Thursday, 13 June 2013

Health Check Wales - S.Wales Echo Supplement

Are we fit to face the future ?
Every quarter, we get this comprehensive and very readable supplement, which is crammed with information on all specialities in the health service. However, being somewhat cynical, I tend to read this several times over, hoping to understand what the information is telling me about our health services. Also, I am looking for ‘the patient experience’ or any thoughts about any perceived shortcomings.
You see, to me, this – and all other supplements – tell of an NHS Shangri-La – where every service is wonderful and full of good news for the future.  Nothing wrong with that, obviously BUT ( i’ve been told by personnel and psychological experts that ‘everything after BUT is bull S...’)  none of the supplement deals with the current changes that are being imposed on us, or what we feel about them.  And therein lies the rub, because presenting a picture of this imaginary earthly paradise is totally misleading because the reality is that the situation is dire and frightening for patients who have had their services cut, rationalised, or centralised.  Incidentally, these changes have been made over the past 13 years, with hospital closures and the loss of over 800 beds.
So, is there a balance to be struck between the imaginary perfection of the NHS and the reality of inaccessible services and hopelessly inadequate resources ?  Frankly, I don’t think so as no amount of saccharin-enriched rhetoric is going to persuade anyone that the changes will be beneficial to us all.  Most disturbingly, the NHS seems to place a huge amount of hope that the third sector ( charities etc ) will be able to compliment the service. This seems to be most unhelpful to patients who are chronically ill ( mentally or Physically ) and may need urgent help.
One ridiculous suggestion is that GPs could Skype their patients and then diagnose their health problem.  Whatever your opinions, I urge you to read these supplements in the hope that you may find them helpful. R. W.

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