becoming the community backstop for the acutely mentally ill.  That this is iniquitous is obvious and the blame lays squarely on the government and NHS chiefs who are more concerned with saving money than saving patients lives !     R. W.

Thursday, 5 September 2013


Persistent Criticisms get the same predictable excuses and false promises, so nothing changes

Here we are, another glorious summer over and already we've heard bleating from the Mandarins that
"Exceptional pressures on services - as a result of autumn viruses, hard winter conditions, a shortage of doctors and nurses, patients in A and E who should see GPs, bed blocking by the elderly ( a.k.a Delayed transfers of care ) and the chronically ill needing beds, failure of everybody to meet targets, bird flu, swine flu, ordinary seasonal respiratory complaints ( ordinary flu ), 'unseasonal' complaints never specified, poor ambulance service, slow discharges, the badger cull ( ? ), and, of course the perennial favourite- increasing numbers of unhealthy lifestyles - are a direct cause of delays and poor services.

Usually, Dr Graham Shortland, Paul Hollard and/or A female spokesperson, are immediately put before a microphone ( as soon as the presses start rolling ) to repeat these excuses and to assure us that "procedures have been put in place to ensure improvements to services." (yeah right ).

To start a review of some of the serious complaints, I better begin with Councillor Richard Bertin (VoGCC ) who picks up on the latest fact that 1200 patients waited more that a day to be treated by A and E in S Wales. He asks "When is the Welsh Government going to get to grips with the health crisis in our area ? ) He accuses the Welsh Government with "being in denial" [ A good one that, but if you've caused the crises with persistent and successive Ill-thought-out changes and incompetent management, do you really think the Government are going to admit their mistakes at this late stage ? ] Especially after such headlines as "NHS Caused More Deaths than Shipman", "Outcry as 54,000 hospital ops are cancelled"," UHW care scandal can be put down to the lack of Leadership" "Report by Royal College of Surgeons declares UHW 'Dangerous", "BMA  says Wales is hurtling into 'A HealthTsunami", staff saying publicly "We wouldn't want the NHS to treat us", the Auditor General saying ( stupidly )"the NHS is 'simply unaffordable'", "Neonatal services at risk in Wales". "152 deaths of patients on Cardiac surgery waiting list 'avoidable", and, lastly, "Minister pledges there will be no inquiry following the report by The Royal College of Surgeons......." which can only be viewed as a cover-up attempt to prevent anyone finding specific incompetent culprits ( eg. the Minister, NHS Director, CEO C and V UHB ) and punishing them with instant dismissal for their appalling management of our health service, and there waste of millions of pounds of public money.

I'm sorry to labour the point, but I have at least another 100 of such damning headlines that have probably been recorded in earlier posts. And in spite of these, the Universally Inept Health Board and the even more incompetent government do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to alter their destructive rationalisations and centralisations programmes that have brought us, and the health service, to our knees.
 Wake up Wales - your apathy is making things worse !      R.W.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

A Tsunami of ill health" Have they gone Mad ?

Obesity, drink and smoking fuelling chronic illnesses

When it comes to reporting people in the press , I do feel that the journalists tend to be over-dramatic. Personally speaking, I don't think that such headlines ( as above ) in any newspaper are in any way helpful to the public - who are ever being blamed for causing their health problems, or the NHS - who persistently ignore their own mistakes and bad planning.  For instance, we are faced with a barrage of guilt over our health-styles as though we are deliberately overcrowding the health service as a result of our apparent gluttony. I would suggest that changes in our customs/habits/attitude to culture are more to blame as is demonstrated by the fast-food culture, which we stupidly imported from America.

People don't realise the power of the large corporation, such as General Foods, Kraft, Coca-Cola, Unilever, Walmart, McDonalds, Starbucks, Costa. or Nestles have over what we may eat and drink. Some of these are actually sponsored by the government which is seen as an approval for the public.  However, it must be said that our health-style choices are nowhere close to the reasons for the failure of our health service, now and in the future.

If we know - as we have done for years - that - the 'Baby Boomers' of the 50s would eventually age, we have right to ask, Why hasn't our NHS planned for this increase ?"  The same applies ( in my opinion ) to chronic illnesses and - in part - to our dietary habits.  We simply did not know any different, what with the post-war depression and having to adapt to the rebuilding of our economy Why weren't we educated about living 'healthier' lifestyles and given more knowledge of the causes of chronic illnesses ?  For instance, attention to the affects of Heart Disease didn't gather any pace under the early 60s, when so many of the Vietnam War dead were found, at autopsy, to have advanced stages of Pulmonary Coronary Heart Disease, the horror of the discovery was that most of these post mortems were on young men aged between 17 and 20.

The damage from smoking became plain to see, yet no controls were placed on the major tobacco producers until the early 80s. Meanwhile, we continued to live in ignorance of these damaging factors. We just didn't know the extent to which smoking and pollution had on our lungs, when we discovered the detrimental effects of lung cancer, asthma, emphysema, which along with heart disease became the main causes of premature deaths.

All this aside, the main cause of the decline in our health service was the  manic drive to save money by our Labour government.  In the last fifteen years we have seen numerous hospital closures, the loss of over 800 inpatient beds, and the insane rationalisation and centralisation of our health services.  This is, and has been, the deliberate destruction of man well-used 'local' facilities by our NHS, orchestrated and controlled by the government.  Consequently, many rural and urban services became inaccessible.  Patients, and their relatives, are forced to travel much further to centralised 'specialised' units at great inconvenience and cost.  They then encounter, the incompetent, unworkable system for making appointments, and the many cancellations of appointments made by the hospital.         .

The worst effect is to those patients waiting for elective surgery.  After months of waiting,. they are told to ring early on the morning of their planned admission to see if there is a bed available for them.  Therefore, you might reasonably ask "If a time was fixed for my surgery / procedure, why wasn't a bed kept for me" ?  Not only the ward bed had been taken, but no planning was made for adequate availability in Intensive care beds, despite this problem having existed for years.  We now have to suffer the tragic consequences, when we read that over 152 cardiac patients have suffered avoidable deaths. In addition, we learn that these deaths are the result of the hospital's cancelling operations. As reported earlier, the First Minister claims that all the cancellations were made by patients, thereby displaying his gross incompetence but also his inexcusable failure to display any evidence to back up his claim.

I apologise for repeating certain facts but readers may like to see the connection of NHS comments as being progressively damaging, yet still inaccurate in content.

Adding a relevant item ( again ), the Penarth Times reports that the number of patients waiting more than 36 weeks for a FIRST hospital appointment had risen in June 2013 to a staggering total of 10,123. The total number of people on an NHS waiting list is now 80% higher than it was when Carwyn Jones became Fist Minister at the end of 2009. At that point 227,000 patients were waiting for treatment. At the end of June that figure stood at 410,000.  Even the opposition Health Minister, Darren Millar, said ( predictably stating the bleedin' obvious ), "These waits lay bare the scale of the cash crisis in the Welsh NHS."  Of course, he doesn't dare blame the Welsh government and the NHS for their persistent incompetence in creating this situation over the years.

Clearly, there were many opportunities for the University Health Board, the NHS Mandarins et al, and our criminally inept government to stop and say "Hey, we're doing this wrong. We must stop making these ridiculous changes and prevent more of these failures occurring in future".  But NO, these idiots continue in their destructive ways, like dumb cattle being herded to slaughter. "We know best" is still their rule, to which I reply, "The hell you do !".       R. W.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Scandal of 4,442 cancelled operations

'Patients Distressed...Millions of Pounds wasted'

Thousands of operations have been cancelled across South Wales because of bed shortages and a lack of staff. Figures obtained bt the Echo show that 5,798 procedures were cancelled by Cardiff and Vale and Cwm Taf health boards in the last three financial years. That makes 4,442 in Cardiff and Vale and 1356 by Cwm Taf.

Cancellations because of bed shortages in Cardiff and Vale UHB reached a three year high in 2012 - 2013 with the total standing at 1,562 - an increase of more than 73% in the last three years. Continuing his revelations ( made a day or so ago ), Dr Richard Lewis of the B.M.A. said, "We are still seeing too many patients waiting unacceptable lengths of time in A & E, which is one of the areas suffering staff shortages."

Opposition parties expressed their shock at the figures and called for action to be taken to prevent further distress to patients. ( Like what...for instance ? R.W. ) Shadow health Minister Darren Millar said "Cancelling long-awaited operations not only wastes millions of pounds every year but causes enormous distress to vulnerable patients and can negatively impact on their long-term treatment and prognosis. Labour ministers must listen to those who work in the NHS and who need the resources to deliver standards of care which patients expect and deserve". ( Wow - another expert at stating the bleeding obvious. )

Medical Director, Dr Graham Shortland  trotted out the ( now ) lame, well-used excuse that ..."Unprecedented pressures have been to blame for operations having to be cancelled". ( What a load of cobblers ! - as everyone else knows that the massive numbers of bed cuts and other damaging cost-saving reductions in services are the sole cause of these avoidable cancellations).

The last word goes - of course - to that epitome of truth, knowledge, and all things irrelevant to the subject, Carwyn Jones, First Minister for Making a Fist of cover-ups.  Believe it or not, this supposedly great leader's final words on this problem were,
"Most of the cancellations were made by the patients themselves"

With any luck these words will ( one day ) be categorised as the most stupid blunder a so-called politician has ever made whilst 'in government'.  Of course, this low grade ex-barrister-come-muck-raking-farm-hand, can't supply any figures to prove his monumentally stupid claim. No surprise when recalling that this idiot told elected members of the Labour Party that they were not to use the word 'Labour' in any of their campaigning, being done on behalf of their constituents ( which kind-of makes them look as stupid as him, as they are all Labour Party members who work as Labour party representatives ). Not content with crippling one foot, Herr Jones then goes on to point the shotgun at his good foot, saying that "Nothing must prevent these essential changes from being made !"

I think that these revelations prove the non-existence of any semblance of Democracy existing in the Principality - don't you ??  Also, it demonstrates what a farce the entire procedure of 'Consultation' really is.     R. W.

Monday, 19 August 2013

South Wales Programme delayed by the revolting public !

53,000 responses delay hospital decision

Astoundingly, the public have expressed their concerns over the radical changes  - proposed in this cobbled-together programme - and ( by so doing ) added at least a month to the decision-making process, according to Paul Hollard, "In order to fully and properly understand and interpret the comments submitted by the public, politicians, NHS staff and professional groups, we will need to take more time to analyse these responses" [.R.W. Well this is the first time I've ever heard that the responses to a consultation will be consider, much less 'analysed'. In my opinion, this is a horse shit sandwich for the public to digest, before the health boards go ahead with the proposals as initially published ! Of course, I could be wrong, as the government may be swayed by public opinion to cancel their plans.  Guess were my money's going ? ].

After all, isn't it the same Paul Hollard who railroaded through the overpriced and ( frankly ) daft proposals for Llandough - to say nothing about his other costly cock ups like the £8.5m preparation plans for the new Whitchurch Hospital - all backed by the equally daft and incompetent government officials?  With as much sincerity as the Walrus in Alice in Wonderland, he goes on to say "I sincerely hope the health chiefs and Welsh government take heed of this emphatic response from the people of South Wales and keep an open mind about the future of our health services before the health boards make their decision" ( hoots of derisory laughter from the public and patients who have heard this kind of garbage before ! ).

Let's all hope that I'm proved wrong, eh ?  R. W.

Knee-jerk NHS cuts put patients at Risk

The British Medical Association finally speak out !

Welsh secretary, Dr Richard Lewis warns that cutting the workforce and reducing bed numbers to meet targets will put patient at risk of harm and inevitably lead to more work for the heath service. Taking the soft option, as usual, the BMA said that they weren't opposed to health boards reducing bed numbers, but warned it should only be done if the right infrastructures were in place that meant it would not have a detrimental effect on patient care. ( huh ? )
He adds to their confusion ( and mine ) by saying, "We know from evidence that short-term actions, based of financial burdens are not an efficient way to run the service."  Then - stating the obvious - he continues, "Health services that run efficiently are more cost-effective." Knee-jerk reactions to stop training staff adversely affects patient care, while cutting the workforce increases pressure on staff."

"We have no problem with reducing bed numbers but that has to be based on the evidence that it is the right thing to do and those beds do not need to be utilised. Reducing beds in advance of getting to that stage makes the situation even worse and makes the care of patients less safe" ( so far, this is the best example of 'sitting-on-the-fence' I've ever read ! ).  Incredibly, he continues, "You get efficient by doing the right things in the right place and to the right standard. If his is not the case then you end up duplicating things - if you find patients have been harmed you have to correct the inadequate car by doing it again. There are plenty of aspects that need to be changed in order to deliver services more efficiently and safety. ( well now, that's a lot clearer isn't it eh ???).

His comments come after the damning report by the Royal College of Surgeons which has highlighted the impact of ( avoidable ) long waiting lists for cardiac surgery at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff. The surgeons said that most operations had been cancelled or not scheduled because of the lack of beds. Well, after closing more than 800 beds and persistently refusing to open more Intensive Care beds - what would YOU expect the consequences to be?               R. W.