Saturday, October 05, 2013

NHS - 2013

Having decided  following  discussion with a senior hospital medic, that a relatively minor AF operation  might be attractive to avoid  the occasional heart double beat and very occasional light headedness, experienced over the past 5 years and to dispense altogether with the beta blocker tablets recommended to overcome such symptoms,  an half day in our local NHS hospital was arranged for various tests and to have the whole system including the potential advantages and disadvantages of the operation, explained.

Possibly this slight  problem arose at at c. age 59 from running a marathon too many or possibly not...

The patience kindnesses and interest from all the hospital  staff who I  met  were  most welcome and given the criticisms of the NHS that appear in newspapers virtually daily, almost surprising. There is so much negativity in the media about the UK  National Health Service, that I really expected to find the local hospital which is St Georges NHS teaching hospital in nearby Tooting, awful. The reality so far is entirely different.

The staff are friendly and informative and the building is clean, bright and modern. No intrusive questions about insurance, or payment or credit cards which would be the last thing on one's mind having regard to the nervousness usually applicable to any medical procedure.

I arrived  arrived slightly early for the appointment with the medics so a visit to the hospital's in house coffee shop was ideal. Interestingly not only was an early morning latte 'just what the doctor ordered' - apologies for the pun - but also its cost at £1.50p and taste, compared pretty favourably with   a cup of coffee from one of  the usual suspects on the high street which mrs maytrees and I enjoyed later in the day.

The receptionist at the cardiology department was fun to talk with when I entered that department.There then  then followed a whole range of blood and other tests with a couple of specialist nurses accompanied by a student, all of whom were interesting, friendly and with conversation that  perfectly balanced the medical with  non medical matters - such as families  work education and house prices.

After the tests there was a meeting with  the British Heart Foundation arrhythmia    nurse specialist, who analysed the expected procedure and answered the various questions I put to him in a completely unhurried informative way.

The op is due to take place in a week with an expected stay in hospital of about 2 days.

So far at least, the whole procedure seems remarkably speedy  with the op being scheduled barely two weeks after being put on the waiting list, human and efficient.  Nothing to pay either; yet when analysing the costs of medical services in other countries  especially in the USA where currently government is being put on hold while the politicians argue about the cost of health care for ordinary people there, the costs of the NHS to the taxpayer in the UK (including yours truly)  seem substantially lower than the  cost of health to taxpayers and insurance premium payers, elsewhere in the West.

Still as they say; "the proof of the pudding is in the eating", so assuming of course that I live to tell the tale - more soon.


  1. Hope all goes well for you, Jerry. France gives pretty good value for money, too, though goodness knows how long it can last!

  2. Very interesting interview with Sir David Nicholson, Chief Executive of NHS England.

  3. Greetings Barnaby
    Very interesting - I listened to the whole piece. Encouraging that he feels that the NHS will survive for at least 5 years. Discouraging in that he considers the NHS has become such a political football that one can only really develop things after elections because both main parties seem to feel they have to promise the status quo. But even then the political gap during which professionals can get on with it only lasts for about a year before the next bout of electioneering begins. Thankfully though we don't yet suffer from American style Obama-care health provision problems nor thankfully is the whole health system run by insurers or for profit. Human health seems to me to be the one aspect of life which should be free for all as after all we may die otherwise.


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