Forget How Healthcare WAS!

Crazy as this sounds, but I am so grateful that my cancer journey started in 2007. Although much has changed since then, I believe that the risk to the patient is now worse. The state of healthcare anywhere in the world is very chaotic. Not solely due to covid, but it is certainly a big factor. Progress in the cancer sector was certainly stagnating in the UK, pre-covid. We now have political instability too, giving us the perfect storm. Incredibly the health of our nation is of no interest, as our politicians jostle for popularity. Amongst county-wide panic about energy prices. NHS leadership, the puppets of the Government are also staying silent whilst the entire organisation is collapsing in front of them.

Cancer trials are now becoming less, as we focus on other work. The cost of drugs is now becoming a massive issue. Every major decision is being delayed due to increasing red tape. Within basic NHS cancer care, we are now struggling to get treatment on time as waiting lists grow consistently. We talk about increasing screening for certain cancers. But in reality we could not deal with the real numbers if everyone affected did come forward. We are living in the world of ‘make-believe’ if we consider our offer as good now. Basic is how I would describe it for most. Yes, there are people having some special treatments but these are certainly in the minority. In many cases, winners in our ‘post code lottery.’

NHS staff burned out.

Staffing is another major factor, as many continue to leave the NHS. Valuable years of experience being lost to poor working conditions over the long-term. Yet again, despite years of warnings, nothing has changed. Most of the issues we are dealing with now, were talked about many years ago. Total apathy from all leadership has created this. Greater reliance on the charity sector to fill ever increasing gaps has now backfired. As income into the third sector continues to plummet. Everywhere you look there are problems. Most of which have been coming down the track for some time.

Inevitably many will talk about a lack of adequate funding. To a degree there is an element of truth. But why on earth would you give billions more, to a system that struggles to answer the phone and put you through to the right department! Start on the basics at an organisation and that will tell you a lot. How do we find the appointment system? General communication in the service? An organisation that still is using fax machines and outdated technology. If it were a business it would have been put out of it’s misery by now.

Of course we all know of those incredible people who have helped to keep the service together. Working harder and harder as demands increased. These are the people that need protecting from these poor working practices. But working hard is no guarantee of success, as many of us can testify. We have all heard the arguments why we shouldn’t meddle with the NHS, and here we are, with a service not working for the customers or employees.

If all the above is not enough to understand why cancer services are difficult, we can add long-covid to the equation. Something never before known about, but now affecting many people. There are now specialist clinics being created to help with this. Adding yet further pressure to a service being stretched well beyond it’s limits. Whilst we continue to talk, our waiting lists grow. Despite a brief celebration by the service, that they had managed to see people who had been waiting beyond two years! Doesn’t feel much of a reason to celebrate, but I see you must take even the small wins these days.

Customer service with a smile

A two year waiting list is totally unacceptable under any conditions, covid or not! How can this be a ‘Health Service?’ It must be set up in such a way that when we need it, it is there for us. Any time of the day or night. We expect this from our retailers and service providers. It is a basic to provide your service to be most convenient to the customer. For many years this hasn’t been the case. Few weekend GPs and Consultants. Patients kept in hospital during the weekend as nobody there to discharge them. Scanners etc closed. Nothing much inline with the way our society is rapidly moving. Yes there has been progress in recent years but really minor to what should have been happening.

The defensive culture of the NHS is still one of the biggest hurdles to improvement. Despite much talk, there is no will, or action. Whoever grasps this nettle will undoubtedly be unpopular, but it must be done and quickly. I am not here to criticise anyone in the service but the changes required are beyond the skill set of many currently employed. Whether we like it or not, ruthless business decisions have to be taken. It is a business because it involves money, despite wanting to help everyone. That is impossible, but we can do a lot better. Unfortunately, things will be getting a lot worse in the next few years.

10 Comments

  1. Hi Chis,
    I couldn’t agree with you more.
    As the government continues its decommissioning tack ticks in preparation for a private health care system, and the global ‘reset’, staff and patients are suffering unimaginable lack of care and I have to add humanity. We are being poisoned from every imaginable direction. Culling of the sick. Destroying basic human needs. And this is just the beginning! Our compliance to covid restrictions and a ‘vaccine’ which hasn’t prevented or protected people from getting covid, is a farce, one that we will all live to feel the consequences. We are clearly being herded into a very dark hole, where every aspect of our livelihood will be tested to the full.
    I write as a 13year breast cancer survivor. With an appointment tomorrow to investigate a new lump in another part of my body. This is a very worrying time for all those that are sick or in need of services….

    • Hi Tricia,

      Thanks so much for sharing your own views which are even starker than my own. I struggle to disagree with anything you have said. I guess time will show if we are right or not. However it will be too late by then. Unfortunately I have little confidence in much that happens these days, particularly regarding healthcare. All of us affected by cancer are indeed worried now. Please let me know how you got on at your appointment.

      Very best, Chris

      • Dear Chris
        Thank you for your reply. I had to laugh at your point ‘my views even starker than your own’!
        As you also state… only time will tell but it will be too late by then. Sadly so true. I feel we are powerless to change the elite goal plans that are taking place behind closed doors. So in the meantime we must stay as well as we can despite the uncertainty of the times we all live in. But we must continue to stand up and speak out…

        I’ve been reading your post for years now and thank you for the hope, encouragement and compassion that is so evident in your work. Your work and writing makes such a difference! Not that we always feel it…
        Keep going!

        …Thankfully, my lump turned out to be a hernia! The relief was/is immense!

        All the very best to you.
        Tricia

        • Hi Tricia,

          Firstly and most importantly I’m delighted that your lump didn’t prove to be anything too sinister! Thank you also for your kind words and am delighted that you have found my work helpful to you.

          The day I feel that I’m not able to help people in some way, will be the time I shut everything down and do something else with my time. I have been extremely lucky during my time with cancer, and it is also possible others can be too. We must always have hope. I would like to think that my case can provide that for others.

          Please be assure that I will be speaking out against the global cancer scandal for as long as I can.

          Very best to you, Chris XX

    • Indeed Deb!

      All good here thanks and enjoying the privilege of spending time with the grandkids as they grow.

      Hope all good at your end XXX

  2. I remember how healthcare was and feel fortunate to have been an Oncology nurse in 2007, able to deliver quality care

    • Indeed, crazy as it sounds the service feels a lot less safe now than it did then. What on earth have we done with those 15 years of learning? Thank you for all you and your colleagues do

  3. I know for certain there are many outstanding and committed clinical professionals still striving and doing their absolute utmost, and I applaud them.. but my goodness it can’t be more challenging at the current time. I see it from a personal and professional perspective

    • I agree totally. Without the goodwill of those incredible people we would have no service at all. We are all being let down by the powers that be.

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