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.