Thursday, 13 August 2009

NHS Patient early deaths continue. Will no one stop them?

Read this little episode as an example of how well NHS is doing at meeting its targets and ignoring patients while doing so. Apparently the service worked wonderfully, according to the service provider, but the patient had the nerve to die.
I wonder what McBrown will put in his twitter about this........?

Thanks to Mark Steyn for this extract from his blog.,com_frontpage/Itemid,33/

Here's one of those anecdotal horror stories from Scotland's National Health Service that we are enjoined by American "reformers" to pay no heed to. From the Daily Record:

A mum suffering chest pains died in front of her young son hours after being sent home from hospital and told to take painkillers.
Debra Beavers, 39, phoned NHS 24 twice in two days before getting a hospital appointment. But a doctor gave what her family described as a cursory examination lasting 11 minutes, before advising her to buy over-the-counter medicine Ibuprofen...
Seven hours later, the mum-of-two collapsed and died from a heart attack in front of her 13-year-old boy.

It's one of those stories that has all the conventions of the genre: The perfunctory medical examination; the angry relatives; the government innovation intended to pass off an obstructive bureaucracy as a streamlined high-tech fast-track ("NHS 24" is some sort of 1-800 helpline). Indeed, in the end, it's all about the bureaucracy: The 1-800 guys don't think you're worth letting past the health-care rope line. So you call again, and ask again, and they say okay, we'll find you someone, but he can only spare eleven minutes of his busy time. And, while you're being carried out by the handles, the bureaucracy insists that all went swimmingly:

NHS 24 executive nurse director Eunice Muir said: "We can confirm Ms Beavers contacted NHS 24 and that her onward referral was managed safely and appropriately."

Phew! Thank goodness for that. In the Wall Street Journal, our old friend Theodore Dalrymple writes:

In the last few years, I have had the opportunity to compare the human and veterinary health services of Great Britain, and on the whole it is better to be a dog.
As a British dog, you get to choose (through an intermediary, I admit) your veterinarian. If you don’t like him, you can pick up your leash and go elsewhere, that very day if necessary. Any vet will see you straight away, there is no delay in such investigations as you may need, and treatment is immediate. There are no waiting lists for dogs, no operations postponed because something more important has come up, no appalling stories of dogs being made to wait for years because other dogs—or hamsters—come first.
The conditions in which you receive your treatment are much more pleasant than British humans have to endure. For one thing, there is no bureaucracy to be negotiated with the skill of a white-water canoeist; above all, the atmosphere is different. There is no tension, no feeling that one more patient will bring the whole system to the point of collapse, and all the staff go off with nervous breakdowns. In the waiting rooms, a perfect calm reigns; the patients’ relatives are not on the verge of hysteria, and do not suspect that the system is cheating their loved one, for economic reasons, of the treatment which he needs.

That's because, in their respective health systems, Fido is a valued client, and poor Debra Beavers wasn't.

Cassandra comment.
This and other episodes of failures by NHS bring to mind the old image of the British 'jobsworth' mentality that was so prevalent when Trades Unions ruled the land. I am now beginning to think it is a British cultural phenomina that has always existed. It allows people to say 'Well I did my job as per instructions', or 'It's more than me-jobs-worf to use discretion' while watching failures occur all around. In many cases the NHS failures lead to deaths. I guess as an Anglo-Saxon, quasi Germanic race this attitude is very similar to that of the WWII German soldier who just following orders when committing an attrocity.
What a legacy from McLabour!

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