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.