The same could be said for the NHS, which is possibly in a worse state than I am. If you have been following this column you will know that my cancer took me into A&E early in 2013, and eventually everyone agreed it had gone to about five places. It has been using the blood to travel around, rather as I do the London Underground, but became trapped in the tiny alveoli of the lungs where it formed nodules about 6mm in size (length? radius? circumference?) Radiotherapy was used on the original site, and the region around it. Hormone therapy is applied by means of a 12 weekly injection to my belly fat which I keep expressly for that purpose, on medical advice. Since the many experts (I had seven consultants at one point) agreed I should have an oncologist, Ive been taking a miracle drug costing the NHS (if it truly exists) about £40k per annum. The result is that I now feel fine. Weak, tired, always hungry, always sleepy, but fine. For now. Hmm, said the young doctor at my local GP practice, we are fairly relaxed about prostate cancer here. After four months of appointments, at which they flatly denied that there was anything wrong with me until I presented at the local hospital totally unable to pee, I would agree – they are far too relaxed about too many things. My wife, who lost her mum at the age of 61, went to them aged 57 saying a) these are the symptoms… b) this is the family history…. c) Mum was sent away to return aged 59, dying at 61. My wife was told to come back when there were more symptoms.
The rules seemed to be that you couldn’t be screened until you were 60! These rules hadn’t changed since her mum had died all those years ago. I made her go back and see a locum. He whizzed her in to our other big hospital (we have two and about five or six small ones) and three days later the offending item was removed. It was abnormal and might/might not have become cancerous. She now gets regular check-ups. Cameras p the harris and suchlike. I hope it isn’t the same camera they stuff down my throat periodically, or at least that they give it a wipe between times. But our GPs are fairly relaxed about such things! The nurses on the other hand are run off their feet, both at the Health centre and the Hospital. There are ever fewer of these consummate professionals, and their numbers are ever diluted with something risibly named ‘agency staff,’ where people who don’t want fixed responsibilities, or can’t get into NHS employment, go wherever they are sent by people making a fortune out of the fix we are in. They also earn more than regular NHS staff. I know a guy I used to work with who turned over a couple of million pounds last year, merely running an Agency to match health professionals with temporary vacancies.
He retired from his proper job six or seven years ago and built up this totally unnecessary business from scratch. Steady on old boy, I said to him, they’ll make a Tory out of you! Always been a Tory, Ian, he said. I have two young relatives who are ward sisters locally. Agency staff are not the way forward. But I am not going to blame them; that sits squarely on the shoulders of Hunt and May.
To be continued….
by Ian Charles.
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