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.