Wednesday 17 November 2010


There are sooo many ways the NHS could be improved and I hope I can highlight some of them here.

All too often it seems as though those in charge of hospitals have had a total logic bypass.

I need to have an MRI scan before they can operate, to give the surgeon at least some idea of where the blockages are and how complex the op might be. Unfortunately, in the words of my doctor the MRI department are "being obstructive." Despite me being an in-patient, they don't consider me to be ill enough to schedule the test as urgent!!! By the time they do actually run the test, I'll have been in hospital for nearly 2 weeks! 12 days to be precise.

The only reason I'm in hospital at all, is because no GP in the world will prescribe strong opiates and anti-emetics in the doses required for someone like me. At home, if I'm lucky, the GP will allow me 1 or 2 doses a day but no more. The injection works for around four hours, so even with two a day, that leaves 16 hours when I'm in pain! 16 hours!! All I need at the moment is to be kept comfortable until it's all over.

So, for 12 days I will have sat in a hospital bed, wasting the space for someone who might need it all, just because the doctors can't get a test done! Every day I spend in hospital cost the taxpayer a fortune too - I've heard claims that it costs over £1000 per day to keep someone in hospital, which, if true means an unnecessary cost to the NHS of £12,000 before they've even started to treat me.

Meanwhile the MRI scanners sit empty during the night and at weekends. why on earth wouldn't the hospital implement a 24 hour shift plan allowing the scanners to run all day and all night? Out-patients could be dealt with during the day, leaving the evenings and weekends free for in-patients. Just think of the money they could save not to mention easing the frustration of patients stuck in hospital unnecessarily.

What on earth about that is too complicated for them to realise all by themselves?


  1. Unbelievable. However when I was last in the doctors had scheduled all tests for the period I was in so I was booked before admissions.

  2. Sue...A friend of mine needed an xray of a leg vein, at Guy's hospital. They told him that the waiting list had stretched to a fortnight, but if he paid £100, they would do it the following day. He paid the money. I'm not suggesting you should pay, but it illustrates the, 'actual' problem.....a private patient would probably have had the scan straight away. The NHS seems to have lost its way.

  3. They never do sue use any logic the only hospital i know and i know many who have always provided the very best to bowel patient's is st marks and if addenbrookes are struggling they should send you over there for ongoing treatment they should have sent you there in the very beginning as it's the only hospital in the UK who acquire only the very best surgeons in bowel surgery and it's treatments

  4. Fourbanks - In fact, Addenbrookes ARE a specialist centre for Crohn's and equally respected as St Mark's.
    The bureaucracy and inefficient systems are the problem, not the expertise.

  5. Ken, what you say is not new, and very wrong. The idea you are entitled to beter care because you pay a bit extra is outrageous The NHS has been paid for by all of us and treatment should be provided at the point of need. Someone in my family has had his operation which was timetables in the daytime cancelled and has been told it will now have to now be in the evening, but still waiting. Don't know why he can't have the daytime slot....?

  6. What people don't consider is that, actually, if you suddenly went into cardiac arrest you would have most of your ward and a specialist crash team with you in SECONDS. You would be looked after to the best of their abilities and if required you would immediately get an ITU/ICU bed.
    If you had a car crash, you would have at least one ambulance with you, probably within 8 minutes (depending on where you are) you would be stabilised and either air or road ambulanced to the most appropriate A&E where you would be looked after to the best of their abilities. If you required emergency surgery, you'd get emergency surgery. If you needed an ICU/ITU bed, you'd get one.
    Yes, non-life threatening stuff has to wait. But I think it's a fair compromise.
    I understand that it's horrible to be cancelled from surgery, or have to wait 2 weeks for the scan which will allow them to operate, but it happens like that because we have compromised that side of care to improve emergency care. There is only so much money, and only so many nurses/doctors/HCAs/scanners/theatres and these have to be allocated in a way that means life-threatening cases are the priority!

    It's not nice having to wait - I've remained undiagnosed for long term problems. Waited 2 months to see specialist, 2 weeks for endoscopy and then another 2 and a half months for the specialist to see me again. It's horrible. It's annoying. It makes me angry. But I know they are doing their best. I know that if I needed an ambulance, I would have one in less than 8 mins. It's about compromise.

  7. Fair comments Pie, but it is still wrong that someone can get treated if they are in BUPA, but not otherwise.

  8. Addenbrookes may well be sue a specialist in your condition but in my experience the smaller the hospital like st marks the better i don't know why it's just something that i have observed over the years
    The main thing at the end of the day is that you feel your getting good support and your happy with the staff then that's a blessing because if that is not to your liking then your really stuck

  9. Sue

    I Googled "Delays in MRI Scans".

    It soon becomes clear that there is a worldwide shortage of qualified Radiologists, coupled with an explosive expansion in the use of Scanners.

    UK Audit Commission highlighted the problem in UK ten years ago.

    Five Years ago a LIbDem survey was reported in THe Times to show :-
    1/5th of NHS Trusts had non-urgent MRI waiting times of 1 year & over; 1/7th CT scan waiting times of 6 months & more.

    If you visit get-uk-jobs .com-a website alerting overseas job seakers to Skills shortages identified by the UK Government, you will find this advice :-

    ".....If you have any of these skills and can get a valid certificate of sponsorship from a prospective employer in the UK, you can apply to come to the UK, or remain here under the Tier 2 immigration point based system. "

    The list which follow includes:-

    Medical Radiographers - Occupation Code = 3214

    ONLY the following jobs in this occupation code for UK skills shortage:

    •HPC-registered diagnostic radiographer

    •HPC-registered therapeutic radiographer


    Quite why our Higher Education system has not reacted to a global skills shortage , in a medical profession area offering premium salary levels, which appears to have been extant in UK for at least a decade seems unclear.

  10. Sue

    You might be interested :-

    Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust has recently stated that it has been struggling to recruit the radiographers needed to analyse the results of mammograms.

    Women with breast cancer are at risk of going undetected because of a shortage of specialist staff needed to carry out checks.

  11. Pie - I don't know if you'll ever get back to read this now!
    If you do though, of course, I know the things you mention. My post doesn't complain about waiting if you read it, just points out how much of it patients like me do. You say you're happy with the compromise and of course, any sane person would expect those dying and critical to get treated first.
    It is, however, irrefutable that many of the waits come down to poor systems, bad management or simple incompetence. I didn't actually make that point in my post, but there isn't a nurse or patient or doctor in the country who would disagree with my last statement - it's just as frustrating for staff as it is for us patients.