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.

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