Sunday, 6 January 2013

The NHS - I feel like I am walking through treacle.

I am so tired.

It is like we have been transported back 18 months with some of things that have been happening.

As far as hospital is concerned, because daughter is so far into maintenance chemotherapy she is considered to be at low risk.  At low risk of what, I'm not sure.  But her low risk-ness has not stopped her being very, very poorly over the past few days.

She has run a fever for over 3 days now.  They give her a paracetamol which brings her temperature down a bit, but then when the paracetamol wears off, it shoots back up.  She's never had a temperature this long in her treatment.  She's already had a week of oral antibiotics, and now 3 days of heavy duty antibiotics.  She's been very sick, and I've been transported back to some pretty heavy going caring duties.  

(NEVER do give paracetamol at home though, cancer parents, unless you have consulted your hospital as it masks temperatures and if you are at home and dose them, you can hide fever which is a serious symptom, especially in neutropenic patients.) 

Unfortunately, there was no room in the teenage unit for daughter, so we are in isolation in the children's ward.  They are so overstretched, and I am once again finding myself frustrated over her care.  I know this is not their fault, but it does not make it any easier to be on the receiving end.  Some total idiot in management has decided to cut 3 beds on the unit, essentially removing a nurse.  The problem is, the unit is always full.  Daughter sent them over numbers, and a night into her stay they were full with 6 more patients coming in for treatment.  Management might think this is just a fluke, and that it will drop off again.  Except, I have been on this ward at all times of year and it has always been full.  The nurses say the same thing.  

Let's hope the person that made this decision never be in a situation where their immuno-suppressed child is left sitting in their own waste whilst their parent tries to frantically sort them out in a room with no curtains to protect their teenage modesty, and nobody able to stay longer than 2 minutes to help as they are too busy with far worse cases on a children's cancer unit, eh?  Maybe if they diverted some of the funds that they spend on infection control posters into nursing staff, they would find that infections decreased.  

I work in education, so I am always amazed at what government controlled institutions, like the NHS, can find money for when the one thing that none of them ever seem to be able to afford is more on-the-ground staff to make the whole experience so much better and safer for everyone.  Buffet lunch at the meeting, anyone?  Artwork for the offices?  Let's employ another twelve matrons/leaders/mid-ranking managers on 40-60k salaries who do nothing hands on, but are very good at directing all the people who do to spend even more time filling in pieces of paper.

It was crazy, I was running around trying to get help, accutely aware that last time daughter became seriously infected it was a life or death situation, but the doctors were too busy doing paperwork (I'm not stupid, I know this is important, but surely there should be a rank system in terms of urgency?), and I saw some of the nurses making patients' breakfasts.  I would have thought having a healthcare assistant to do that would be a better use of resources.  If daughter ends up critically ill, that must be more expensive to the NHS that employing someone on a Sunday to make the toast?

I have relatives who work in the NHS.  Everyone know it is SHIT if you are in there ill on a weekend.  I was told I couldn't have an epidural in labour on a Sunday because the anesthetist would not be available, except in emergencies.

Britain: a national healthcare system not to be beaten, 6 days a week.  We all rest on a Sunday, and that includes you, sick people.

I am hugely appreciative of National Health.  It should be global.  But I am not hugely appreciative of the people taking home the massive salaries who make decisions on how to run it, who seem hell-bent on running it into the ground.

Anyway, I must go.  I am sorry this is a rant, but anyone who has spent as much time in the system as me would surely start to see the very obvious flaws.

Nurses, I salute you for having to work in the conditions that you do.  I am sorry, it should not be like this for you.  If I was the emperor, you would have far better pay, there would be better working conditions, and you would not have fifteen bureaucrats above you making your job increasingly ridiculous.  They would be too busy being trained to give practical help and lending a hand in the busy times... 

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