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.