Saturday, 6 November 2010

Waiting lists

    NHS waiting lists. A perennial favourite British political football. The lot that have power are always leaving the sick and needy languishing in their suffering while greedy NHS managers waste billions on paper plates and the lot who don't have power always have the magic solution that will see everyone treated in luxury the minute their doctor requests it. Or so the story goes.
    This report from ten years ago sets 13 weeks as a target for the maximum time to see a hospital specialist. Interesting. My GIC appointment came through this week. I'll be waiting more than double that time, I suspect the cherries in the hedge near my former workplace will be ripening in the sun while I'm on the Tube to the GIC.
    Given what I'll be asking for and my likely outcome this probably won't make too much difference. It would be nice to feel as if I am on my way to achieving something whatever that may be, at least I'm in the lucky position of having help to tread water. But for some people who will be hanging on by their fingertips a wait like that could affect their very survival.
    If only some column inches could devoted to the waiting list transgendered people face for treatment instead of to demonising us. It's not as if the media is afraid of talking about NHS waiting lists, after all.


  1. And they show surprise that such a very high proportion of clients save the NHS a fortune by committing suicide!

    Caroline xxx

  2. You read the mirror???

    Waiting times have always been awful on the NHS - I think all of the opps I had as a child were in the pipeline for multiple years before they actually happened. IIRC the process started when I was 6 or 7 and the final op in that series was when I was 12. And that was priority for a child - some of the adults I was in with had been waiting longer...


  3. The British print media reduce all stories to Cowboys v Indians; goodies v baddies. You are obviously portrayed as one of the "bad patients" clogging the system with your demands. (That word is a killer isn't it? It somehow makes it less of a health access right). Good luck

  4. I'll wager if the NHS were a private concern things would be different. Too much money wasted in the wrong areas, too high salary levels, too many consultants, not enough relevant staff and not enough accountability all works for a very inefficient system. Thirteen weeks is an absolute gift considering how the NHS is run!

    Shirley Anne xxx

  5. My doc referred me to the Exeter GIC on 28th September. Two weeks later they wrote to confirm my referral but that there would be delays as they were in the middle of a 'wide-ranging review'.

    Credit where credit's due; I feel that they are trying to be helpful and calm my worries. I've now been waiting 6 weeks and news on the grapevine is that they should make the 13 week target. We shall see.

    As in so many aspects of NHS treatment, there does seem to be a wide variation of service across the different PCTs.

  6. And you wonder why 74% of Americans voted against NHC aka Obamacare. You see, perhaps ou might learn a bit from us smug, self satisfied TeaPartiers.

  7. I have to say I'm rather surprised to find you are a Tea Party supporter Anne, I had you figured for a Republican but you always struck me as someone who'd want a president with a mite more intelligence than Sarah Palin. Or are you running yourself?:)

    Fair point. However like 99.999% of Brits I will defend the NHS for being there even if I grouse about it when I find myself on a waiting list. Why? Some of the best healthcare in the world, available to all without question no matter the means or background of the patient. Nobody here has to worry about being made destitute by medical bills and no British child from a poor background will die from an abcess when they get toothache.

    You'll find the above view on the NHS from Brits of all walks of life and all political persuasions. Yes, the NHS is a legacy of a socialist government in 1948. We've dumped all their other socialist experiments because they failed. But we've hung on to the NHS because it works.

    Something I think isn't quite understood on the other side of the pond is this: we have private healthcare here too. You can sign up for health insurance here, or you can just turn up at the private hospital and pay. Some people do just that. I could too, if I was falling over the cliff I might just do that too. But consider this, the NHS is so good that even people like me who can afford private healthcare choose not to take that option.

  8. @Caroline: that's exactly it. I believe it was Cathy who quoted to me the line from the NHS's senior GRS surgeon that the suicide rate among TSs exceeds that among anorexics, yet nobody would suggest that they don't treat anorexics.

    @Claire, Shirley Anne, Stace: it's funny how we all love the NHS yet love to grouse on about it. It's the sense of shared ownership that comes with an organisation like that, we care about it because it is forged from our labours.

    What we are seeing is the result of an increase in the number of GD patients coming forward. People aren't suffering in the closet any more. In a decade's time there will be much easier access to TS healthcare on the NHS, we've just caught them unexpectedly.

    @Angie: that's pretty good, well done! It's Charing Cross for me so I guess my wait is a function of the much higher population in the south east

  9. I must say that, while the American health care system is not perfect, it does seem to get the job done. I have never had to wait, as you state in this post. Response has been nearly instantaneous.

    Now, I did say it is not perfect. There are those who don't have insurance. WE do pay a LOT for that insurance and just about all insurance companies in this country refuse to acknowledge gender correction related surgeries.