Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Back to the NHS

Up until I got home, I've been Outside the NHS. Now I'm back, my care reverts back too. As an aside, I have no issue with using the bits of both systems I need. Using the private scheme my employer gives me means one less person using NHS resources. Yes I'm paying to get seen quicker, but that makes the queue shorter for others who can't pay. But I also pay a large amount of tax every year and as far as I'm concerned that means I can use the NHS too. I'm entitled to stuff all else out of the State and I do try and cause the NHS as little trouble as I can.

The interface between NHS and private blows my mind though. I have no idea how it works and as my previous experience of asking the NHS to cope was of exercising my right to choose a birth hospital and even that, within the NHS, was a nightmare of multiple forms, transfers between teams and, most irritatingly, denial of responsibility for care (not my problem, you want [insert non-available team here] or, I don't know what you need to do now), I figure I had better work out how two parallel, supposedly symbiotic systems work together.

That's a bit of a rant, apologies. Whilst I do think the NHS is an overly bureaucratic system that is not always designed in the best interests of its patients or its staff, I do nonetheless think it is a wonderful thing that the UK has a healthcare system free at the point of use and we are very privileged to have it.

Anyway, Wednesday's task is a quick trip to the GP who referred me to say hello, I'm back and now what? She's been on holiday and is catching up with my case when she calls me in, and she's surprised by the turn of events. She's surprised because, after the diahorrea episode that triggered this all off, my bowel habits were returning to normal, leaving the only obvious symptom as blood in my stools. Once she's got over that bit, she deals with all our questions: who changes the dressing if it's needed (the practice nurse), who provides new dressings (the NHS - here, have a chit that exempts you from prescription charges for 5 years), will anyone come to see me at home?

DH asks the last question. Her answer is, "If you are physically unable get to the surgery, call an ambulance. You have just been through a massive insult to your body and you will need urgent medical attention."

I leave with a mental picture of the plumbing consultant shouting, "Fuck off!" at my insides.

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