BBC “Scotland” were at it again last week with one of their all-too-frequent attacks on our jewel in the crown aka NHS Scotland. Their glee in jumping on anything that can be used to criticise and demoralise the efforts of those working to keep us all in the best of health is quite pitiful and somewhat at odds with my own experiences.
Last week our NHS gave me a bed for a few nights owing to a planned procedure to hack through my trapezius muscle and remove a large growth from my upper back. Strangely enough, for a service that’s obviously falling apart at the seams, I was booked in for the operation within the promised waiting time and attended to with amazing dedication and care.
Those of you that have studied physics or chemistry to any sort of level will readily recognise this wee diagram of an atomic nucleus with some electrons buzzing around it in perfectly ordered paths. That’s what our NHS reminds me of. The doctors would make their rounds letting the various patients know who’d be getting out and who’d have to stay in. Nurses would make sure everyone was comfortable, the cleaners would get stuck into their tasks, the auxiliaries would make the beds and bring you tea or coffee and make sure you had a fresh jug of iced water, all as regular as clockwork. The food was excellent too.
When the BBC report was on, the old guy opposite me spat his disgust at the telly: “Why do they never report the good things?” Doesn’t suit their agenda does it? This old guy was actually into his EIGHTH week in the ward. He’d long since been treated but, since he’d fallen at home and the Council hadn’t yet made the necessary improvements to his house, they were keeping him in, no questions asked. Where else would you get a service like that? No question of him being considered a bed-blocker and dumped unceremoniously out for whatever family member would have to look after him. He needed to stay so there he was. I myself expected to be out on the same day as my surgery. I felt fine but they weren’t happy with certain indicators so I’d no option but to stay, being of the mindset that if a doctor tells you to wear a jester’s hat and walk around the ward on your hands then that’s what you do.
Such an attitude was unfortunately alien to a teenager with a damaged finger they brought in one day. He “absolutely was not staying in the hospital overnight”. This argument went on long beyond the time by which I would’ve chinned him with the nurses still patiently explaining why everything was being done in his best interests. It ended with him grabbing his bag and storming out with a nurse in hot pursuit. Rather than giving him a sticking plaster and their best wishes, they brought him back again this time with a female relative who proceeded to moan about the fact he was admitted first thing but still hadn’t been operated on a few hours later. Er… this is a hospital, ma’am. Sh*t happens. You know – things like inconsiderate gits hurling themselves through car windscreens and stuff and needing to go up the priority list. These folk are dealing with these situations day in, day out. I don’t know about you but I couldn’t do their job.
Could we run the NHS to the same standard in the event of a No vote considering the creeping privatisation unfortunately coming in south of the border? The less public money spent on the NHS in the south means the less that’d be available via Barnett up here. Then again the Barnett formula would probably be the first thing to go and would no doubt be replaced by brutal cuts to our pocket money subsidy. We’d probably need to pay lower wages to imported labour and contract out certain services where profit would be the contractor’s primary motive.
Still, the People’s Party will protect you, after all ma faither voted fir them and so did his faither – pairty o’ the workin’ man innat. Won’t they? Andy Burnham, Shadow Health Secretary: ”Let’s get health policies that can be consistent across England, Scotland and Wales.” Oh well, goodbye free prescriptions and eye tests – you were nice while you lasted. That should make you shiver. Of course after a NO we’d be in no position to complain. Why should you get better treatment than your fellow countryman in Southend?
Here’s one final point worth pondering: in one recent month in our local medical practice, one of only several in our relatively small town, guess how many missed appointments there were?
Makes you think doesn’t it? How much time and money is being wasted if this is replicated throughout every practice and hospital in the country? We all want the best from NHS Scotland but let’s at least have the decency to meet them halfway.