Is the NHS a MESS?
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Certainly Donald Trump thinks so, and so do the thousands who demonstrated in London on Saturday. As to me, I have had weeks of intimate interface with the NHS, of getting better acquainted, of becoming viscerally involved. Literally. Clash teeth emoji. Are they both right? Could this be the only thing about which DT and our Lovely Left agree?

So hang on to the straps this could be a bumpy ride. It’s a fairly long one but come with me if you dare.



Regular readers of my blog (all three of you. Hello mum) will know this part of the story. To sum up: a collection of stones gathered themselves together for a party in my gall-bladder on my visit to Seattle in November. To make valid comparisons between the University of Washington Hospital and our NHS from my point-of view (horizontal) see 

…and read on.



And so, clutching the 14 page report from the U of W, letters, MRI, I presented myself to my local Doctor. The delightful Dr D (we’ll call her) is a no-nonsense jolly hockey-sticks (resembling one physically too) GP who is capable of cutting through nonsense with her nose.  Bullshit flees at her very approach. I am deeply in love with her. Purely on a professional level of course.

She rubbed her hands in glee. “The key phrase,” she stabbed a dagger-shaped finger at the letter, “is …’recommend an operation within 8 – 10 weeks’! Excellent. Now:” and she started dialling.

It was about ten days before I had a letter inviting me to a consultation with the clinic of the excellent Professor L. R. Jiao at Hammersmith Hospital. (It’s called  ‘Hepatobiliary’ which has become my new favourite word. Bringing it into the average sentence is a challenge.) The Registrar I saw assured me they would try to fit me in on the 27th December. Reason: Xmas celebrants avoid this hangover season, so there was a reasonable expectation that there would be surgery-space on this date. No guarantee of course. Wonderful, I thought. Well within the eight weeks.

And then came the NHS Crisis. A horrible Australian flu flew in. Millions were hit by debilitating fever, some died. Hospitals were, according to the media, “overwhelmed”. This article from a few days ago gives an insight:

So I was cancelled. As were all non-urgent operations. Non-urgent? Any minute, I was convinced, a stone could come out of the dark and snatch me into the realms of utter deep debilitating vicious PAIN. “I’m sorry,” the Reg said. “The Waiting List is 10 months”.

“Me too”, I said and returned to the impossible Fat Free Diet. Back to reading the fat content of every potential food purchase. Have you ever done that? Everything has got flipping fat in it. Except fat-free yoghurt which became my solitary companion during my restaurant-avoiding long nights of the solo.

“Why are you so neurotic about small amounts of fat in food?” frustrated friends asked.

“If you’ve ever been kicked in the stomach by a horse, wouldn’t you stand back from their rear ends?” I smugly answered, pleased with the metaphor and frustrated by the fact that: nobody really understands anybody else’s pain.

Task: Find out how much fat your favourite foods contain. Yes I know the issue of the day is sugar content! But tell me, fatty, if you cut down on both….


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