The English Patience

It always seems disingenuous to have a moan at the N.H.S in Great Britain, as so many people work so hard on what some would consider little pay to give us the care that they trained for many years to provide. The truth is that they are governed by poor management and weak budgets, a combination that could ultimately cost lives and probably has.

Many of us have to wait in excess of 2 weeks to be able to see their G.P., once of coarse you have bypassed the stereotypical matriarchal receptionist who will ask what  your problem is and make an medical assessment based on experience gained watching “Holby City” last week, and depending on the system your surgery uses, “your” Doctor invariably has nothing available any time soon.


Once in, you have between 8-10 minutes to make your case that will justify your time of this professionals busy day, and in my case it would seem it did, by being ordered directly to hospital to undergo 27 hours of tests, some of which were quite “invasive” (no, not that invasive) leaving me feeling that perhaps my wait was impeding any recovery that I was about to endure.

Happily however, although life changing, my diagnosis was not life threatening, and every precaution was taken to ensure my good health whilst within the hospital walls. My care was taken seriously by the friendly and informative staff that surrounded me on every busy shift they completed. The building itself, which is 50 years older than the National Health service, was tired but fundamentally clean.

My latest experience of this struggling system has highlighted to me the flaws that have to be approached vigorously, in order to safeguard its future and success in this country of growing population and increasing elderly residents.


Connecting With Newton’s Theory

After a successful morning clearing the garden of bulky waste and then returning the hire van, I was home by midday on a lovely sunny spring day. Although the lions share of jobs were done, there was plenty of time to “potter”, what a plan, or so I thought.

Returning from the top half of our two tier garden with tools in both hands, I misjudged the steps that I had approached a thousand times before, and indeed, I had actually built. Missing a step halfway down, I was heading for the ground rapidly and there was little I could do about it, fortuitously my inverted foot broke the fall before the rest of my middle-aged body came crashing down behind it.

Laying face up at a blue sky as my body was performing a systems check, few thoughts entered my mind, least of all how I was about to get up or even if I would be able to, dragging my body to an almost vertical position, I realised that my foot was sending out a mayday for attention. The pain was tolerable and walking was just about possible, well initially, for as time passed, I became aware of some slight swelling on the side of my foot that had bore the weight of a grown man, and ultimately this would cause me to rest my injury for the next three days.

Limping into the house, I discovered both our dogs dozing on the lounge sofa, and hardly raised their heads as I waddled in. So much for man’s best friend I thought and hardly the loyalty that I had grown up watching a certain rough collie had shown, but still they had no need to bark for help I suppose.

The rescue team

The rescue team

Pave The Way (The Final)

Google maps

Google maps

It is with great delight and gusto that I report that Eastleigh Borough Council have seen the light, engaged some common sense and have finally repaired a set of steps that could have caused injury, within only weeks of being notified. A triumph for the pedestrian users of the once unsafe and bedraggled path blighting their shopping area. But lets just save the victory dance for a while whilst we analyse what has been achieved.


As you may or may not know, I decided to track the progress of a report of a crumbling stairway in the public domain, So I set about this journey using the official routes and directions, It soon became apparent that ownership of this piece of land was in some kind of legal limbo, and EBC were refusing to repair it regardless of their duty of care, which they also disputed.


A battle of words ensued with various people of varying status within the halls of power, all of whom would impress upon me their unwillingness to provide their parishioners with adequate footings, other than a vain attempt to exclude the area with barriers. I did however manage to become somewhat of an irritant, perhaps only outdone by a well known laxative chocolate, and caused slight discomfort among our peers in a position of power that we gave them.

You must understand that I am fully aware that I was not the only person on this trail for clarity and safety, so I will not take all credit for a well produced result for local inhabitants, but I will reiterate that the powers to be had great reluctance in acting upon it, also my belief is that in the meantime an injury was sustained at this spot, which may have prompted action sooner than it would have.

So safe in the knowledge that the people of Hamble are once again safe from suffering, I will fall back into the shadows until stirred again and say my farewells to all my new friends like Mr Bright of the EBC.

pv2pv1pvFor the full in depth story, scroll down and start from the beginning.


Emergency Costs

Leaving the house to take the wife to the Doctors to have her painful wrist looked at, I was unaware of the events of the next 6 hours or the further education into human behaviour I was about to receive. It was 10.40am and I had barely risen from mid holiday slumber when I was throwing on clothes before leaving the house with a mouthful of coffee as my only sustenance. Typically the surgery was running behind, but of course you try to remain as calm as possible, although being the one not seeing the G.P. is slightly more frustrating, but we were seen 40 minutes later than planned.

Walking back into the waiting area my wife of 25 years informs me that we were required to go to the emergency unit of our local hospital, the obvious “but why” questions followed, but it was not in any doubt we would be going. A detour to a newsagent to pick up supplies for this appointment with the unknown, the long wait was prepared for.


Thankfully the kindness of a friend close by meant that we did not have the parking costs of today’s modern cash poor NHS, which we are all aware of. Strolling in to a mid-week accident department with a note from our Doctor in hand, I noticed a distinct lack of of the bustle you might expect, but this was no Friday night out on the town. We take a seat and prepare for our ears to be pricked by the sound of our name being called, and it was surprisingly short, not in time for me to spend the equivalent of the national minimum wage on 2 cups of vending machine coffee.

I stay behind in the waiting area, so the medical team can prod and poke unhindered, and this is where my journey into the world of humanity began. Using a people watching skill that I have only recently discovered, the next hour was about to be entertaining to say the least. A steady stream of “spot the diagnosis” came through the door, the hopping on one foot, the tea towel being held to the head and the sporadic vomiting teen were all in attendance, all being watched by the glare of the patient that had been waiting the longest.

When all of a sudden, from the wards appears a hospital gown clad, gaunt and painful female figure heading for the exit, and being aware that smoking is obviously not allowed, assumed that is where this skeletal figure was heading. It was at this point that I realised that the only piece of material protecting what was left of her modesty, wasn’t, and she wore an awkwardly placed dressing bridging the buttocks, and she could not have cared any less who was seeing it, and it was the same moments later when she returned. This pattern continued for quite some time, however it quickly became evident it was against the wishes of the medical staff and shortly thereafter she was dressed and leaving for the last time, well, for today at least.

I returned home through rush hour and roadwork traffic at 6.30pm without my spouse, who it appears had to be given treatment overnight, although, when I returned to collect her the following day, I was better prepared for what I was about to or may have seen.


Wheelchair throne

Throughout the centuries royal subjects have tried to emulate their monarchy through fashion and trends of the day, like the ruffles of Elizabeth 1st or Princess Diana’s hair , the love of horse racing, and even national pride.


So how different would our attitude to the disabled be if the present Queen’s great uncle had been in the public eye, rather than being hidden from complete view?

Prince John was born to King George V and Queen Mary in 1905, and slowly it became apparent that all was not well, he was eventually diagnosed with epilepsy and was deemed mentally slow. Spending his what was to be short life being raised by a governess with-in the walls of Sandringham, passing away as a result of his illness in 1919.


Had his parents embraced him regardless of his condition, I am sure the public would have done the same, including giving them confidence to raise a disabled  child themselves at home without fear of stigmatism. And maybe our perception of the disabled would have been changed a lot sooner than it has taken, and in some cases is still taking. As a society with have moved on with our liberal views and openly accept same sex marriages, but, it has never been illegal to be in a wheelchair.