Thursday, September 15, 2011

Little by little, bit by bit

Yet another bit of the NHS failed us today. As a result of very aggressive antibiotics, our son has gradually been developing a serious side effect over the last few months. (This has happened before and is one we have to cope with from time to time.) Unfortunately it's got significantly worse over the last week. So we thought we'd better see someone about it. Our first approach via GP came up with a consultation in a months time - given the seriousness of this, we felt this was too long to wait. Our second approach - to GP and consultant got this brought forward a little.

But the problem got worse last night. So we asked the GP and consultant again this morning. I think the GP feels it's beyond his competence (and can understand that). The consultant isn't around until next week. So when it got worse, we had to resort to our local A&E. (Not our first mistake - but a significant one.) The nurse who saw us felt it was beyond her and needed a doctor. The doctor felt it needed a consultant but couldn't identify one available before the appointment we have. Net result - we were sent home with no investigations, no guidance, no treatment and having spent 3 hours in a casualty department to no purpose whatsoever. We were discharged just in time not to cause a 'breach' - so they hit their target - but it's hardly a success. He still has the problem and the NHS has passed the buck up and across the tree.

What really worries me is the increasing lack of willingness of people in the NHS to engage with the problem and the apparent absolute terror of taking responsibility for anything. The people were individually nice but seemed mainly concerned to pass the problem on to someone else. The doctors parting words to us were 'come back if it gets worse' - why, when they are not going to do anything? We will deal with this, but we shouldn't have to do so alone.

PS There were other frustrations like the passing on of incorrect phone numbers by receptionists and the half day closure of the surgery but these just made the whole process more irritating and were swallowed up in the larger overall failure.


  1. I get this frustration as well - while I understand if something is beyond the rank and file to treat, a doctor wouldn't attack it, but what I cannot possibly understand is the severe lack of specialists and consultants (and the whole need to go through a slew of people who cannot possibly help one anyway if one has a complex problem).

    There needs to be more consultants and specialists in the system...but then I guess said consultants and specialists have to stop getting frustrated at mediocre pay, resulting in going private or overseas for a decent wage.

    A self-referral system just makes so much more sense.

  2. I'd love self/carer referral as well, but find we have to jump through these hoops to get referred up and on all the time - not for actual treatment. It means people have to live with the pain and the problem untreated for longer just to get to a consultation where someone hopefully can eventually DO something.
    We saw his GP today and made a little progress - pinning our hopes on next weeks consultant - not sure that's such a good idea.