Thursday, 21 September 2017

NOT ABOUT THE NHS



I can't whinge about the NHS anymore as I've migrated to New Zealand. The health system in NZ is modelled on the UK and consequently, suffers the same strengths and the same demerits as the good old NHS. My wife suffers from rheumatoid arthritis and is a frequent user of the service. In May she had surgery on her cervical spine and last week she had an emergency op on her lumbar spine. In this regard, I can find no fault. The acute service here is amazing. If you really need prompt medical attention you will get it and the quality is second to none.

If you want your bunion clipped or a hernia operation then proceed to the bottom of the waiting list. Waiting times are a problem unless you have the gelt to go private. Then, of course, everything happens in a bright flash. I rarely burden the health service, but last year I required investigation for a 'bad back'- the bane of the ageing bipedal human. I chose the private route, without medical insurance. A week later after receiving excellent diagnostic testing I was relieved of $1000 and told I had arthritis of the spine; old age is finally taking its toll. I'm not complaining about that. It was my choice and I had the quick reassurance that I was not suffering from something more sinister, such as an autoimmune condition. However, if you are ever unfortunate to visit the Emergency Department, except when the  'All  Blacks' are playing, expect a long wait; generally a very long wait. And if you turn up on Friday or Saturday nights, well don't.

In my experience, the NZ doctors and nurses in the public system are well trained, dedicated and overworked. My wife's neurosurgeon is highly qualified, highly skilled and has a genuine concern for patient care. He could bugger off to the States and earn huge amounts-  he's a brain surgeon, after all.


My gripe concerns the administrators and especially senior administrators. The people want shorter waiting times and the government responds not by allocating more resources, which requires more money, but by placing pressure on the senior administrators who run the various district health hubs. I understand that resources are limited, tis all about money after all and hence tax money and there is only so much shearing of the sheep that is permissible. For that I'm thankful. So what do administrators do? Well, one thing they can do is ensure that patients/clients/stakeholders/consumers: read as to current buzz-word, spend the absolute minimum time in hospital. Once stabilised post-op, you are out. It matters not that the patient, in the best interests of medical care, should have received a few extra days of medical supervision. The inpatient turn round times look good on a graph at board meetings and the CEO gets his/her $200,000 annual bonus. The incumbent government can gloat verily about current statistics and everyone involved in the healthcare business, including senior administrators, knows its all, absolute, complete, bollocks.         

5 comments:

  1. The principle of the NHS is good:- the practice can be summed up by Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy:-

    Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy
    In any bureaucracy, the people devoted to the benefit of the bureaucracy itself always get in control and those dedicated to the goals the bureaucracy is supposed to accomplish have less and less influence, and sometimes are eliminated entirely.

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  2. The wife had a lumbar spine fusion and was booted out of the hospital after three days, and given just 5 (fucking 5!) sessions of physio as she learned to walk agsin. Six years later and the ongoing pain she suffers is distressing to watch. The ACC wont acknowledge her (pre-existing condition, you see) and so the medical bills have run into the tens of thousands over the years, as we are forced to pay for private rehabilitation. Other than that, our health service is fucking awsome. Apparently.

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    1. kiwiCunt, I'm sorry to hear of your predicament. My experience differs from yours. The NZ system is no where near perfect. It suffers from defects, but still, is a lot better than most systems in the world. If we lived in the States we would be totally fucked, unless we were incredibly rich. This states the obvious, if you are rich, regardless where you live, you can do the fuck you like. Ain't dat the sad truth. As a fellow traveller watching the person you love suffer beyond belief, I offer my sincere regards to your lovely wife, tinged with a kiss.

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    2. Thanks Saxon. The system works up to a certain point. Once in , it's fantastic, no argument. Getting in and staying in, can be difficult and that's where the problems lie. I'm not privvy to the inner workings of the healthcare system and have no idea how they make the decisions they do. I think they get it right more often than not, but when it goes tits up, it REALLY goes tits up. Sorry to clog up your message board ��

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    3. No problems Sir, I'm more than happy to respond to comments especially if they are from the heart.

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