Tower Hamlets Watch

What the Hell is going on with OUR NHS?

June 5, 2010
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Today I’m absolutely fuming, I would express myself far more explicitly than this, but I dont know who is reading.

I’ve recently been party to two patients stories this week regarding Tower Hamlets version of our NHS system called ‘Tower Hamlets PCT’. Both are of pensionable age, and both in my opinion are in great need of care. Both have worked in this borough all of their goddamed lives, and IMO have been cast aside, because the system just doesn’t seem to bloody care anymore.

The first story is of a lady (lets call her Sally), who has just had a major piece of surgery on her bowels at the Royal London at Whitechapel. You know the one, the one where their spending £1,000,000,000, yes thats a billion pounds on fixing up, and bringing us ‘Neanderthals’ in Tower Hamlets upto date into the 21st Century. I’m not too sure how much of that Billion pounds is actually allocated to after-care though, if any?

The morning after her surgery a physiotherapist turned up at ‘Sally’s’ bed while she was still literally unconscious from the oral morphine, and in extreme pain. She stayed for less than 2 minutes, enough time though to explain to her that ‘Sally’ must follow the excercises in a pamphlet that she had left on her cabinet. She then informed ‘Sally’ that she had to leave as she was due to see another patient in 10 minutes. The physio went on to say that “if there were any problems to call and she would be right up”.

‘Sally’ called for the physio over the next couple of days numerous times, just so she could understand the excercises correctly. Seeing that she was in pain and had internal stitches, she was worried about causing further injury. No physio actually turned up again for the duration of the stay.

What I cant understand is, is that this ‘ physio’ was with a patient, so why was she rushing to another one? and just importantly did she say the same thing to the last patient before attending this one? Following this form of logic, if you say this to every patient, and your on a rota of a certain number of patients a day, then spending a minute or so with each one, you could probably be finished before ‘McDonalds’ breakfast menu closes.

On the second day after surgery when she was taken off of the morphine, ‘Sally’ was then told that she wouldn’t be able to leave the hospital until at least she had passed a bowel movement. They were concerned enough to consider giving her opening medicine to ensure the process. The doctor’s and also Ward Sister, all expressed their concern to Sally. Yet over the Bank-Holiday weekend, she was asked to leave as they needed the bed. This person who was a ‘Bed Manager’ of some sort apologised saying that they were “extremely sorry about the situation”, and confided in Sally quite seriously that;

“If we had our way we would have 2 patients in a bed, thats how bad things are……..the situation is that bad that if we had our way we would have people placed top & tails”

Now ‘Sally’ still had not passed anything, and explained this to ‘Bed Manager’ who was with the Ward Sister. Expressing her own concern, explaining also that throughout the night that she had been sick, in fact was still so, and really didn’t feel up to leaving.

This was excepted by the ‘Bed Manager’, and she left on her way. The Ward Sister returned after, apologising for the request, and explaining her self that she personally didn’t feel as if ‘Sally’ should leave just yet, and neither did her doctor.

Over the next day or so, opening medicine was prescribed and the results although medicated had the desired effect.

‘Sally’ soon expressed concern regarding the operation, as a ‘hard-lump’ had developed just under the skin where the operation had occured. This ‘lump’ and I’ve felt it is rather quite large. A specialist doctor, who attended the surgery, expressed their concern regarding this lump, and was at a slight loss. Their hypothesis, was that this was congealed blood, and that hopefully this would start to release itself from the ‘open wound’ left by the drainage tube.

They went on to state that they thought it;

“would be better for you to leave and go home, as staying in Hospital would increase the risk of infection. You have an ‘open-wound’ and couple this with the fact that any infection would spread through congealed blood like lightning, then I would advise that you would be better off leaving the hospital.”

They went on to state, that;

“not to worry, that there would be a safety net in place through a ‘district nurse’ if you wanted one, or to just attend your local GP, for after-care.”

Sally decided to leave, with no complaints, and took the advice of this Doctor, and decided that she would take the ‘district nurse’ option as she was still uncomfortable. One of the nurses who was there with the Doctor promised to refer her case to the District Nurse team, and that she would be seen by this Thursday (Yesterday) at home by the Nurse.

This morning ‘Friday’ the district nurse had still not arrived. ‘Sally’ had felt throughout the night sickness and feverish and also this lump was now becoming quite warm. I took it upon myself to call her GP, who told me to phone the District Nurses. I phoned the District Nurses, who were not available and it kept going to answer phone. I then phoned the Hospital Ward directly and talked to a senior nurse there who could not recall Sally being there only a few days before. I understand they cannot remember everyone, but it is frustrating none the less. After a short conversation, she said that there were no notes on Sally, and that waiting for the correct Nurse to turn up would be wrong. Instructing Sally to call her GP (which I’d already phoned) or attend the Accident & Emergency. I asked about the District Nurse, and she told me she had no way of influencing the proces, and gave me the same number that kept going to answer phone.

I can tell you, I was about to explode.

Eventually today an extremely pleasant District Nurse turned up, and informed us that there had been no referral from the Hospital. No one had contacted them, and that they had only came from our repeated attempts at contact through everyone we had contacted. Now I ask you, how many others, not as lucky as ‘Sally’ to have people around her who care, are there out there who are now just being neglected in this way?

Sorry for the long post, but if your still here, I’m going to tell you about patient number 2.

This other patient will will call ‘Fred’.

‘Fred’ who has been in and out of hospital recently for breathing difficulties, and also someone i know, has had his own story to tell this week. ‘Fred’ woke up on Wednesday morning, getting up he felt some pain in his stomach, and reached down to find what he thought was a small piece of metal sticking out of his stomach. Although not really too painful, obviously ‘Fred’ was extremely concerned at finding this. ‘Fred’ called up his local GP, explaining the situation and was told to attend the ‘Walk-In’ clinic outside the A&E at the Royal London.

Let me just explain that ‘Fred’ told me that the only personal explanation he had, and that he’d reiterated to all of these medical proffessionals, was that over 20 years ago he’d had a stomach operation. His own personal diagnosis was that this could be some remnant of surgical equipment left behind after the proceedure.

‘Fred’ attended as instructed at this Clinic. After waiting and being seen, he was told that he would have to attend hospital, but was given no explanation of what this foreign body sticking out of his stomach was? As the ‘Walk-In Clinic’ is just outside the A&E department of the Royal London, ‘Fred’ asked whether he should just walk across the way?
He was surprised to hear that ‘No’, he should go back to his GP and get him to give hime a referral letter to the Hospital and that he could then come up and be seen straight away. On complaint at the time, he asked

“why dont the staff at the Walk-In clinic just write a referral letter now and he hand it in just across the road?”

he was told that this was;

“just the way things are dealt with these days, its more efficient that way”

‘Fred’ then dejectedly and actually flabbergasted took him self home again, phoned his GP who arranged an appointment for the following morning. ‘Fred’ attended his GP surgery, was examined, and a flabbergasted GP told him that he thought that it was actually ‘sutures’ from this operation inside his stomach over 20 years ago that should have been disolvable but obviously they were not, and that somehow they had not only pierced the stomach lining, but also through the skin of his stomach.

What gets me, is this, this fuckwit of a GP did not give ‘Fred’ an emergency referral letter for the Hospital so that ‘Fred’ could attend a physician immediately, he told ‘Fred’ he would contact the Hospital under the normal contact proceedures and arrange an appointment. Now as anyone knows who has waited for a hospital appointment, this could take weeks if not months, so again ‘Fred’ left the supposed care of a system that was set up to look after emergencies, and run by people who are supposed to help you. As one who can see no ‘wrong’ in the system, but like all english doesn’t want to make a fuss’ – ‘Fred’ as another of the residents of this borough, is left to now fend for himself. With an open wound in the side of his stomach, caused apparently by a 20 year old mistake from a previous operation, which could IMO lead to infection. They never gave him any medication in the form of antibiotics, or any advice on keeping the area clean.

So as the title of this rather long and probably boring post goes,

What the Hell is going on with OUR NHS?

Posted in NHS