Overstretched, underpaid and giving it their all 29

I have never made my admiration for the NHS a secret. I am one of the few who has seen them when a real emergency occurs. Who have seen them give their all when people where in life or death situations and watched as they provided amazing acute health care. Whats more this health care, which in other countries would costs tens of thousand of pounds is free.

nearly 12 years ago my wonderful dad was involved in an industrial accident, He was resuscitated at the scene by his work mates and the first responder (a paramedic in a car) and then blue lighted to hospital in an ambulance.  Upon arrive to the A&E department he was provided with top notch trauma care, including x-rays, scans, pain relief, breathing assistance and medication.  When my mum arrived at the hospital she was ushered in to the trauma department and keep pretty much informed and updated as the situation would allow.

My Dad was stabilised and transferred to the ITU (Intensive therapy unit) and began his time there.  Whilst in the unit, he had two nurses who provided two to one care for the duration of their shifts.  My dad was in a medically induced coma, both paralysed and sedated, so to prevent bed sores he was provided with a special bed with a dynamic air mattress to try to minimise the risk.  I can not fault the care he was given, down to them flying in medication from another hospital by helicopter to try and save his life.  It wasn’t to be sadly and after a further three weeks in hospital we had to make the decision to remove any medical assistance to life nad my father died.  During his time in hospital we were always kept informed of his status and encouraged to help with his care as much as practical and my mum was provided with a room at the hospital to ensure she could stay with her loved one.

The journey to getting Maxi was a hard one and the NHS were there with me every step of the way.  I had to have an operation when I was 20 weeks pregnant to save both of our lives and the NHS ensured that when I came round from the anesthetic that there was a ultra sound machine so I could see my baby was OK.  Maxi’s birth wasn’t textbook, but at the end of it I had a healthy baby.

During both the boys lives the NHS have been there when they needed them, providing top notch care without any price attached to it.  They have been there for me with the BRCA issues and I am due to be hospitalised again on 1 July for more surgery and I am glad, so glad that we have the NHS in this country.

I understand that it is by no means perfect and on the front line the staff are often stretched to breaking point, but in my experience if you are polite, understanding and considerate then they ensure that you get the best treatment they can possibly provide, as you can see from the last time I was in hospital.

I say hands off my NHS Tories, when it works it works well, they need more front line staff, more nurses and more midwives.

29 thoughts on “Overstretched, underpaid and giving it their all

  • Vic

    In some respects it’s like any customer service story – we only hear the bad, rarely ever the good. In the times I’ve had to use NHS services my complaints center around the fact that it’s understaffed, underresourced and overstretched. We need to see more funding go into the NHS so it can truly live up to its potential. On the other hand we’ve always been treated well, looked after and kept informed (even if we’ve had to chase overworked nurses for answers). So yeah, we may complain about the NHS but I wouldn’t change it for the world.

    • Mum in the Madhouse

      Vic » You are so right and I think a lot of the complains are down to the service being stretched thin. Sometimes the nursing staff genuinely forget or something that is more urgent comes up and they get sidetracked, but it is never intentional.

  • Sally

    I think anyone who has lived and been part of a family in Britain understands what am amazing, invaluable and special thing the NHS is.

    The thing about it is that it’s never going to be perfect. It’s not able to do everything, for everyone. But when there’s a crisis, when someone is seriously ill and in need of aid, the NHS and countless amazing, dedicated people who work within it, are there to catch us – and I am so proud and pleased to be part of country that offers universal, free healthcare for all. God forbid we should ever have anything less.

    • Mum in the Madhouse

      Sally » Nothing is perfect, it is run by people and we are fallible, therefore, mistakes will always happen and they do and they have in my family with terrible consequences in the past, but ultimately it is a superior service to most other places

  • Claire, Cheshire Mum

    Refreshing to hear a positive tale, I’ve lived in the US and our socialised healthcare system is far superior in so many ways – more investment, more support, more positive feedback for those working within the NHS. great post Jen. Cx

    • Mum in the Madhouse

      Claire, Cheshire Mum » I think that we often forget that what we have is a leading example of how things should be done and it is often the negative comments that are always remembered. I believe that if you treat people a certain way that that is what you get back.

  • Gemma

    As someone who has worked as a nurse for the NHS and also had my daughters life saved by the NHS, thanks Jen for such a positive spin on things.
    On the frontline it’s hard, not enough resources or nurses but the majority of us have one goal, excellent patient care. All the negative stories beat you down but never stopped me doing the job I love.

    And as for soph, she wouldn’t be alive without the NHS and would be really ill now if it wasn’t for their continued dedication and care.

    Take care xxx

    • Mum in the Madhouse

      Gemma » I wouldn’t be here without the fantastic acute care the NHS offers and believe that the care I have received has pretty much always been as good as it could be. But I also believe that it is run by humans and we all are fallible and make mistakes. People do not go in to the NHS for the moeny do they!

  • Trish @ Mum's Gone to

    I wanted to stand up and cheer reading this. As you know, my hubby is a doctor and he can see what’s wrong and what’s right about the NHS. It isn’t a bottomless pit in terms of resources but the people on the frontline are doing their best. Who knows what will happen with this NHS bill but my chap would be better seeing patients rather than sitting in meetings!

    • Mum in the Madhouse

      Trish @ Mum’s Gone to » I am so with you on this. GP’s and Doctors are train clinicians not accountants and managers and they need to apply their skills in the right places. I am not saying that they shouldnt have a say in the running of the NHS, as I believe they should and be taken seriously, but given the best resources to to the best they can within the constraints they have. I also am all for saying well done when people have done a good job

  • Metropolitan Mum

    In theory, the NHS is a great and fine idea. In my point of view, the NHS is overstretched because it is a) used by too many whilst financed by too few people and c) used for too much stuff that should be paid privately for. Contrary to the common believe, the NHS is not free; it is financed with tax payers’ money, i.e. yours and mine.
    Our neighbour had her eyes lasered ‘on the NHS’. She’s been fine with her glasses before and she has never in her life paid a single pence in taxes or NHS contribution. It’s what I call milking the system. I’d be all for cutting down these kind of treatments, if that meant we could keep good quality emergency treatments.

    On a lighter note, you have won my Paul & Joe makeup giveaway. Drop me a line and it shall be yours soon. 🙂

    • Mum in the Madhouse

      Metropolitan Mum » I do agree with you. A) when I could afford it I paid for private healthcare, in therory I hoped that this freed it up for those who really needed it. b) I am happy to pay towards it with my NI contributions and feel that perhaps it should be increased.

      I do not agree on ops like eye lasering on the NHS and other vanity operations, The NHS does emergency great and I am all for making it bigger and better. Oh and how exciting about the giveaway, thank you

  • Midlife Singlemum

    I often feel sorry for the poor NHS staff who are do their best under difficult conditions and all we read in the press is about the terrible service. No one goes into the caring professions to make people suffer. Thank you for reminding us.

  • amy

    I can’t knock the NHS they deliverd my 5children and have looked after them and me. My biggest bug bear is the speech therapy, the waiting list and amount of time to get an appointment is awful but it is down to lack of staff and that is something that is a big issue with budget cuts etc.

    I’d never slate the NHS they are there 24/7, some of my very good friends work for the NHS and they do a fab job.

    We should all be gratefull for the service because thanks to UNICEF i’ve seen how bad it can be with nothing at all.

  • Jo Elliott

    The staff at Stepping Hill Hospital in Stockport are responsible for saving my 3 month old baby’s life and I shall be forever in-debted to the team on shift that night – we have a gorgeous 3 year old dream of a girl now winding up her big sisters. The GP however, is querying the cost of her medication now which makes me furious and anxious – I find the Trust as a business and GP’s managing budgets frightening!

    • Mum in the Madhouse

      Jo Elliott » I agree with you, GP’s are clinicians not managers or accountants. I have just had my medication changed to a less expensive one.

  • Linda

    I am a staunch believer in the NHS and am eternally grateful for all it has brought our family, but like any organisation fighting against scarce resources, decisions made on a party political whim with overworked and underpaid staff, errors are going to creep in.

    Mental health services in this country are a poor relation of other services which is such a shame, but a good thing is that people are speaking up at least more than they used to.

    Two years ago, when both my dad and my dad in law were in hospital at the same time, they both found themselves in situations that could have killed them due to oversights or worse, depends what you want to call it – one caught a so-called ‘superbug’ and we had a real fight on our hands for him to stay with us, that was such a shock – to get so ill because of something picked up in intensive care. Meanwhile my dad was sent home from his GP in agony, told he most probably had a tummy ache. He refused to believe this and my brother took him to A&E where after however many hours of waiting he was diagnosed with a potentially fatal condition called pancreatis and operated on soon after. They were in hospital about 50 miles apart and were in such a state, they were unrecognisable, I got really angry. People in my family wanted to tell the media, I didn’t see the point, I just wanted them to be well. I can’t bear to think about it much.

    When my partner was diagnosed with cancer some years ago, the treatment he received was exemplary. However, now is possibly not the best time to ask me about the NHS as he is currently undergoing more tests and it’s one appointment after another, our family hasn’t known such stress in a long time and don’t want to again, thank you! 🙂 We are remaining positive about what may or may not be around the corner but could do with some swifter communication for all involved.

    My daughters were born at Stafford Hospital and again the care was outstanding – so it’s heartbreaking to see that so many people have cause for complaint about how their loved ones were treated there.

    So a bit of a mixed bag from me – but my God we have needed the NHS!

    • Mum in the Madhouse

      Linda » I have received second to none mental health care, as you know. The NHS has saved my life on more than one occasion, birth mentally and physically when I had sepsis. I believe that people should have realistic and achievable expectations and the NHS should try to meet them in every possible case, but it is staffed by humans and we are all fallible, so accidents do happen, although it can and is heartbreaking. My niece’s baby was born under extremely difficult circumstances and subsequently died. They chose not to go to court and to just ensure that action was taken to prevent this happening again. I am ever so proud of her and her family for what they have achieved.

      All the work that Christine has been doing with Save the Children and Victoria’s post http://itsasmallworldafterallfamily.wordpress.com/2011/06/12/3773/ really put things in perspective for me.

      I do hope that everything turns out positive for your partner and the tests received nothing too sinister, the not knowing is terrible. That is one of the big issues I have with the ConDems taking away the two week results and treatment aim for cancer patients

  • Linda

    As I say I remain a staunch believer in the NHS and how it can and does work thanks to amazing doctors and nurses. My daughters were born premature and the nurses were wonderful. Unfortunately though for me, the experience we went through with our dads changed my perception of the NHS indeliably (not sure if that’s the right word.) My mother in law has worked for the NHS all her life, as a nurse, midwife and trainer. I have nothing but admiration for the hardworking staff, especially the ones whose voices may not be heard as much as others. But we can’t ignore people like the campaigners at Stafford who have so many stories of how and why things went wrong – and hope lessons are learned. Like you I think more should be written about the good stuff but I also think it’s important to highlight what can go wrong too in the hope of learning from it.

  • Melaina25

    I didn’t grow up with the NHS; I grew up in America. I’ve sat in the ER for eight hours after swallowing my tongue ring (that was fun) and then another 5 hours the next day. It was two $50 co-pays for those 14 hours that were spent mostly sitting. I didn’t get physio-therapy after I injured my shoulder in an unfortunate bar “accident” because I couldn’t get an appointment with the GP approved by my insurance company. I remember how happy my cousin was when she finally paid off her $6,000 hospital bill after she spent a day in a hospital for kidney stones without insurance.

    I think people complain a lot about the NHS and forget it is FREE. You never have to worry what will happen if your child gets hurt or ill; if they need to see a GP you don’t have to worry whether or not you can afford it.

    I’ve used the NHS a lot since I’ve been in the UK as I’m slightly accident prone and my immune system is used to North American bugs (or so I theorize at least). I had an amazingly supportive GP who helped me through miscarriages and had the most amazing care from the Early Pregnancy Unit when I was pregnant with Blondie Boy. I had multiple early scans and blood tests from kind and helpful women and it didn’t cost me a penny. When I got SPD and Carpal Tunnel I got physio appointments, wrist guards and crutches. All of which were free.

    When I went in for my induction and ended up with an emergency section and Blondie Boy needed antibiotics and care from a paediatrician I didn’t have to pay anything extra; I didn’t pay anything at all. My friends in the States easily end up with $20,000 bills for a “typical” birth let alone one that needs extra assistance.

    Do I wish I’d had a private room and that NotBlondeHusband could have spent the night with me in the hospital? Yes? Do I wish I could have had the equivalent of room service food and clothes and dummies provided for Blondie Boy? Sure that would have been nice but all those things you have to pay for.

    I’ve rambled on here but I am extremely grateful to the support and service I get from the NHS for free. I have seen a lot of people complaining lately and I think they need to suck it up and be grateful that they don’t have to choose between feeding their child or medicating their child.

    • Mum in the Madhouse

      Melaina25 » I think this is a wonderful insight in to the worl without the NHS. I can not imagine having to make the choice over food or medicine, but have to say that the recent save the children campaignhas really made me see things a lot more clearly

  • Cass@frugalfamily

    I have really mixed feelings about the NHS to be honest although I can say that I am very grateful that we have it and hope that our children and grandchildren are lucky enough to always have it too.

    I’ve had a few bad experiences with them over the past few years which I won’t go into but in all fairness I think (hope) that they were individual errors rather than a representation of the overall state of the NHS.

    I think it’s brilliant that you’ve shared your positive experiences as it is true that you do only hear the bad things and not the positive and i’m sure that the positives far, far outweigh the negatives.

    • Mum in the Madhouse

      Cass@frugalfamily » I think it is perfectly OK to have mixed feelings and you know that I have experianced some terrible things happen, but overall I think that the good far out weighs the bad.

  • Susan Mann

    I think you have said it all. I think the NHS do an amazing job, my sister in law is a sister in the A&E at the Royal and yes she takes so much crap from so many people but she saves so many lives. I’ve had my fair share of ops and illnesses and without the NHS my babies wouldn’t be here. We need to help the NHS not take anything away from it. Well said. x

  • Emma @mummymummymum

    I am totally with you on this. The NHS are fantastic, I have nothing but praise for them and all the staff I have ever encountered. We are just so lucky in this country and I think people take it for granted. Great post. x

  • Michelloui | The American Resident

    Well I am really pleased that your experience was over all positive–it is always good to hear positive things about the NHS! I can compare it to the American system which I loathe. And, my husband is the lead clinician at the ITU at our hospital, so I know a thing or two about the ups and downs and I know that there are a lot of behind the scenes battles by committed clinicians in order to provide a good service. Good post! x

  • working london mummy

    A great post. As someone who has both worked in the NHS for 18 years as a doctor and had to be a patient for a number of reasons I have experienced both sides. It is a great system and takes care of everyone. I agree with some of the comments above that with limited finances the vanity ops ought to be removed from NHS lists.

    • Mum in the Madhouse

      working london mummy » It is great to hear from someone from the other side of the system. Thanks for the comment and coming over

Comments are closed.