All Hail The Mighty NHS!

Alan Sledmere lost his wife of 24 years, Shirley, on November 6, 2016 from a perforated gallbladder.

Just three days before she died, Mrs Sledmere, from Sidcup was taken to Queen Elizabeth Hospital with severe abdominal pain, but was sent home because no ultrasound appointments were available.

Oh, wait…

Concerned for his wife’s welfare, Mr Sledmere booked her in for a private ultrasound scan on November 7.

Unfortunately, Mrs Sledmere collapsed the day before she could make it to the scan.

Is that why we pay into the NHS, to then have to pay again…?

After Mrs Sledmere died, Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust carried out an investigation which found that an ultrasound would probably have shown Shirley’s perforated gallbladder.

The report admitted “there may have been an opportunity to alter the outcome,” and recommended staff are always available to give ultrasounds to patients who need it.

You’d think it was common sense. Wouldn’t you?

After Mr Sledmere wrote to health secretary Jeremy Hunt to share his concerns, Mr Hunt said the availability of scanning machines was a decision for individual NHS trusts.

However, he did admit that “the general expectation” across the NHS was that patients taken to A&E “should have immediate access” to services like ultrasound scans.

And since that (pretty basic) expectation has been shown to be false, how about refunding the money extracted for a service it can’t provide?

17 comments for “All Hail The Mighty NHS!

  1. May 4, 2018 at 10:29 am

    Just shaking the head at the bureaucratic senselessness of these things. There seems no common sense in it.

    • May 8, 2018 at 7:45 am

      Common sense….well, it’s no longer common.

  2. opsimath
    May 4, 2018 at 10:54 am

    ‘The envy of the world’ isn’t it? I’m sure I’ve heard that on more than one occasion.

    My sympathies, Mr Sledmere; may your wife rest in eternal peace.

  3. Penseivat
    May 4, 2018 at 11:27 am

    Despite offering his condolences to Mr Sledmere, I doubt that the Health Secretary is really all that concerned about the state of the NHS as he, and his family are entitled to private health care. No waiting for 4 hours in an understaffed A&E for them. Also, why does the media continually misspell his surname by beginning it with an “H”?

    • James Strong
      May 4, 2018 at 12:24 pm

      More details please, or a link.
      Are Hunt and his family entitled to private health care because he is in the Cabinet, or because he is any sort of Minister, or because he is an MP?

  4. Stonyground
    May 4, 2018 at 12:28 pm

    I’m not sure that it’s fair to blame the current health secretary, the NHS has been a bit shit for as long as I can remember. The problem seems to be that socialised health care is a shit idea that doesn’t work very well.

    • Ted Treen
      May 4, 2018 at 2:53 pm

      Socialised healthcare might not be the bees’ knees: it is, however, better than the US system, in which a broken leg can mean bankruptcy, or an impecunious position can mean “stick a plaster on it then bugger off to die”.

      The biggest problem with the NHS is that successive generations of government have created a massive unwieldy bureaucracy and its concomitant culture.

      Then it becomes apparent how accurate Pournelle’s Iron Law of Bureaucy is.

      • Stonyground
        May 4, 2018 at 3:02 pm

        So there is only the NHS system or the US system? There aren’t any other countries that have managed to come up with better healthcare then these two bad examples?

        • Ted Treen
          May 4, 2018 at 10:59 pm

          Those who have used the French system seem to sing its praises: part insured but also part socialised. Maybe the appropriate hybrid would be the best.

      • Errol
        May 4, 2018 at 4:19 pm

        The UK and North Korea are the only countries that have a socialised health care system. Google the Danish, Swedish, Australian systems. They are all insurance based.

        • Ted Treen
          May 4, 2018 at 11:00 pm

          True, but my experience of the UK insurance industry (in any aspect) does not fill me with confidence.

        • May 5, 2018 at 3:35 am

          The Oz system is mixed. The Health service is funded by taxes here, covered in small part by a medicare contribution. There is a much smaller but vibrant Private system which is Insurance -based with the premiums set by Government. The Catholic Hospital system is the largest non-government provision and it too takes both public and private patients.

          The Oz health systen overall would collapse were it not for Catholics, and the current anti-Catholic stance by the Courts reaping business from hysterics and false accusers to fill lawyers’ pockets is putting the whole in grave danger. Catholics could easily just throw the Health towel in and say ‘sod it’ and sell off their Hospitals just to pay ‘compensation’ to thieves. The medicare charges would triple overnight.

          No health system is perfect and we can expect any to have errors and failures, from which we learn and move forward. Political errors have far reaching effects for which Doctors ought not to carry the can.

          The NHS of GB is a model which many other nations follow with interest. It suffers from being bureaucratically top heavy. That is a government fault, not a medical one.

          Almost everywhere one goes the ‘Emergency’ intake sections are overloaded with people who are not in emergency. They tend to reduce the effectiveness of the Accident service provision simply by tying up resources.

          As for the case in question, it is almost inconceivable in most western countries for such basic equipment and appropriate staff to be unavailable. The chap has every justification for his anger and dismay.

    • May 8, 2018 at 7:46 am

      Spot on.

  5. Hereward Unbowed.
    May 4, 2018 at 4:58 pm

    What a very sad affair, RIP Shirley, we join in your silent scream of despair Mr. Alan Sledmere, I can only offer very sincere condolences.

    Plus, if you count on the mercy and good offices and efficiency of London NHS hospitals then you subject yourself to the failure of state provided medical provision. So inhumanely designed to be inefficient, bureaucratic, busybodies who are only concerned with making the patients lives as miserable as is possible, thus caught in a very hard place and between the rock of kack handed bodge and total disregard. The NHS, makes us all so very proud .

    Britain, must move away from this failed model, a one size fits all bonkers medical provision system, private medical insurance and genuine competition among hospitals is the only way to put patients where they should be – ie FIRST and nowhere else but FIRST.

  6. Stonyground
    May 4, 2018 at 6:33 pm

    The problem is, how do we get from where we are now to where we need to be? A majority of the public seem to think that our healthcare system is brilliant. Which political party would dare to grasp the nettle and make the commitment to dismantle the NHS? People don’t seem to understand that they are paying for it through their taxes, they think that it is free.

    • Hereward Unbowed.
      May 4, 2018 at 11:10 pm

      “People don’t seem to understand that they are paying for it through their taxes, they think that it is free.”

      Shifting that perception and set against the relentless, incessantness of egregious ‘I, you, me, us – we all are enforced to luv da NHS’ propaganda which spews, comes from the unions from UNITE/UNISON to the BMA, RCN et al and labour party with the Socialists, luvvierati in general, is, a nigh impossible task.

      The British people, have been institutionalised, medicated and put into an induced coma and only the ‘Liverpool pathway’ is set for you, all of you little people (indeed how many senior NHS staff doctors ‘n’ all have private medical cover I wonder?) , in the meantime whatever it takes to nanny you to an early death and/or kill you off sooner, is dedicated to so do.

      • May 8, 2018 at 7:47 am

        It’s too late – the Kool Aid went down the throat, and no amount of emetics will get it out of the system now.

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