Thursday, 30 October 2014

Hiding heads in the sand

Ignoring all demands for an Independent enquiry into the failings of NHS Wales is continuing as Minister Mark Drakeford accuses he BMA of playing "political games".  Nothing in the BMA report could - in any way - be interpreted as playing political games, yet the governments response reveals a note of desperation about their feeble attempts to hide the truth.

Personally, I have collected six more articles that show the endemic incompetence of our government and their failure to overcome the ever-lengthening waiting lists and inadequate services. 20,151 patients have been waiting for more than 36 weeks for treatment at the end of August, beating all previous records.

During the past month I have been unable to write about the continuing failings as I have become more and more conscious of my own declining health, as well as my personal failure at raising awareness awareness of the problems detailed in my posts.  It is soul destroying to have to look back over 252 posts and realise that I have failed to achieve anything more than impress a few close friends.  On top of this my heart failure gets worse and I can't seem to rid myself of the Deep Vein Thrombosis that has obliged me to have to self-administer over 130 injections of Heparin.  My death draws nearer and I have been panicking over the awful business of putting my affairs in order, for the sake of my family.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014



Once again we have another demand for an independent enquiry into our NHS as doctors have united to prevent the Wales NHS going into ‘meltdown’.

Dr Phil Banfield of the British Medical Association has announced the publication of a further critical report on our health services which was formally presented to the Welsh Government today and acknowledged by our Ministers.  Without any hesitation or prevarication at all, Ministers responded that "They have received the report which they will read and ( hopefully ) study."  Meanwhile, we are all forced to wait with bated breath to hear the predictable negative responses eg. “We’re much too busy improving our services to stop and have an enquiry that will only hinder and delay our work...” or some such similar tripe from Messrs Drakeford and Jones.

I've lost count of the number of times an independent report has been requested, particularly following the damning report from the Royal College of Surgeons that concluded that the Cardiff and Vale University Hospital for Wales is “dangerous”.  Those of us old enough to recall Rhodri Morgan’s first declaration that “The Welsh Assembly Government will be run with complete transparency and openness...” remember how misleading and insincere this statement of intent was, and still is to this very day.  We have all had to endure the repetition of lies about the true state of our health services from every Health Minister since, that has been involved in the progressive degradation of OUR health services.  Starting with the decimation of our Mental Health Services, we have all been made to endure the centralisation and rationalisation of all of our health services. Finally, we arrive at the point where all we can do is look back on the closures of hospitals and a total of 4700 inpatient beds – all changes that have brought Welsh patients to their knees, begging for a G.P. appointment. Even if we get lucky, they can do little to help us to survive the ever-lengthening waiting lists that keep us from getting even a hospital consultation and any necessary treatment that may be required.

To my personal despair the Royal College of Surgeons report showed that 152 cardiac patients awaiting surgery had died before getting remotely close to a life-saving operation. I can’t imagine how many other patients have died in ambulances before ever reaching one of our four remaining trauma centres ( This will increase to five when, and if, Cwmbran hospital  is ever built ).  I can only imagine what poor cancer patients are having to put up with, or neo-natal and postnatal babies.  Meanwhile, chronically ill patients are being sent home, and asked to seek a second referral from their GP to see a consultant, again.  And all the while their ailments get worse, and the likelihood of preventable deaths continues – all because of the gross incompetence of untrained Health Board Officials and self-serving bureaucrats who will do anything to keep their jobs, expenses and fat pensions !  As I have often said, all of these changes are with one aim only - to save money.  Providing adequate healthcare has become a secondary situation.

Will we now get a fully independent enquiry into our health services ????  In my personal opinion, the answer is that their is a greater likelihood of a frosty day in July !   R. W.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

What's Wrong with You, Anyway ???

Experiencing UHW

There has been a long gap between this and my last post. Unfortunately, I have been taken to – what can only jocularly referred to as ‘an accident and emergency department’ - the ever revolving door which passes for the patient entrance to the University of Wales.  Unfortunately, I have been too depressed by my experiences that I have been unable to write , having reached the sad conclusion that all my efforts ( to get improved health services ) have been a waste of time.

Although I am only suffering the last throes of Heart Failure, whilst still experiencing the pains of Diverticulitis, Dystonia, Angina, and Reflux Oesophagitis, I am managing to get about, albeit a little slower than before. To add to my woes, I developed a Deep Vein Thrombosis in my left leg which was extremely painful.  Luckily the Assessment Unit at UHW, refused to admit me, choosing instead to send me home with a bag of Heperin injections that I have to stick in my tummy every day.  At least it was only 87 syringes in total which gave me something to look forward to for a twelve week period. The short, sharp experience of 13 Bo Tox injections every 8weeks may be painful but at least the Neurology staff are extremely helpful and kind. I do feel sorry for poor doctor Lewis who has to overcome my futile attempts to be a ‘brave little soldier’ whilst he puts up with me squirming about in pain.

Getting back to A&E, I worked out that there are now 5 departments which are supposed to care for the rows of patients waiting hours for some treatment One poor old chap in the ‘minor injuries department’ had been sitting with a dislocated wrist for three hours – his pain was as obvious as the blue/purple colour of his injured wrist.  I felt that the old Triage system would have at least pushed the poor chap to the very front of the queue, but no one but his tearful daughter cared a jot for his discomfort.

The next test of your patience are the two part Assessment unit which feels like death row, with doctors strutting about importantly, as though trying to decide the order for ejecting the ‘condemned’ out of the revolving door.  Their projected arrogance is totally unjustified as is the manner in which they approach their next victim.  My experience was that I was told that I looked fine and, therefore could be treated at home, despite my DVT demanding attention. I had to ask this female ‘clinician’ “Exactly how ill do you have to be to be admitted to this hospital ?” bearing in mind all my ailments.  It was quite obvious that she had not bothered to look at my file and, when I asked her precisely where the blood clot was, she pointed to a spot an inch above my ankle.  Having just left the Doppler department, I knew that the clot was in fact above my knee – approx. 18 inches above her reckoning. When asked, she haughtily informed me that she was a Registrar, although she couldn’t tell me the name of her supervising consultant. She then walked back to her office and, after another hour long wait, I escaped from the unit and called for a lift home.

One half of the Assessment unit is for ‘Ambulatory’ patients and the other for old ladies due to be admitted having suffered a near-death fall in the kitchen.  The other two departments are the  children’s A&E, and the Resus department.
I did get to see the Bed Manager who whined that there were no beds to be had. I asked her “Well, if the health board had closed 4700 beds – what the hell did she expect ?
Generally, the morale of the staff was even worse than that of the long suffering patients.  I had to get out of there, because, if I only hav a few moths to live, I was damned sure it wouldn’t be having to endure being treated like excrement !   There are more examples of the appalling treatment my family have experienced, over the same period.  However, anyone may have a go at me but definitely NOT my family.    R. W.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Private Hospitals Used to Cut Heart Surgery Waiting Lists

Is it Possible for our NHS Wales to provide our growing population with safe Healthcare ?

Having dared to look the £2.4m ‘gift horse’ in the mouth yesterday, I couldn’t let another day pass without commenting on the First Minister’s Annual Report to the Assembly.  This reminded me of a public address given by Iosef Stalin in which he said “People are the problem, therefore no people no problem”.  Carwyn James' whole time at his lectern brought to mind the emptying of a garbage truck onto a public tip.  It was like we poor Welsh people were left sifting through the waste material looking for something edible or – to me – Credible. Needless to say his brazen declaration that all surveys proved that we Welsh were happy with the many improvements to public services, all supposedly reporting over 90% satisfaction with our public services, especially health. Of course, if the people surveyed were especially selected they’d agree to anything, so without knowing who they were, you could make-up any result, which is precisely what Carwyn did.

His entire demeanour was one of a school bully who dared anyone to disagree with him or even to question any of his nonsensicle claims that should have been subject to more vociferous scrutiny from the opposition parties. His report on our health services was mostly fiction, as usual and, once again he questioned the integrity of a great MP, Ann Clwydd, dismissing her evidence as unsubstantiated with no names given to the author of each complaint.  I found this particularly objectionable as ANY complaint about patient mistreatment made to the Universally Inept Health Board always receives the stock reply, “We cannot comment on individual cases.” So Carwyn – the dishonest Walrus – wants the penny and the bun but, alas, he has not sufficient intelligence to realise the stupidity of his words. In short, the First Minister is nothing more than psychopathic thug.

Yesterday’s Echo carried the article that revealed the political motivation behind the fact that some private hospitals are being used to “cut cardiac surgery waiting lists”. The pathetic explanations for the waiting lists were inedible enough to make a Billy-Goat puke.  The facts and figures are unsupported and insubstantial and – as usual – gang-member Drakeford repeated his  drone, “The improvements have come as a result of implementation of innovative practices by NHS organisation”  ( what improvements, what organisations and where is the evidence ? ).  He ended with his maniacal rant that “pushing through the current structural and organisational changes was his highest priority”, thereby publicly declaring that he knows nothing of the operation of the NHS nor how this could possibly be improved by all of the government’s cost-saving measures.

Week in Week out last evening gave Ann Clwydd the opportunity to speak on behalf of the thousands of complainants of NHS services.  The most staggering figure I noted was the fact that the NHS has actually closed 2700 beds over the past decade, whereas I have been only saying that ‘over a thousand had been cut to save money. 2700 ! less beds leaves no wondering about why waiting lists are so long for hospital consultations or for elective surgery.  With less beds ( including ITU ), fewer rural services that have been rationalised or centralised, plus the fact that there will only be four A&E units where patients can now be admitted to hospital. [ The NHS will say five A&E units, but they are counting one at Cwmbran hospital that isn’t even off the drawing board yet ]

So First Minister, how have you got the bare-faced cheek to lie to the Assembly members, as well as the general public , about the improvements to the health service ?  Also, what can we do to eliminate this unaccountable, incompetent government, short of staging a massive riot? The best we can hope for is a coalition government where Labour do not have overall power.

With regard to the waiting lists, they will only increase – along with mortality rates – because many are still waiting for a diagnosis. More will die in transit to distant hospitals, with  deaths of patients awaiting cardiac surgery increasing in ever greater numbers.

Therefore Mr First Minister, realise the huge crisis in our Health Service and DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT !!              R.  W.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

£2.4 m Pledged to Reduce Cardiac Surgery Waiting Times

Investment pledged after doctor’s group finds ‘substantial work to do’

Once again, our First Minister has committed several Terminalogical  inexactitudes about the so-called improvements that have been made in Wales with many public services. It is a shame that Sir Winston could not have enjoyed a titter or two by listening to Carwyn Jones’ Annual Report.

Certainly, in my area of expertise – NHS Wales - , and in my capacity as a patient advocate, I am not obliged to follow the niceties of Parliamentary protocol.  With regard to the groundless claims of improvements in NHS Wales ( and the spurious figures quoted ) I can safely suggest that he fits the adage “There are Lies, Damn lies, and Statistics”.  We mustn’t forget that his Health Minister, Puffessor Prudence Drakeford ( of Prudent Healthcare fame ) has an excellent knowledge of the last word in the adage, but is a bumbling amateur with the first two parts. Still if he keeps on trying for a few more years, he may succeed in reporting some accurate figures to his Lord and Master that will enable that strutting bully-boy to sound as if he gives a damn.

Whereas this article purports to report ‘Good News’, it fails miserably because of the usual absence of any meaningful information.  Examples are timescales for rates of reductions in waiting lists, who is going to achieve these improvements, and when will we be able to be told  ( honestly ) how these many reductions in the cardiac surgical waiting list have been achieved using the £2.4m if, and when, it actually becomes available ? Of course, If our incompetent and uncaring Ministers can’t answer these important questions, perhaps Mr Adam Cairns may care to provide this data, without the usual accompanying B.S.  It is an unfortunate fact that, if the actual reductions are only equal to the daily additions to the waiting list, sending patients to hospitals far and wide will be an exercise in futility – not forgetting the waste of £2.4 m is what appears to be a bad attempt at believable Public Relations. And - a year after the damning report by the Royal College of Surgeons - why did it take so long for the Health Board to DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT???      R.  W.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Regardless of public opinion, we're going ahead !

Hospital Plans are approved by health council

The unpopular proposed changes to hospital services, announced in The South Wales Programme nearly two years ago, have finally been approved by the Cwm Taf health council.  These highly controversial changes to our hospital services were put to consultation in late 2012.  We criticised these changes, stating that the consultation would be completely bogus and that the plans would be implemented even before the final decision was taken.  Over 60% of the general public objected to all these changes, which was always a fait accompli to patients throughout Wales, regardless of their massive response, their genuine concerns, and the impact on each area affected by the changes.

Now, after the announcement was made, the public outrage has been deafening  to all but our corrupt government and their NHS poodle.  In the history of all the bogus consultations, conducted by the health boards, ALL have been approved against the wishes of the people.  However, this latest act of treachery has set a new precedent, even for our incompetent, uncaring Labour government - this being the inevitable result of 15 years of increasing autocracy in Wales, permitted by weak, ineffective opposition of the other parties. No sooner than health and education were devolved, all hope of democratic government was lost simply because The Welsh traitor government could no longer be over-ruled by Parliament in Westminster. 

Now, we must all prepare ourselves for the deadly affect that ten years of cost-cutting rationalisation and centralisation have inflicted on OUR ( much reduced ) HEALTH SERVICE.  Access to our A&E, Neo-natal and paediatric services will be logistically difficult because of the distances that patients and their families will have to travel.  Combine this fact with the distances that will have to be covered by the emergency services, and mortality rates are bound to rise exponentially due to the stupidity of these ill-thought-out changes.  We are said to be left with 5 A&E departments, even though this number includes the highly doubtful new hospital at Cwmbran which – as with other recent capital projects – will be farmed out to a private, profit-making developer.  Whatever the decision, we have to suffer years with only four A&E units that cannot possibly fulfil the needs of our ever-increasing population.

The only hope for the future healthcare of our children and the elderly is that this evil Labour government will be voted out at the next assembly elections.  The dissatisfaction of all Welsh people will be greater even than the recent UKIP tsunami, and we all must hope that a new, equitable form of government will be formed.   R. W.

Cuts reduce Cardiac Aftercare

Dear readers,

 After my stay in hospital, followed by 4 weeks of Diverticultis, and my anxiety of my continuing heart failure, I’ve decided to quote an article from the ‘I’ newspaper that is relevant to all of us who suffer serious heart problems.

Cuts leave heart attack victims prone to anxiety - by Charlie Cooper and Pippa Bailey

Patients who have had a heart attack are being left without psychological support despite evidence that nearly half suffer anxiety and depression, which in extreme cases heightens their risk of dying from the condition.

One in five patients will develop serious depression after a heart attack or similar cardiac emergency, and another 25% experience less serious depressive symptoms.

Recent research has revealed that these psychological problems are linked with poorer outcomes for cardiac patients, and much higher risk of dying. Despite this, the number of UK heart patients, the number of patients being offered  psychological treatment has halved.. British Heart Foundation blame cuts to Cardiac services forced by NHS budget squeeze in England, which has seen mental health care disproportionately affected.

In 2009 – 2010, 16 % of cardiac patients in the UK were offered  specialist mental health support, a figure which has dropped to just 9% this year, according to the BHF.  Fifty six percent of patients receive no rehabilitation services – help with lifestyle, exercise and diet – whatsoever.  Dr Mike Knapton, the BHF’s Associate Medical Director, said that cuts in mental health services were in direct conflict with the government’s professed commitment to “parity of esteem” between physical and mental healthcare.

Dr Martin McShane, from NS England said “Their is a significant benefit in treating physical and mental health in an integrated fashion “. ( article ends ).

From personal experience, I have suffered from continuous anxiety depression, which has worsened since I have been informed that there is nothing more that can be done for me.   R.W.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Action on the failing NHS, not words

Damning NHS report forces another apology

Well, it’s a good job that we have independent hospital inspectors who aren’t afraid to report the disgusting negligence they see, especially over the poor treatment of the elderly.

Even the brazen liar Drakeford must have been choking on the words “the report makes difficult reading for anyone in the Welsh NHS “ ( and anyone involved in healthcare in Great Britain.)

He goes on, saying “The times we are living in have devalued the currency of public apology but – as the Minister responsible for Health services in Wales, I want to put on record my own unreserved apology to those individuals and families whose care has fallen short of the standard which they had a right to expect”

Hooey, I say, he didn’t add his resignation or the fact that he wasn’t kicked out long ago by bully-boy Carwyn Jones, who just sat back, watching election poles and expense forms.
In addition, former Ombudsman Peter Tyndal talked of “Serious failures” by the Prince of Wales Accident and Emergency department. BUT, Don’t run away with the idea that the ‘Prinny’s’ hospital was the only one found wanting.

Now spot checks are to be overseen by Professor Andrews and Sir Ian Carruthers The Chief Medical Officer and the chief nursing officer will lead the operation. [ I feel better already – how about you ?”]

What was it that the incoming Chief Pillock, Andrew cairns said, was it “The patient will be at the very centre of everything we do in future.” This fool is living proof that talk is cheap, especially as we’ve not heard from him since or seen any manifestation of his empty words

As I’ve been ill for three weeks, I’ll stop now and wait for the next ‘Damning Report on NHS Wales, it shouldn’t be too long coming.   R.  W.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

£200m Boost for Velindre Cancer Centre

Investment is a shot in arm for public services

Is this a genuine commitment, or is it a pre-election ‘Good News’ story ?

I don’t know if you bothered to read the Jane Hutt spin and witchcraft surrounding such  a grand announcement, but for those  who didn’t, please permit me to unravel the mystery of “Where do they get £200m cash from, when health services have been cut to the bone ?”  Not forgetting, of course, that we poor plebeians are truly living on the bread line, unable to access health services. This is just as insulting to us as giving money to foreign countries – most of whom are better off than us.

The explanation is rather complicated by the fact that Ms Hutt is not being perfectly honest with us.  In the announcement she stated that all this money would create 6.500 jobs ( yeah right ). Presumably these will be imported labourers who will carry on making the A465, heads of the valleys road.  She mentions that this will be funded by a tranche of more £300m funded through a successor to the controversial PFI or Private Finance initiative. She confirmed a specialist Velindre Cancer centre will also be built by 2022 with a £210m investment.

She goes on to say that both will be funded using a not-for-profit vehicle first devised by the Scottish government which caps the level of profit for private bodies at the stage funding agreements are made. It’s as plain as the nose on a horse that ALL of the private contractors will make a profit, albeit capped by some unenforceable caveat.  SO – where is this not-for-profit deal  ? or, are we being duped yet again by a government that is desperately trying to hide its incompetence at managing ANY-BLOODY-THING.

Let me be frank !   This is a phoney deal to arrange an off-the-balance-sheet method of Capital funding, that is made to look as though the government 1) Has this money and 2) will actually spend their own money directly.  A PFI scheme – by any other name, is a means by which a private developer will build the project ( at a higher cost than direct NHS funding). And then recharge the government every year with an enormous fee for the privilege of having the contractor ‘Manage’ the completed project, instead of the government.

A memorable example of this financial stupidity is the new St. Davids hospital on Cowbridge Road West at the town end of Canton.  When the NHS put this project directly to contractors, they arrived at a complete build cost of £16m – very competitive and in-line with costs of building other hospitals.  However, our incompetent government decided on a Private Finance Initiative – on that will have cost the government over £60m paid to the contractor. A Good Deal ? – I think NOT.  I shudder to think what the final total expenditure will be under Ms Hutt’s terrifying proposal.          R.W.

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Has healthcare become irrelevant ?

Rising complaints

What a surprise that it’s taken so long for the Echo to report on the alarming increase in complaints being made to Health Boards in Wales.  With the amount of patients waiting more than three months for treatment appointments, it’s hard to see how this vast number could be reduced.  Facilities  ( beds etc) have been drastically reduced and access to services is far too long following the murderous rationalisation and centralisation – all for the prpose of saving money.  If you hear  any twaddle about making the services better of making them ‘fit for purpose’ ( whatever that means ).  Also, ignore phrases such as ‘unprecedented demand’ (on services ), ‘patients too lazy to see their GP’, ‘ambulance service in turmoil’, ‘Accident and Emergency services understaffed’, ‘delay due to the lack of beds’. Please treat these as B.S. ( business statistics, of course ! ), because all these problems are caused by NHS Wales, with the approval of the government.

Also, please take note of the growing trend towards ‘blaming the patient’ – usually for living unhealthy lifestyles ( even forgetting that a small bowl of salad costs more than a Big Mac ) and being irresponsible enough to become ill !  So, the implication of this is that, all of us poor citizens who are forced to look for cost-of-living savings ( because of the government’s imposed austerity measures ), are adding their saved money to the cost bourn by the National Health Service.  Crazy ? – of course it is but, any plausible explanation for blaming the people for the ( supposedly ) high costs in healthcare is crazy !  Whatever you believe, there is absolutely no doubt whatsoever that we’re all being screwed to the deck by our government by being used as scapegoats.

If we examine the figures of rising complaints against the Health Boards, increases of up to 188% are slowly coming into line with the unacceptable rises in waiting lists.  Let’s be realistic, if the increases were to be held at current levels, how will the health boards be able to eliminate theses waiting lists, when existing hospital resources are already operating at maximum capability ?  Either the resources have to be increased immediately or the NHS has to sacrifice any forced cost savings by buying any spare resources that may exist in other countries.  From the viewpoint of the patient, this would mean more lives saved, even though relatives would not be able to afford to visit their loved ones.  From the viewpoint of NHS Wales, such a plan would be self-defeating because the increased costs would eat up the cost savings made which created these waiting lists.

As I say, whatever your opinion, it is inarguable that the government / NHS Wales has put itself in an impossible, irresolvable  position, with the inevitable consequence of their managerial incompetence being a massive increase in deaths of patients awaiting life-saving procedures.  I make the point that time is finite here, with no practical way of avoiding the inevitable increase in mortality rates – regardless of the manner in which these figures are calculated, or presented to the public.

Does anyone disagree with my analysis in this or other undisputed posts ( by the government, NHS Wales or their solicitors, Morgan Cole who have a monopoly on providing legal services to all Welsh public services ???                  R. W.            

Monday, 5 May 2014

Fit for Purpose ?

Hospital Revisited – with regret

After spending a week and a day at Llandough hospital, I am left uncured and very unhappy with my prognosis.

From the moment I arrived, I entered the mincemeat grinder that has become our once-loved National Health Service.  I had barely been placed on a cot, when individual staff were telling me how bad the NHS in Wales has become. The first contact I had started whispering to me how bad the conditions had become for the staff and that no on dared say a word of complaint because they knew they would lose their job immediately.  After that, I had a succession of nurses and ancillary staff moaning to me about a stopped pay rise, constantly changing conditions of working and not a soul in a senior position asking for their opinion.  All this, whilst worrying that I didn’t know if I would leave hospital alive.  One staff member said, “If you want to die, come into hospital at night or try to come in at the weekend”.           [ Fact – only THREE doctors are available at night, to attend thousands on inpatients ]

In all my years of experience as a senior manager, I have never encountered such endemic low morale, that is communicated to the sick patients, albeit not consciously.  The nurses worked like automatons, some giving the best care and attention to detail that could be reasonably expected under the circumstances.  It was a very depressing experience, especially being moved to another room because the bed manager was completely unable to find sufficient beds for all those who needed inpatient care.

When I left the hospital, I felt no better, with no understanding of heart failure or the fact that it had a habit of preventing normal breathing.  No after care was offered and when I was being driven along one of the longest roads I have ever seen, I could see what the overall problem was – no one knew how to run a hospital properly.  This was obvious from glancing at the new facade of modernity being put in place as a result of incompetent planning and poor estate management :  I mean, - What is the point of building a patient’s car park over a half a mile away from the entrance and expecting patients and their relatives to  trek such a long way to reach even the front entrance ?  And, what is the point in having a facade in front of a wartime hospital that is a disgrace inside for anyone to travel through, let alone work in every day ?  The only boast Llandough can make is that it has the longest hospital corridors in the world, making access to wards physically impossible without the help of a willing Sherpa guide.

Step away from the corridor ( if you’ve any energy left ) and you encounter the same dismal treatment and x-ray rooms that haven’t seen a decent coat of paint since the ark docked !  As I was taken into the bowels of the hospital for tests - where people are expected to work in the most dreary and dismal offices - I felt as though the Health Board, the government and NHS Wales had completely got their priorities wrong, and covered up each mistake with another, instead of ensuring adequate and safe conditions for their staff to work in and for the poor patients to try feeling a sense of wellbeing that would aid their recovery.

The nursing staff was meticulous in their attention to hygiene, yet the wards were only cleaned in a superficial manner with absolutely no attention to detail.  Doctors rounds and visits were poorly organised with the patients being the last to know when their doctor did his ( or her ) ward ‘rounds’. The real saving grace of Llandough was in the regularity of the tea trolley and the consistency of food standards, albeit that choices and portions seem to have been reduced considerably.

Generally speaking, as a chronically ill patient near the end of life, I felt that the hospital didn't treat me as an individual and that playing ‘ducks and drakes’ with beds was the no. 1 priority.  As I said to the Bed Manager “I didn't create the disgraceful shortage of beds, you and your masters did by deliberately closing over 1000 beds, along with dozens of local hospitals and health care facilities”.  The Health Service in Wales is in terminal crisis, with more patients dying every day for the lack of adequate care.  The Minister ignores the Royal College of Surgeons' report that declared the University hospital as ‘dangerous’ and refuses to do anything to ameliorate the lengthening waiting times and the numbers of deaths of patients who were waiting for surgery.

Personally, I blame Devolution, because devolving health care in Wales into the hands of a bunch of unqualified, incompetent bunch of bureaucrats ( talking bureauCRAP ) was a mistake of disastrous proportions.  There is none of the promised ‘Openness and Transparency’ that we were promised because this would only expose the incompetence of the self-serving politicians who have caused this national crisis. And let’s be honest – saving their fat salaries is far more important than saving the lives of a few thousand patients that will die as a direct result of their total inability to manage a car park attendant’s job !   R.W.      

Monday, 21 April 2014


We must all lead healthier lifestyles

Wow, someone dug up one of Dr Tony Jewell’s old article’s and had it regurgitated by Dr Ruth Hussey, Chief Medical Officer.  The Echo obviously beat its’ sister paper to the scoop as the photo they have of the dear lady was obviously taken very early in the morning.  The shot in the W. Mail was taken after she had dressed and made herself appear quite photogenic and motherly.

The W.Mail had her photo opposite the shocking headline “People must share the responsibility for looking after their own health”.  I say shocking, because Dr Hussey uses the word SHARE, distinguishing her words from the ill-chosen words of Dr Jewell which put all the blame for our ill-health on us – you, me and the postman.

Unfortunately, it’s the same tired message, patronising us by telling us that we really shouldn’t be getting ill to clog up the much smaller and hopelessly inadequate health services  The other great news in her message is that the sales of electronic cigarettes have shown that they are in a wider use which is phenomenal. Personally speaking, I’m overjoyed that she has noticed this fact because we plebs know that this is due to the fact that thousands more people are making huge efforts to quit smoking. In other words, we are already trying to lead healthier lifestyles ( woopee !)

Sadly, she then goes on to say that more studies are needed to make sure that these e-ciggys aren’t a gateway drug to the real thing – cigarettes made of paper and tobacco.  Why dampen a message of good news, for pity’s sake ?  Surely, we should all get a pat on our heads for trying to eliminate one of the hardest-to-break addictions, ever ??  After all, these e-fags are at least twice the price of the genuine poisonous weed, so why would some kid want to start on an e-ciggy ?? ( answers on a postcard, please ) It seems that every health officer has to retain the upper moral ground by moving on to the other 52 factors that cause our unhealthy lifestyles, like living in poor communities where eating has become a luxury.

It’s no use, whatever WE do isn’t good enough, so we must get used to a patronising list of reminders every couple of months just to prove that NHS officers are making an effort to justify their huge salaries.  Perhaps she could factor-in the dangers posed by meteor showers and scorpion bites, to say nothing of the deadly carbon fuel fumes we are all made to injest every damn day ?  Anyway – in case you missed an important point – we weren’t asked what we could ( or should ) do in order to lead healthier lifestyles.  Aren’t we dumb ? – forgetting ( for a millisecond ) that THE GOVERNMENT KNOW WHAT’S BEST FOR US – so SHUT UP AND DON’T YOU DARE COMPLAIN !  Why the hell doesn’t she do something about the blatant robbery being committed by the ruddy supermarkets – buy one get one free, save 50% by buying a second packet, the tins may seem smaller but this is purely to ensure our portions are healthy – nothing to do with us taking you for being stupid so that we can make more profit.

Now, I like bananas ( someone told me they were good for me ) BUT, when I check the price of a £1 ‘bargain packet’ against the larger ‘loose’ bunches, I find that the £1 Economy pack is worth only 54p at the same rate as their bigger bunches !  I’m also told that eating items such as sweet potatoes is good for you – BUT, check the price per kg against normal potatoes and you find the same thing.
Why should healthier foods cost us more ???  A tiny plastic carton of salad will cost you as much as a BIG MACK and provides a fraction of the bulk and goodness of the demon cheeseburger.  It’s the same in a restaurant – you have to pay more for the nouveau cuisine that consists of an ounce of meat and a cupful of rabbit food – WE ARE BEING RIPPED OFF IN THE NAME OF ‘Healthy Eating ‘.  And heaven forbid that you should be dull enough to buy ‘ORGANIC’ food, at 40% more with only a tenth of the nutrients we need.

We’re being treated like a bunch of dumb Chelsea fashionistas, who think nothing a spending three times the normal price of food in the name of ‘keeping up appearances’.
Cobblerss to what other people think – we need cheaper food to live, not to appear as though we’re stepping into an Aston Martin or a Bentley as soon as we reach the over-priced car park.

The government know that 1% of the population can afford to be ripped off, but they forget that the other 99% of us are POOR and don’t give a rat’s buttocks if we buy our food at Aldi, instead of Fortnum and Masons !  So, government, get your ruddy priorities right and control the food market instead of expecting us peasants to have to live on a bag of crisps (unsalted, of course ) a week !!!     R. W.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

A Poor Exchange for Losing essential Services

Hospital gets £1m to help save cash (?)

I may too cynical but that headline is one of the most misrepresentative misuse of the English language.  How do you give that amount of money and then say “it’s to help save cash ?”  The Royal Glamorgan hospital has had to suffer a bellyful of incomprehensible changes that were all supposed to save the NHS Wales money by their cost-cutting measures.

Patients and nearby residents have all protested at the proposed loss of their Ante-natal services as well as the loss of their Accident and Emergency Department.  Needless to say, all their objections to the proposals totally ignored and more protests are ongoing.  So, having saved a huge sum of money making these unpopular cuts in essential services, the NHS/government are giving the hospital £1m to enable them to make MORE CUTS !

The government’s monumental stupidity over implementing their Programme for Change proposals have stunned the affected patients , residents and even consultants who are STILL protesting.  After all, what was the point in wasting all the time and money on public consultations only to ignore the 50,000 mostly negative responses - not counting the verbal responses that were supposed to be recorded in writing by the Community Health Councils.

Their is no democracy in Wales and, sadly, the uncaring government will watch the death rates climb with no compassion at all, and will  not accept any responsibility for their bad policies.  Failure is inevitable as is the probability that more adverse independent reports will be ignored.   R. W. 

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Another damning report for NHS Wales

Nuff said about failings !

More damning research reveals that Wales has cut health services too far, with the prospect of never being able to  reach acceptable waiting times.  Meanwhile, more babies will die needing prompt neo-natal emergency care; More heart attack victims will never make it to hospital in time, expiring in transit; Similarly, more chronically ill adults will be fatally failed, and; the elderly and/or elderly mentally infirm will have no place go, for the lack of specialist care and sufficient care homes throughout South Wales. No one can deny that this is remotely acceptable as a modern, efficient health service.

The recent independent report by the Nuffield Trust and the Health Foundation highlighted the disproportionately lengthening waiting times in Wales compared to our three British neighbours.  Not only higher recently but progressively higher since the first rationalisation of essential services began.  On average, it’s 170 days wait for knee replacement compared to 70 days in Scotland ( still way too long ).

Spending had slowed in response to austerity but Wales was the only nation to have made such huge cuts in expenditure on health services.  The report states that increases in waiting times “should have set alarm bells ringing” for policymakers when considering the inevitable impacts.  Leader of Welsh conservatives, Darren Millar said “It’s no wonder our NHS is falling behind and it’s no wonder Welsh patients are getting such a raw deal”. He added that “elsewhere expenditure on frontline staff is boosted but  in Wales  we are burdened by a decrease.”

The Prime Minister had a field day with this performance, saying that “ Offa’s Dyke had become a line between life and death and that this had become a national tragedy”. He also stated that our government “just don’t get it – faced with grief they demand evidence. Faced with evidence they demand silence.”  Jeremy Hunt, health Secretary joined the criticisms by accusing the Welsh Government of “Sleepwalking into a Mid-Staffs tragedy”, accusing them of “Appalling lapses of care”. Mr Cameron emphasised that Wales is failing compared not just to other parts of the UK but the rest of Europe.

And what is Carwyn Jones response ? He says, “We took our eye off the ball” Cameron compared this to “a man in the crow’s nest of the Titanic taking his eye off the horizon”, concluding that “This man and his government are sinking the hopes of a generation,”

All in all, we have to say that this is a darkening picture for future healthcare in Wales.  - R.W.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Do Dementia Patients get the care they deserve ?

Are Alzheimers Patients Triaged as ‘Low Priority’ ?

Let’s face it, dementia patients, in general, are usually old, incapable of speech and/or movement, providing our economy only with profitable funeral services. So, why worry about treating them at all ?

Having spent a year trying to help Margo Farbrace to save Bryneithin – Home for the Elderly Mentally Infirm – I became aware of the above opinion of dementia patients and their need for specialist care 24 hours per day.  To say that it was heartbreaking to see so many dementia patients trying to cope with their inevitable demise, would be a massive understatement.  On the other hand it was heart-warming to see the constant flow of loving care bestowed on these patients by the dedicated staff and the relatives who did their best to keep the attention and recognition of their loved ones.

Margo was just one of these hard working relatives, who defended the proposed closure of this home with a passion akin to that of Joan of Arc. Margo formed the ’Keep Bryneithin Home Open ‘ group, consisting of other distraught relatives and a few ‘hangers on’ like me and some politicians, in search of a good photo opportunity.

Concentrating on trying to stop the Vale Council from committing the heinous act, Margo was a wizard with her ‘pen’ and a most eloquent speaker at their public committee meetings.  It was my job to add the references to current legislation ( eg The Health and Social Care Act ) to the letters, whilst re-enforcing Margo’s determination to stop the closure of this – the only specialist care home for dementia patients in the Vale -  essential facility.

Unfortunately, following the death of the last patient ( their contract stating their right to stay there until their demise ), the home was brutally demolished to make way for a more profitable housing development.  Nonetheless, Margo continued her lonely battle against  the uncaring council that completely ignored the future needs of the Elderly Mentally Infirm.

To return to the title of this piece, I offer the case of an 82 year old Alzheimer’s patient who was kept in an ambulance, outside UHW hospital’s A&E department for over three hours.  His wife called the ambulance at 9.30am, yet at 1.15pm, he was still waiting outside the Accident and Emergency Department

His son, Andrew Leake, 57, from Chester, said: “It is unbelievable that, in this day and age, we treat old people like that.  I am really angry – is this the way we treat our senior citizens?”  A source at the hospital, who wished to remain free from ‘the whistle-blowers fate’, stated that there were 12 ambulances waiting  outside the accident and emergency department at 3.00pm ! [ Obviously this wasn’t one of those days when ‘Robust Planning’ managed to control the flow of acutely ill patients.]

No apology will suffice in a life-threatening situation such as this, and poor old Mr Leake was obviously triage d as being the lowest priority.

If you want to help the fight for specialist dementia services you can contact Margo through me, by e-mailing .  With a growing number of the elderly the need for such specialist accommodation is essential.     R. W. 

Monday, 7 April 2014

Atrocious Mental Health Care

( Take ) Care in the Community

Since the final depletion of our once-effective mental health Services, we have all been waiting for the ‘bed equivalents’ to rise from the ashes like the glowing Phoenix.  Having talked about this transition for at least ten years, we had a reasonable expectation that provision for the care of the mentally ill within the community was just about to appear on the distant horizon.

Unfortunately, the promises of psychiatric assessment at you local GP, more Community Psychiatric Nurses and – of course- the advent of ‘Talking therapies’ have all remained a figment of imagination at the Universally Inept Health Board, in their newly refurbished offices based in the grounds of Whitchurch hospital. [ Let us not forget that the replacement for this Victorian Asylum is an ongoing farce, having had at least five planning approvals for building on site, plus a 2.1/2 year delay in the building of a replacement on the overcrowded and inaccessible LLandough Hospital site ]

To the importance of the NHS, mental health services  are still at the level that is below whale excrement. The Cinderella Service has all but disappeared, except to those who have to endure this abdication of care.  The lack of proper assessment has been highlighted often over recent years.  However, the case of  Patient John Jenkins, 24, who killed his mother and sister two days after being taken to a mental health unit following a suicide bid is gripping, to say the least  At the scene of this suicide attempt witnesses report Jenkins repeatedly shouting  that he wanted to kill his mother.

Following a 90 minute ‘examination’ by a psychiatric nurse, he was declared ‘low risk; and released back into the community.  Jenkins then went on to kill his mother, Alice McMeekin, 58, and University of South Wales student Katie Jenkins at their home in Cumbria, with an axe !  He was sentenced to a minimum term of 12 years, at Ashworth hospital.  The Crown Prosecution Service ( bless ’em ) accepted his guilty plea on two counts of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.  If he recovers during this internment, he will resume the rest of his sentence in prison.

As if this wasn't tragic enough, the daughter of a Cardiff nurse brutally strangled by a paranoid schizophrenic has hit out at authorities for planning to release the killer back onto the streets of South Wales.  This decision was described as being “breathtakingly insensitive” by daughter Joanne Welsh, 27, after only four years since the murder of her mother the day before Mother’s Day.

Surprisingly, the perpetrator, John Constantine was only just recently released from a psychiatric hospital and, being homeless was offered a bed at the kindly nurse's home, where she was beaten and had her wrists slashed prior to the eventual murder.  Needless to say , he was convicted of manslaughter, on the grounds of diminished responsibility and sent indefinitely to a maximum security hospital.  Four years later Miss Welsh received word from the Ministry of Justice that Constantine should be sent back to south Wales for treatment, with the possibility that he could be back on the streets soon after,

Two horror stories that involved Care in the Community.     R. W.

Prudent Healthcare and Robust Planning

Plans pay off for winter, says Minister

“Significant  Improvements”  in a number of areas during the winter due to robust planning by NHS staff, Health Minister says.

No coincidence in the date of publication – APRIL 1ST – APRIL FOOLS DAY !

The article states that Minister Drakeford was giving evidence to the Health and Social Care Committee* that the NHS was able to withstand the winter months. It could only be an April’s Fools joke because we didn’t have a severe winter at all, nor did we have any outbreaks of the usual Flu variants that hit us during the typically freezing weather conditions of snow, slush or black ice.

In other words, we didn’t have the “Unprecedented demand on our health services” that are typically made on our NHS, because we had the mildest winter for decades.  Therefore, there was no need for the Minister, or Dr Graham Shortland to trot out their usual excuses for the failures of our emergency services during the winter months.

Sadly, it was just an April joke, because the ambulance service, and their patients, suffered long waits outside A&E and even longer waits for insufficient hospital beds.  The only change was that the complaints were confined to a few excellent letters in the local press, that couldn’t be ignored.  Yes, even with a mild winter, our emergency services were overstretched, especially at Cardiff and Vale University Hospital Cardiff which was transformed into a building site at A&E where accessibility to even-more inadequate services was being reduced. During this period, I was sent to UHW with chest pain and experienced the chaos of trying to get chronically ill patients inside for treatment.

Instead of throwing out all his usual B.S. ( business statistics, of course ), our dear Minister should have been addressing the matter of the thousands of patients who have been waiting over 36 months to see their hospital consultant.  These figures – revealed in previous posts – show the truth of our health service in crisis.  Meanwhile all that Carwyn Jones can shout is that “It’s that lot over there wanting the NHS to fail !” Unfortunately, we are cursed with an opposition who are frightened to press there case.  But why do they shirk their duty – after all the NHS and education will be issues 1 & 2 respectively, in all forthcoming elections. Perhaps the electorate will have more intestinal fortitude, and will vote this venal government   out of office ?      R.W.

*A privilege that he denied to his senior colleague, Ann Clwyd MP. Precisely when will the First Minister’s rabble allow this fine lady to Present her irrefutable evidence – What’s he afraid of – the TRUTH ??? 

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Don't kill the messenger

 Party Betrayal in the Sennyd

Last week, two letters regarding Ann Clwyd's claims of many complaints against NHS Wales, particularly the University hospital of Wales in Cardiff, were published in the Echo.

In your article of the 19th, headed 'Carwyn Hits out at Labour MP on Welsh NHS Claims', you allowed Carwyn Jones to cast doubt on Ann Clwyd's claims. This outburst on television from the Sennyd was to the extent that he demonised her as a trouble-maker, actually implying that she had produced no evidence.

He shouted out that he had asked her many times - in person and in writing for her to provide the evidence and added that his Health Minister had done the same to no avail.

This week. on the 26th March, Ann Clwyd MP tried to make a date when she would present her evidence to the government's Health and Social Services Committee. Contradicting his early attack, he asked his labour members to vote on whether or not Ms Clwyd should be allowed to meet the Health Committee with her evidence.  Inexplicably - to any sane person - Carwyn's AMs voted unanimously to deny Ann Clwyd MP her right to appear before the committee.

The only possible explanation for this about-turn is that Carwyn knows the complaints are justified but wants to cover-up the crisis in our NHS, in order to stop there being any adverse criticism made in front of Labour's electorate.  The fact that Ann Clwyd is a highly respected, long serving and senior member of the Labour party shows Carwyn and his cronies as dishonest and disrespectful as he was in the Sennyd.
R.  W.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

What's a target, anyway ?

A&E targets missed Again - Echo 25th March 2014

In archery, a target is a series of increasingly smaller, coloured rings on a circular background approx. 1.1/2 m square.  The object is to fire arrows at it with the aim of getting as close to the centre ring as possible ( Preferably not on a public avenue ). Of course, the first factor in this process is the distance between the target and the archers.  If they are at opposite ends of a 40 acre field the target is probably out of sight and out of reach.

The second factor is in having a bow of sufficient strength to propel an arrow all the way to the target and to penetrate the rings.

This analogy may seem inappropriate for a public health service but it does serve to make some useful parallels.  The first one is the question, “Who sets the target and what benchmarks are used to determine if they are attainable”.  With the NHS, this is the target for A&E which is set by some politically - guided bureaucrat who has absolutely no idea what is achievable because two factors not available. The first is; the resources available to deal with healthcare needs of the second factor which is, “How many people will need treatment over the target period ?” Quite simply, how do you know how many A&E resources are needed when you have absolutely no idea of the anticipated number of patients – let alone how to meet their needs?

The third factor is whether or not the archer has the expertise to aim at the desired target, or whether the A&E consultants are able to control any kind of aim that enables him to hit the target.  Finally, what penalties do you impose if A&E staff fail to meet the target that they did not agree this objective as being feasible in the first place ?

The same argument applies to all specialties within the NHS, especially the Ambulance Trust to whom targets are , quite simply, ridiculous and utterly meaningless when they have no idea how many patients they will have to transport, over what mileage, in any one day, let alone a year.

In conclusion it would appear that setting targets in the NHS is impossible, and the idea is as useless as udders on a bull !    R. W.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

The Peoples Republic of Wales

and why ? -

Soaring NHS waiting lists, Plummeting school standards, Jobs for the boyos. – AND


With the latest outbursts from our First Minister, you could finally conclude that Wales has become an autocratic republic, twinned with North Korea.  At least Kim il Carwyn, hasn’t had Ann Clwyd taken out and shot for daring to state the fact that NHS Wales is in a deep, deep crisis.  But, then Cardiff is not yet on a par with Pyongyang and – mercifully for outspoken critics of our declining health service – Kim il Carwyn is a bag of wind who hasn’t the power to criticise his betters.  Ann Clwyd is a Labour 24 carat, 100% genuine stalwart who is more senior and far more experienced than our bully-boy First Minister.  Frankly anyone who criticises this honourable Lady deserves to be dragged through the streets in chains, tarred and feathered.

No matter how much the clown-barrister from Brigaden shouts as he brow-beats his critics in the Sennydd, he cannot silence the Tsunami of criticism of NHS Wales which, all agree, has such a parlous future.  Carwyn and his forerunners have reduced our wonderful health service to a bunch of military field hospitals, purely in order to cut costs.  As with their military counterparts, our hospitals are understaffed and inadequately equipped to deal with health needs of Wales now and in the future.  Many changes have been made – all futile and failing to improve healthcare anywhere in the ( former ) Principality.  Our health staff, however have soldiered on through all the cuts, working well over any expectation in a Herculean effort to provide the health care that their patients deserve.

Here, I quote Robert Hardman of the Daily Mail, ”Take the health service. Welsh patients –. and their loved ones - who want a full investigation into why the Principality has some of the UK’s most alarming hospital statistics are told there’s no need for one – and woe betide anyone who won’t take no for an answer.  Look at this week’s demonisation of Labour MP Ann Clwyd who saw her husband die ‘like a battery hen’ in a Cardiff hospital in 2012 and has become a mouthpiece for thousands in the same situation.  No wonder there has been an exodus to hospitals in England, as we report today.”

He continues, “I have listened to Athena – a furious Pembrokeshire woman forced to pay for her own hip operation because of an 18 month waiting list – six times the average in England. The Cardiff spin machine would love to paint her as a rich Tory stooge.  Certainly the only person speaking up for her is her local Tory M.P. Simon Hart.  Just one problem comrades.  She’s a lifelong socialist who has spent her entire working life as an NHS Nurse “.
And, “I have listened in ghastly detail to the story of a mother of five who died after a catalogue of neglect at her local hospital. The hospital also lied to her family, leading her son to launch a local uprising against the management of the Welsh NHS.  So, is he a Tory agitator ? or anti-welsh ? No, infuriatingly for Labour’s state apparatus which has already tried to bury his complaint, he’s from a mining background in the Rhondda and spent 30 years teaching in a South Wales comprehensive.”

Well, Ann Clwyd has demanded the resignation of the Chair, Maria Battle and the Chief Executive of the Cardiff and Vale University health board, Adam Cairns, who released the confidential report into the death of her husband.  She says, “in my opinion, this information has been released for spiteful and political reasons because I have been critical of both UHW and NHS Wales.”

Having campaigned against both these bodies for over 13 years, I can only hope that she is successful.  In my personal opinion, the entire health board should be scrapped and rebuilt around people who know and understand the reasons for the existence of the NHS.    R.  W.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Ooooops ! - the NHS consultation process failed again

Lies, Damn Lies, and NHS Lies to Shame a nation and betray its' populace

In my recent post 'The hypocritical Oaf', I accurately reported on the apparent rejection of the changes for Royal Glamorgan hospital, Llantrisant by CWM Taf Health Board, which later proved how easily this stupid Welsh patient could be hoodwinked. During the very next day the Echo produced another article that provided so-called testimony from unknown sycophants of the Health Minister that concluded that the changes MUST be made to 'ensure patient safety'.  Every piece of this article contradicted the earlier headline that "Health Board Rejects Changes" in accordance with the text prepared somewheree in the bowels of Cathays Park.

Now, today we hear the news that the changes of the South Wales Programme are going to be implemented in full - exactly as originally proposed !  In other words , in spite of over 53,000 written responses - the majority of which were against ALL of the changes - and tens of thousands more verbal objections, our treacherous government will go ahead with taking Paediatric, Neo Natal, and Accident and Emergency services away from Royal Glamorgan hospital. Llanelli will lose its A&E services, Withybush its neo-natal services - and all contrary to the overwhelming weight of public opinion. Needless to say, all other hospitals mentioned in the infamous 'Programme' will be affected, exactly as the proposals indicated a year ago. [ With one notable exception, that being the hospital to be built in Cwmbran that will be blessed with an A&E unit, if ever the hospital gets built ! ]

Unbelievably, NHS Wales and our corrupt Welsh government have perpetrated the greatest, and cruelest, acts of criminal negligence and fraudulent consultations ever recorded in our history.  Our health service now face the greatest crisis in its' history, just as Ann Clwyd MP warned after reading thousands of criticisms by the public and patient groups. Incredibly, Carwyn Jones, in his Stalinist outburst, chose to regale the entire Senedd with accusations that she had not produced one shred of evidence, despite repeated requests from him and the the Health Minister.  Not content with ridiculing his senior Labour Party colleague, he then cruelly suggested that Mrs Clwyd was influenced by her opinion of the way her late husband had been treated.  I can only hope that the entire Labour Party supports Ann Clwyd by reprimanding Jones for the remorseless bully-boy he has shown himself to be.

No matter how many times the First Minister and the Health Minister try to wriggle their way out of their responsibilities, the fact remains that NHS Wales is in the worst shape ever to provide healthcare services to the Welsh people.     R.  W.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

A Day Late and a Dollar Short

A Day Late and a Dollar Short

The number of patients waiting more than 36 weeks for hospital treatment has risen to 16,109 – a new high.  Welsh Government targets say that 95% should wait less than 26 weeks and everyone should be treated within 36 weeks

Meanwhile – still refusing to hold an independent enquiry into mortality rates - Prudence Drakeford pumps another £5m to cut waiting times for diagnostic tests.  It is hoped that faster tests will mean quicker treatment, which I doubt as £5 is too little too late.  With a massive total of 415,152 patients waiting for the start of their treatment at the end of January, with a total of 89,999 being treated during the same month, it doesn't look like NHS Wales is going to achieve anything but an increase in frustrated patients and higher mortality rates.

After releasing this information, Prudent Prudence Drakeford went back to his allotment which benefited from his early attention to detail and the advance expenditure on tools, vegetables  and seedlings enough to ensure a safe, sustainable supply of vegetables and fruit – all ‘fit for purpose’, of course !    R.   W.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Abolition of the NHS - Exposed

Keiser Report - Episode 573, 11.03.2014

In this episode, Max Keiser turns his superb financial analytical mind to the gradual sell off of NHS Assets

[ Before proceeding, it it vital to note that yesterday in Parliament, Part of the Care Bill was cancelled in order to allow hospitals to be sold off. This is a matter of record ]  
This change in legislation is the clearest signal yet that our governments in England and Wales are to continue to sell off hospitals cheaply to sell on to property developers for a large profit, acting like free marketeers.
The population are not being mandated about the changes to the NHS, showing their complete contempt for public opinion that would undoubtedly reject these revolutionary and counter-productive changes.  For information , 30 % of the £100bn NHS budget is 'spent' on administration, which is directed to concealing such  mercenary policies in order to accommodate making disposal of NHS assets for profit, under the excuse of making 'essential' cuts.  We are misinformed that these cuts are to improve patient services by making them "Fit for purpose" ( whatever the hell that means ).

The author of this book 'SellOff - the Abolition of the NHS', Peter Bach, was Max's special guest, who had been approached by a high number of doctors who wanted this blatant corruption exposed and, of course stopped. Max interjected by referring to a report by Alistair Heath of 'City AM' which states that, "The NHS
has always been mercenary, not caring about health, only growth".

This proves the motive for closing hospitals with 1000 beds being lost was/and is to bring about the current unsafe and dangerous conditions which will be used an excuse for further sell-offs, instead of more essential investment.  The evidence is clear to see, if only the apathetic patients and public would bother to look.
On Monday, 10th March 2014, the Echo reports the article, 'Apologies for delayed ops' which states that "Nearly 1700 operations in Welsh hospital had to be put back due to a shortage of beds". Having reduced the number of inpatient beds by 1000 or more, NHS Wales are  admitting that the shortage of beds is a direct result of their closure policies.

In case anyone is in doubt the NHS's closure of all-but 4 A&E units is a contributory factor to this disgraceful situation, where overcrowding in A&E units is to blame for the lack of availability of hospital beds. ( incidentally, there are eventually to be 5 ( that's five !) A&E units, the 5th being at Cwmbran hospital which hasn't even been built yet !  Also, our Minister of Prudent healthcare - having totally disregarded the Royal College of Surgeons report into deaths of over 152 cardiac patients awaiting surgery - covers up this continued destruction of the NHS by making outlandish, and totally unjustified, attacks on all his critics with his 'Cold Rage' reported by Media Wales.

On March 6th 2014, Professor Prudence Drakeford "slams cynical Tories for dragging NHS through the mud".  Having consigned the Welsh NHS to the mud in the first place, it's hardly any wonder that ANY of his critics could be blamed for exposing his shameful actions at any and every opportunity !

My father once told me "There is no one so stupid as someone who will not learn", and this applies to Pru Drakeford and his boss, Carwyn Jones.

My prediction for the future is that the Cwmbran \hospital will be built under a P.F.I ( Private Financial Initiative ) scheme, which will result in huge profits going to a private developer for building and managing the new hospital,  Also, don't be surprised if your local GP practice starts billing you for their services !  R.  W.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Heartening news of imminent Surgery ?

Record heart surgery waits

As a heart patient whose long wait allowed my arteries to a point that further intervention wasn’t possible, I have great empathy for those anxious patients waiting for heart surgery. Thirteen years ago, I had to wait 4 weeks for an angiogram, and then a further five weeks for my surgery.  At the time, my cardiologist did his best to hurry the surgeons up because my condition was deemed to be serious.  Eventually a great surgeon pinched my radial artery and said, “There’s a 98% you’ll be ok, and a 50% chance that you’ll die within a couple of months if you don’t have the bypass !” Tough choice – right ?

However, I had a row of stitches down to my abdomen and was invited to join the Zipper Club.  After a few weeks to get mobile, I looked back on my life and realised what a huge waste of time it had been as I hadn’t really done anything that meant amounted to a hill of beans.  Anyway, the easiest decision I had made in my life was to devote all the time I had to helping other heart patients which, for me, was somewhat noble.

Right now, I can at least feel that I have managed to be of help to many patients, increasing my remit to putting my name down on four help lines, which included other surgical patients and the mentally ill. My efforts still don’t amount to a hill of beans but I feel a hell of a lot better for giving it my best efforts.  Today’s horror story is that 950 patients are waiting for heart surgery.  Of these, 183 have been waiting more than 36 weeks – a record high for five years. [During those 5 years, the Royal College of surgeons found that 152 of those poor souls had died before getting anywhere near the operating theater.  Don’t ask me to check the Math. but 63.8% of patients had been waiting 26 weeks, or less.

With a typically casual response, the Welsh Government announced that some patients would be offered the opportunity to be treated in England, after an assessment of risk to life ( lucky them )  As yet, we have no idea how long it will take to reduce the backlog – especially when the hospitals had cancelled elective surgery, to make enough beds available for the “excessive winter demand” ( to quote Director Graham Shortland’s broken record ).

In my opinion, these long waiting lists are due solely to the incompetence of the NHS Wales and our government, who consistently proved that devolving health to their care was a BIG mistake. [God help us if the recommendations of the Silk report are implemented. To my mind, a referendum on devolution should be carried out with great urgency, so that the myth of an effective devolved government may be dispelled forever !].  Until then, we’ll be forced to endure higher mortality rates and a nation of poorly educated kids.   R. W.

Thursday, 27 February 2014

The Hypocritical Oaf

Consultation Good News - and then it was gone !

It's quite remarkable how quickly good news can change.  One week, the South Wales Echo was heralding the wonderful article entitled, "Health Board Rejects Plans for Change." For example; The Echo on the 14th February reports an apparently revolutionary act by a Health Board with the Title “Health Board Rejects plan to Take Services from hospital for ‘best fit" ( whatever that’s supposed to mean ).

However, without burdening you with my usual diatribe, the article portends to state that the plans to remove Neo-natal, Accident and emergency, and Pediatric services from the Royal Glamorgan Hospital have been rejected ( which I stupidly interpreted to mean that these essential services will remain, as expressed by the thousands of objections to this part of The South Wales Programme ).  As Captain Mainwaring would say “Stupid boy”.

THEN, the very next day ( that’s the 15th February, a Saturday - when the Echo reckons that the public are preoccupied with shopping and the pursuit of trivial sports – is another article ( by the same easily led reporter ), entitled “Children’s Services not safe, say doctors’ chief.”

Amazingly,  THIS  informative article quotes a Dr Mair Parry of the Royal College of Paediatrics stating that we need fewer units in Pediatrics, Accident and Emergency, and Neo-natal care.  She trots out the well-worn excuse that there is a lack of specialised staff in these specialities, and that fewer, more specialised units would be ‘safer’.

Then – incredibly – Dr Chris Jones and Allison Williams of Cwm Taf Health Board say that the proposed changes provide a “more deliverable starting point”.  This was supported by Programme Director, Paul Hollard, who dreamed up the South Wales programme ( in a haze of cannabis smoke, or a shot of Diamorphine ), which he is implementing exactly as planned. In simple terms, this means that the article stating “Health Board Rejects plan to Take Services from hospital for ‘best fit’” is deliberately misleading and totally untrue. [I guess they thought that the stupid public would read the first article and then be too busy celebrating on the Saturday, shopping or watching sport.]

So, Professor Prudence Drakeford becomes the Hypocritical Oaf by making us believe that the plans are rejected, and that the thousands of objectors had won the day.  Then, the very next day, he and his sycophantic followers revert to supporting the original plan, thereby allowing Prudence to hold out his hands in mock surprise, before continuing with implementing the plan.  And – as if by magic – the Sorcerer’s Apprentice’ Paul Hollard becomes Chief Executive of the ABMU health board.

Seriously, you couldn't write fiction like that, could you ?      R.   W.

P.S. If i think of anything that's lower than whale shit - besides Prudence Drakeford and his lying boss, the Worst Minister - I'll be sure to let you know.  Trouble is, I don't know how long I have left, so I figure I'm entitled to express years of frustration in this way.  Sorry if anyone else is offended !

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Why have there been so many preventable deaths of patients on surgical waiting lists ?

“Cold Anger” is no answer to Reasoned Criticism

‘Prudent Healthcare’ is becoming a new disguise for a continued policy of “We’ll carry on shrinking your NHS Wales, regardless of who ( or what organisation ) criticises us.” Even when the criticisms are supported by factual evidence and, therefore, fully justified, our government stoically maintains that “We know best”. There is no defence that can be put forward that justifies the selective destruction of our NHS facilities, over the past 13 years, to the detriment of our citizens and their wellbeing.  Consequently, the Minister’s arguments against essential enquiries ( into failing healthcare ) are nonsensical, like a bellicose child who stamps his feet, sucks his thumb, occasionally screaming “I’m NOT changing, so there !”

Of course, it’s unfair to compare an inexperienced bureaucrat like Prudence Drakeford to a child, simply because a child learns from his mistakes, whereas our Minister and the government do not.  This is evidenced by the fact that decisions on the future of the NHS in Wales are made by our government which is – collectively and individually – incompetent .Nothing they consider is as a result of a detailed assessment of the needs of our population or the manner in which that population changes.

Doctors ( they’re the healers, incidentally ) rarely play any part in deciding on what changes are needed to best serve the majority of the population all of the time. Ridiculously, their position in our system of healthcare has been usurped by mindless bureaucrats who see our future dependent on policy documents that say little, are -in practice – useless as udders on a bull, and are unenforceable in law.  No, our country has been taken over by bureaucratic bully-boys who act like bailiffs recovering our human rights from us, whilst managing us like a herd of sheep.

Sir Bruce Keough's e-mail to Dr Chris Jones, Medical Director NHS Wales expresses his concern over the mortality rates at Welsh hospitals and the worrying increase in waiting times for elective surgery and also the high numbers of patients waiting more than 36 weeks for a first appointment with a hospital consultant.  This is the communication which has sent our health minister into his 'cold rage' However, when we consider that the same minister refused to hold a public enquiry into the Royal College of Surgeon's damning report on the avoidable deaths of patients awaiting Cardiac surgery,we are entitled to ask why he is so upset.  He would say that he asked for two internal reviews, but can't explain why reports on these 'reviews' have not yet been published by The Welsh Health Specialised Services Committee, or the Cardiac Surgery Working Group. In fact, to say that his 'reviews' are a tad overdue would be typical of the contempt shown to patients and their relatives by their NHS. Personally speaking, I doubt whether either report will do anything to reassure cardiac patients awaiting their surgery but then I'm an incurable cynic in the latter stages of Heart Failure.

I await the reports with mild interest.   R.   W.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

A Nation Dependent on Anti-depressants ?

Last monday the dreary old Western Mail posed this question in the traditional NHS manner of blaming patients and the public.  There are two main points of view, of course,

11. everyone who complains of depression just needs a kick up the pants and to be told to “Pull yourself together !” and –
2 2. mental illness affects approximately one in five of us at some point and just like any other sick person they need sympathetic help and, perhaps some treatment.

The greatest enemy in the struggle against mental illness is stigmatism, which does manifest itself in many forms – some are deep rooted prejudices, belonging in the pre-Victorian days when you were considered either to be a danger to everyone, a whimpering odd-looking stranger, or a person possessed by the Devil.  Also, you have only to possess and demonstrate some minor idiosyncrasy such as a stutter or a neurological spasm or twitch to be perceived as being ‘off your rocker’.  When I think of the many people I have seen with cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, dementia or Parkinson’s disease, I become very sad to think that they are often regarded as figures of ridicule who must be ‘mental’ to cause such physical peculiarities.

 The causes for this ill health may lie in some some genetic aberration, or a major traumatic event, such as losing your job, a divorce, the death of a loved one or – simply – being unable to cope with the rigours of life, because of constantly being poor, or unemployed and unable to provide adequately for your family. After suffering my own anxiety depression, I know how prolonged feelings of sadness, or failing to get a job can become so stressful that you don’t want to eat and sleeping becomes extremely difficult. That’s when you need most help, you’re too frightened to talk to anybody because of stigma ( no. 1 mostly ). You feel that just mentioning your problems will instantly have you branded as ‘mentally unstable’ – a brand that becomes an indelible stain on your character.  

In my opinion, being unable to take up a normal role in society shows the failings of our government that thinks it knows what’s best for us, so doesn’t give us any say in any of the extraneous factors affecting our lives. Our government is useless, for what is the point of having elected representatives if they’re too afraid to represent your interests for fear of losing their jobs ? Our councillors and assembly members are moral cowards who won’t follow any issue through to a successful conclusion that satisfies the electorate.

G.P.s prescribe anti-depressants to the 60%  of people who aren’t psychiatrically assessed. Cuts in hospital beds or treatment centres mean that primary services will go on administering a mental cosh make up for the lack of proper mental health services.

When you look at the standard of living in Wales, it’s no wonder that most of us are dependent on anti-depressants.  R. W.

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Influx of Patients at City Hospital - Shock, Horror Probe !

Cutting the Patients to Fit a Cut Down Service

Think about this hypothesis !  Mental, Old Age, and all Physical services in Wales have all been rationalised, centralised, reduced, or lost altogether.  That's numerous hospitals with over a 1000 beds lost, along with a huge reduction in front-line staffing levels.  Moreover, the inadequate services remaining have been lost or made inaccessible to the very people the NHS was founded to serve.
Q - Why ?      A - To cut costs, regardless of patient need !

After closures, the number of A&E departments left will be 4/5, the fifth one intended for the Cwmbran hospital that hasn't even been built yet !  So, just imagine the gridlock that will have been created by our incompetent government simply to enable them to blame the patients for trying to get help ?  A horrific picture, with only the chronically ill managing to join the cue for treatment.  AND, just think of those chronically ill having to be transported by ambulance, through heavy traffic, for miles more in order to be assessed for treatment.  Even these patients are blamed for the delays when lack of beds that causes the problems in the first place.

Of course, the absence of permanent  DEDICATED A&E staff causes enormous stress of the nurses and clinicians that are expected to  be on the wards and on call for A&E at the same time. When finally you reach the wards ( IF you managed to survive the long journey, then the wait for assessment ), the situation is no better.  Dedicated ward nurses are stretched to the limit, reduced in numbers, over-burdened with paperwork, and having to care for more patients than usual.

In the midst of all this pre-meditated mayhem ) we get Dr Graham Shortland ( NHS Director ) belatedly ( it being February already ) stating that there has been an 'unprecedented influx' of patients to a Cardiff Hospital  [ have you guessed its name yet ? ]. Not content with repeating this annual diatribe, he prattles on, "Whilst the sickest and most vulnerable patients are being seen promptly and there are no significant ambulance delays ( yeah right ), we would ask local people to help us by NOT coming to hospital with minor illnesses or minor injuries that can easily be dealt with, either at home, or by taking advice from services like NHS Direct". So, what is a minor illness, if not diagnosed as such by a doctor ? AND Why assume that patients use A&E in order to congregate socially whilst having to wait  four to twelve hours to see a nurse ?
Therefore, having a policy of "seeing patients with the greatest need first" ( as the great man states, assumes that SOMEONE is able to assess this need between home and hospital ). Superfluous to add that Dr Shortland doesn't make this request to non-local people who ( he assumes ) couldn't, or wouldn't make th journey in the first place !

Therefore - unless you fell asleep after the first paragraph - this is all part of the pre-ordained plan by our government, to Cut Patients to Fit the Cut-Down NHS Services, regardless of whether deaths will increase tenfold, either in acute neo natal, chronically ill, Trauma victims etc., who can't access hospital treatment, or can't get there safely and in time to be treated.

PULEEEEEASE don't forget that ill-health is YOUR responsibility. Live healthier lifestyles, exercise more, don't become obese, don't copulate and create extra babies, don't have silly accidents, don't catch communicable diseases, don't get depressed by being unemployed or unable to afford food and your mortgage and - above all - avoid hospitals at all costs.   R. W.

P.S. Although I don't like to boast I ( at least ) am doing my bit for the cause.  This week my Cardiologist has stated that my heart is "Extremely weak" - which I take to mean that it isn't worth renewing my subscription to 'Philatelist's Weekly' - so, if you're in the same holed boat as I am, at least we'er true Patriots, prepared to die for our country at the whim of NHS Wales !!!     r.w.

Monday, 3 February 2014

Following the Breadcrumbs !

Choosing the Right Pathway

Now that I am only 11 months away from my allotted three score and ten - and have a very dodgy ‘Jam Tart' - I thought I should give some serious consideration of which way I plan on going to the Great Blogger’s Cyber Space in the Sky.  After hearing about the Liverpool Pathway, I didn't fancy having some stethoscope -necktie-peddler deciding when to withdraw my medication, before slowly depriving me of food and water in order to hear my final breath.  So, I examined the Welshpool and the Aberystwyth pathways before dismissing them for being unable to meet the mandatory ‘Your Last Words must be in Welsh’.

Eventually, I chose the Abertawe Pathway because I knew it was near Swansea and on the Great Western route ( which is cheaper if you book a return ticket 4 weeks in advance, even though you only intend going the one way – isn’t it ? )

Anyway, the Abertawe Pathway consists mainly of a daily diet of Laver Bread, fried in dripping with Mussels and cockles, with an optional fried egg on top. The dessert would be Bara brith and custard – the lot being washed down with four pints of Brain’s S A. And if that doesn’t kill you, nothing will !

I became a bit maudlin then, so decided to continue ‘The Adventures of Professor Prudence’ in order to buck my spirits up a bit.

After reading that A.B.M.U. Health Board were having an independent inquiry into the failings in care at the Princess of Wales Hospital Elderly ‘Abused’ at two hospital' ( Western Mail February 1st ), I remembered that Professor Prudence had refused any inquiry into the Royal College of Surgeons report that highlighted the avoidable deaths of 152 cardiac patients. Now, I ask “How did old Pru get away with that when they can have an independent inquiry into abuses at hospitals under A.B.M.U. ?" " Where were the ass-kissing media then, after U.H.W had been declared as being dangerous ??"  They should have pilloried Pru for failing in his duty to investigate all such serious matters, but no, they let the old tree-hugging horticulturist off without even offering any criticism.

Reading on, I was horrified to find an article that brought immense credit to Pru, following the delivery of a £4.6m radiotherapy machine that would be of immense help to Welsh cancer patients, instead of sending them to England.  The old boy had finally got something right !

After spending an hour in a darkened room, I recovered enough to remember that our dear Professor Prudence still had more  bad news for Wales patients, when he finally gives his approval to the rest of the changes proposed in ‘The South Wales Programme’.  What a surprise, eh ?  The changes are ridiculed and totally rejected by the public, yet professor Prudence Drakeford will confirm all of the changes underway, as specified in Paul Hollard’s Implementation Programme that was well underway months ago.

And you wonder why the people of Withybush and Llanelli are so annoyed at Pru ???

Like a Nazi general, he will stand at Breconburg trials and say  “I VAS ONLY OBEYING ORDERS”  R.W.