Friday, 18 January 2008

The NHS is Shit*

You know, anyone would think the NHS does nothing but kill people! A quick look at the Health page of BBC news shows so many negative stories its ridiculous, at the most there are 1 or 2 positive stories (which are usually more about scientific advancement than the achievements of the NHS). We all know there are problems with the NHS and that improvements are needed, after all, there are usually 3 or 4 stories every week in the papers about the failures of the NHS. When was the last time you read something positive about the NHS? What about all the lives saved by the hard working doctors and nurses? I can't even remember the last time I read a story praising the work of the NHS or its workers. People wonder why morale is low in the NHS, the negative picture painted by the media certainly doesn't help.

The NHS should always be striving to improve, if it wasn't it would be a failure. Things cannot be improved without identifying the failures within the system but when these failures are picked up by the media, the onslaught begins. Doctors seem to be easy pickings at the moment for the media, barely a day goes by without reading a story about GPs and their "huge salaries for hardly any hours". What about the good work that the GPs do? Of course we don't hear about this, the media aren't interested in positive things.

Yesterday we heard that the NHS spends £8.2bn on prescription drugs, well of course it does, what is is supposed to do? Give out sweeties instead? Sure there are problems, in that at least some of this figure is made up of unnecessary branded medications, or even drugs which just get wasted. But what about the millions of people who rely on these drugs, nowhere in the article does it mention that this £8.2bn improves the quality, or even saves the lives of millions of people in the UK. There are improvements to be made of course, encouraging doctors to prescribe cheaper, generic alternatives rather than branded drugs. Putting the price on medications is a good idea just to give the general public an idea about how much some of these things cost. But seriously, the way these stories are reported in the media, anyone would think that the NHS may as well just thrown £8.2bn down the toilet. This is obviously the media's fault, everybody knows that negative stories sell far more papers than positive ones.

What worries me is that people listen to and on the whole believe almost anything the media tells them. As a result, people are going to start turning against doctors, not in a raging mob storming the hospitals sort of way, much more subtle than that but it will have consequences and they sure as hell won't be good.

Even politics these days is more about the media than the actual policies, Mr Brown and Mr Cameron are more worried about their media image than they are about improving things in the UK. The Labour party don't run this country - the fucking media do!

This country is fucked up.

* I don't think the NHS is Shit, I was merely paraphrasing the numerous stories littering the headlines about how rubbish the NHS is.

13 comments:

Elaine said...

Good post there, little medic.

Re your voting thingy, I didn't vote, because I think you should allow moderated comments, but only if you can handle some of the things that might be put there. Best of luck, whatever you decide to do.

Anonymous said...

I don't think the NHS is shit either. I have a fantastic GP, and equally great consultants. Naturally it does have its problems and naturally, as with all professions, there are people getting paid huge sums for doing very little, but the doctors who care for me are worth every penny they get paid.

Disillusioned said...

The media has themes,a s you point out. Today it is the NHS, which I agree is not shit, because I have encountered some wonderful professionals within it. I've also encountered some rotten ones. Tomorrow the media frenzy may turn on education. It will pick out some sensational stories and blow them out of all perspective. That is what the media does. What worries me it the number of people who get their beliefs and opinions directly from the media, bypassing (it appears) their brains.

PhD scientist said...

Another sad aspect of all this is that SOME parts of the media actually are capable of sensible reporting - Radio 4 is a good example. The "Where's the Femur" programme a few weeks back on medical training nailed the postgrad training fiasco fair and square and discussed the underlying issues brilliantly. I thought they were a bit off-beam with their comments about PBL vs trad undergrad courses, though LM would probably have agreed with every word.

R4 have also intermittently done good stuff on Alt Medicine as well.

The problem is that good reporting requires journalists with detailed background knowledge of particular areas, or with the time and inclination to get to the bottom of something. That is why the best reporting comes from the in-depth "File on 4" type shows, and not from the newsroom. The news people are "covering the story" - not "trying to work out what is the truth". So it is all brief soundbites, usually variations on a theme they have done before("NHS in Crisis!"), then on to the next storm in a teacup. The thing I find most depressing is when the person saying dimwitted things about some health issue on a new show is captioned "Health Editor" or similar. Which would be a bit like captioning me "world scientific authority".

Xavier Emmanuelle said...

Good post. Sure there are problems with the NHS, but there are problems with every system, so it is no surprise that the NHS has some issues to work through. It is providing a great service for the people of Britain, and surely in many instances the positive outweigh the negative.

Anonymous said...

I have received excellent care from my local GP across a whole range of minor ailments. Over the years, he has dealt with my stress, painful knees, menopausal problems and scary lumps. He recently removed an ugly cyst from the top of my head at his surgery, and somehow managed to turn the experience into an almost spa-like treatment with his calm manner and light humour. People should remember that the overwhelming majority of doctors are a) keeping abreast of current good practice b) working their socks off c) responsible and caring. We should consider the major professional decisions they have to make and remember that medicine is not always an exact science.

Anonymous said...

yes of course the NHS is great LOL.if you have an ingrowing toenail or a toothache and even occasionaly the odd headache.the people stating the NHS is great A: need their head tested or B:need to devolope an actual illness.test after test is no reason for a doctor to be paid! unless the symptoms are plain as day stirring them in the face or even dead they have NO IDEA on what an actual problem is.over paid under worked lazy sob's at the NHS hospitals just sit around all day drinking coffee and dunking donuts like our law and order departments.NHS kill people due to their pathetic 7 month appointments and their stupid " here try this " methods what they realy say is lets hope this works and the patient cures himself or dies.NHS contribute to the high rate of deaths in the UK because of the time wasting appointment dates and their adorable waiting times and their shabby "unable to listen" methods.ive been a patient for years now and guess what "STILL TESTING" and it dont matter how intrusive and how inhumane the proceedure is they just continue their stupid guessing games and dont reach any actual conclusion.here take this and here take that and oh try this and i believe it is this.when none of the above work its time to consult the months appointments dates to see if they have a window for someone who IS actually ill.so yes NHS is shite in my opinion they get it wrong so many times and blame people's deaths to unknown illnesses LOL what kind of doctors are they? my GP is useless and the hospital im starting to believe would rather have a person dead than cure them,if they cured people maybe they would be scared they wouldn't get paid again.maybe they drag it out so they get more? i dont care about the public views to my post i just wanted to rant abotu how shite the NHS realy is and how my life is miserable because of their pathetic excuses and bollocks they have blurted to be over the years.

Anonymous said...

Nhs is tat, i went to see a doctor, was in agony with a serious complaint so he reffered me to the hospital consultant But guess what? the woman who was supposed to fax the paperwork in the doctors surgery went on holiday LOL it took 2 weeks to see the consultant because the paperwork was still on her desk!!! Went another time and the nurse asked me after showing her my complaint "how can i help you today?" For Fuks Sake I feel ill just tining about making an appointment now!

Anonymous said...

i always used to think that NHS was great idea, me coming from a country where medical care is rather expensive. That is , until I moved to the UK and experienced it myself. . The two times i was there (son and I_) they said what ever was causing the pain and suffering was viral and there was nothing they could do. NOt even when i was suffering from an obvious sore thoat .. I mean, cmon, DANZEN is cheap in any country isnt it! how can they prescribe paracetomol for everything??! TOO much of it can kill! And then a doctor who prescribes amoxil to my son when he says it s a viral infection??! And the only reason why my son got the virus from me was because the first nhs doctor prescibed rest and hygiene ! And of course, paracetomal ha bloody ha. As a full time mother, i need to get well quickly to look after my son. And we rarely get the luxury of rest!I am going to spend heaps of money and register with a private practice, because NHS may be a good idea, but it remains that, a good idea!

Amanda said...

I'm transgender, and I assure you.. the NHS is shit. The treatment I've got from them is terrible. They refuse to acknowlege that I'm transgender, and put it down to "autism"..

Anonymous said...

The NHS is shit, My GP is amazing, but I have been waiting over 6 months for treatment for my severe lower back, ive been hassling them for months and all they say is they will contact me shortly :@

Mehdi said...

NHS IS SHITTTTTTTTTTTT!!!! They have the weakest GPs and Doctor you could ever meet in the world. Simply, they have no problem solving skills what-so-ever and I dont say this just for the sake of, I say it because I've been suffering for more than a year from my condition and I still havnt been cured. The next big problem is giving appointment. It takes me 2-3 weeks to see my GP and 2-3 months to see my specialist. Guess wa, shove this hole system up ur arse, cuz i fucking hate it!!!!!

Scoox said...

I think the NHS is shit. I am going to Spain this week to Spain to have an X-ray of my chest and other things which I need in order to apply for a scholarship in China (they require a medical exam to allow you to study in their country). In Spain my X-ray I simply walk into the private clinic, request the X-ray, have it done forthwith and get the X-ray and the report within 1 hour. Price: 30 Euros. In the UK I am supposed to have my GP prescribe the friggin' X-ray, which he won't do becuase he says he has no medical reason to do so. When I finally found someone who would prescribe an X-ray using a little common sense (which a lot of UK GPs seem to lack), the private hospital tells me that it will cost me 200 pounds including the report, I will need to make an appointment (first one available is in a week's time) and it will take at least 2 weeks to get the report back. I would have missed the scholarship application deadline and wasted over 500 pounds if I had done all the medical examinations here in the UK. So INDEED the NHS is shit. They are OK for the odd tiny problem, for administering vaccinations and paracetamol, and for referring you to a specialist if they are in a good mood. Most of the times I have been told to "give it a couple of weeks and see if it goes away"...