Now then, I have had quite a bit of experience of the NHS, both from the outside and from within. The biggest problem with getting the public to realise what exactly is going on is the fact that people only get it once they need it. Believe me, things are shockingly bad. Before I go any further it needs to be said that I attach no blame to those who are working in that organisation. I fully understand that people who have dull jobs, see no light at the end of the tunnel, see their workload growing whilst not seeing pay improve will become fed up, and that feeling affects their enthusiasm for the job, I have been there, I have been the same.
So, last week I started with toothache. I reside in Sheffield, which is a large city, has several hospitals-due to the huge university campus and teaching hospitals. Having toothache in the 21st century in such a place should not really be a problem. I will outline my experience here and you can make your own minds up.
Firstly, I do not have a dentist. I have tried repeatedly to register. Here is how that goes. This week I have , in person, visited Three dental surgeries within reasonable reach of my home. By reasonable I mean a four quid return bus journey. Before setting out to each of these places I have looked on the Net and seen that upon their Webbys they state they take NHS patients. So, when I have arrived at the surgery I have asked for a form to get on their waiting list , NOT for an appointment or to be seen as a patient.
On each occasion the answer has been NO. This puzzles me immensely, how can they display that on their website, yet not even be prepared to admit you to a list that would (in their words) take at least six months to feed you into the system? What is this about? It is the same every time, smiling middle aged receptionist, ever so quick to get you on your way. No explanation, no chance, it is extremely demoralising and difficult when you are stood there in pain expecting quite the opposite. I repeat, these visits were simply to get onto a waiting list, yet I get this from a certain kind of "individual" on the front desk.
Saying they take NHS patients when they clearly have no intention of doing so is plain wrong. This needs sorting out ASAP.
So, I have to ring the 111 service, and, things move and I am eternally grateful to them. However, at every turn I am asked why I do not have a dentist? So, I run through the above. I ask time and again why this is the case? to be honest I don't think they believed me. I cannot understand why somebody within that service did not pick up on my views and say they would investigate, the nearest I got was one person who stated that they should not be doing that. Surely that service should be kicking off big style due to the enormous increase in their workloads this is causing? not to mention the unnecessary suffering of those at the bottom of the social pile. Here is the thing, they would ALL have "squeezed me in" if I was going private. How sick is that?
Back to the emergency cover that was provided. Turns out I have an infection (likely linked to my being diabetic) and do not need an extraction. This indicates that if I had been seen earlier the pain would not have been as bad, the infection would not take as long to be sorted out. The six days (including a weekend) during which I suffered greatly may well have been less. Or, to put it another way, if I had money-which I do not- my life would quite likely have been pain free. Meanwhile, those same surgeries still state on their websites that they take NHS patients. How many others like me will see the smiling face of the receptionist as she says "No"? I wasted £6 finding out.
When you look around at those who have to take advantage of the emergency care you spot certain things. First they are all desperate. VERY desperate. Sure there are those who do not originate from the UK, so what? There are those who struggle to speak English, So what? There are those who would struggle to fill in the forms, So what?
There are the Brits who are struggling, not working, no money, very down and in pain, So what? The point is, or should be, that taking away pain from desperate people in the 21st century in a large city really should be a reflex action. Some of these desperate people are enduring crap lives without needing pain taking away. They have no future to look forwards to. They wear drab clothes, eat rubbish food, hope the foodbank has some stuff the kids will like. If only they had money eh??
Had money? Well, there is the thing. There is a growing attitude in this once great country that those who do not have the means do not matter. People will read this and think "get a job" or "bloody foreigners" and other such insulting garbage. I do not know how being on "in work" benefits would affect the above true life scenario, could anyone out there advise me please ? How many people have got £160 laying about that they could use if/when the pain hits? So, we all know who the culprits are that designed all of this. We all know the type of people who could not care less. We all know about the attitude that feeds the deep racial problems within the UK. We all know about the great divide that is based purely upon bank accounts and such like. I despise those who casually dismiss such things because they know they can pick up the phone and request an appointment at half ten tomorrow, secure in the knowledge that the gushing voice at the other end of the line will indeed flash the electric smile after they have parked the nice car on the surgery car park. I do not despise them the nice car, or the security their money brings them, I despise them because of their attitude, because it is killing any pretence 21st century UK society has of being a caring society.
I still do not even have my name on a waiting list, however the pain should start to subside over the next 24hrs. I am worried about those who can't even access the 111 service. I live in an area with lots of medical stuff close at hand and I have the abilities to negotiate the hurdles to getting there. What about those who do not?
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