Our beloved NHS

This’ll get you going…

Went to the doctor this morning. First time for quite a while. Took about 9 days to get an appointment, but that’s an issue for another day. The outcome of my visit has got me thinking about efficiency, customer care and all the other issues I deal with every day with my clients in a commercial environment.

Turns out that “I’m getting old and my knee’s wearing out”. OK, I think I expected that – I intuitively knew the diagnosis and likely prognosis, but might have wished for a rather better bedside manner – perhaps: “you must have been very sporty during your life Mr Hopwood…” or similar.

Apart from a referral for an X-ray, the doctor suggested physiotherapy might be useful. That made sense. “…problem is” he said, “you have to call this number – they’ll assess you on the phone (which I don’t agree with) and they’ll probably suggest some exercises. If they don’t see you (likely), they are unlikely to give you the ideal exercises to be honest”…now I’m dumbstruck.

When I went for the Xray, I used my initiative (mistake) and walked into the reception at the adjacent physiotherapy department to see if they might do a quick assessment – well, you can guess the response…

Please just give me the treatment I need. How hard is that?

How on earth did the NHS get into this state? I thought the NHS was all about “free medical care for everyone at the point of delivery”. It seems not. Well, not for me anyway.

Now, I’m not looking for sympathy, but I can confidently say that I’ve paid considerably more that my fair share of tax/NI over the years by working my n***s of to build a future for my family. We chose to educate our kids privately (and before you jump down my throat – not out of principle, but for a number of practical reasons) which has not only taken pressure off the state system, but has happily added much pure income to the coffers of our central and local government departments. Naively, when I very occasionally seek some treatment on the NHS, I would expect it to be delivered with a speedy and caring response.

How did we let this happen? Who is clogging up the physiotherapy department diary? Please don’t tell me it’s the people who “need” it but don’t merit it. We should not be discriminating in who gets care in the NHS.

I’m not saying that my need is huge, but it must be a symptom of a far deeper malaise.

None of the regular reports on the news about failures in care in various hospitals ever surprises me. That’s sad. Every year, the contributions to the NHS are massively enhanced because it’s such a political hot potato, but the level of care seems to be depreciating faster that we can conceive.

I have blogged about reducing waste before and maybe it really is about time someone looked closely at the NHS and gave it a radical overhaul. Taking out waste, which I guarantee will amount to at least 30% of total budget – inefficient processes, unnecessary effort and incapable people. I suggest the saving be redeployed to the point of delivery focusing, above all, on patient care.


About paulhopwood

Teaching, guiding and mentoring professional service firms and successful business owners, providing them with time to think. Love family, reading and walking. Brighton UK www.paulhopwoodconsulting.co.uk
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2 Responses to Our beloved NHS

  1. John Quinn says:

    Good New Year to you Paul.

    I hope your old knee doesn’t hold you back too much.

    A few years ago I was told I needed a scan to ascertain the source of chronic back pain. However, I was also told that I needed to go through a process first which included visiting the physio and that this would eventually lead to a scan and a proper diagnosis.

    The young physiotherapist examined me for two minutes and then told me I needed to get some stomach muscles! I’ve been looking on eBay for some ever since. To be fair to her, she took some time to explain her thinking and to suggest how best to improve the situation. It certainly made a lot of sense, which illustrates the main problem rather well. When you eventually get it, the care is world class, but the management (and waste) is abominable.

    I don’t know if you remember the Gerry Robinson series on this subject. One episode of the 3 here: http://youtu.be/YIl0b7dWHHY



  2. paulhopwood says:

    You are. as always John, a constant inspiration and source of dry humour 🙂

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