xmlns:b='http://www.google.com/2005/gml/b' xmlns:data='http://www.google.com/2005/gml/data' xmlns:expr='http://www.google.com/2005/gml/expr' What the 111 Tragedy is Telling Us about the NHS | The Parent Game

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

What the 111 Tragedy is Telling Us about the NHS

Following the tragic story of William Mead yesterday, it's time to speak up about the useless NHS 111 service that thousands of patients are being fobbed off with in this country. The NHS is under enormous strain, this we know. It's hard not to notice, with all the press coverage it gets and it's clear the Government are trying hard to 'lessen the strain' on the service. Just today, on BBC Breakfast, it was reported that A&E services are currently on Black Alert, due to too much pressure from an increased number of patients. So, the news report advises that people should only visit A & E if they have a 'genuine life-threatening condition'. And that's where it all falls apart, because we are not medical professionals. 

The point of the NHS is to provide the professionals to make those decisions. For example; if a baby wakes up struggling to breath, how easy is it to distinguish between Croup and Asthma? If you are getting pains in the chest area; could it be indigestion, or the beginnings of a heart attack? These are extreme examples, but the bottom line is; doctors and nurses have years of training and experience in order to provide the expert diagnoses that lead to correct treatment. You cannot replace this with a list of questions automatically generated by a computer, which is what NHS-111 provides. In most cases, the call handlers have had just ten weeks training and they ascertain what treatment they feel is required via a series of scripted questions and tick boxes. 

It seems, from my personal experience, that NHS 111 is meant to act as a sort of 'triage' service, establishing what the best course of action for the patient should be, and weeding out those that would waste the resources of the NHS by turning up with minor ailments. However, there is no way to realistically do that, without a physical examination from a qualified professional. There are few circumstances where a call handler can be 100% confident that the symptoms they are given represent a minor illness, or something that doesn't require further investigation. The average person could easily fail to mention a symptom that might not seem significant to them, but could change the urgency of the treatment required. 

With so much pressure being put on the public not to trouble the NHS, it's becoming harder and harder to get the right treatment for ourselves and our children. We are increasingly being told to visit the chemist, or self treat at home, and are feeling increasingly self conscious or guilty for insisting on a GP or hospital appointment. Self treatment isn't always appropriate, though, and could lead to a condition becoming much harder to treat, because it has advanced beyond the early stages. How many people have become worse and faced a longer road to recovery, due to not seeking the right treatment in time? It would be impossible to say, as the patients would ultimately be responsible for their own decisions, regardless of Government guidelines. It's easy to say; 'you should have come in sooner', or; 'you should have persisted', but that's the health professionals' job, to decide when treatment is required, that's what they are there for. The biggest misconception of all, is that people actually want to visit the doctor. They don't, it's usually hot and busy and involves a very long wait, when people would probably rather be at home. There may be some patients who didn't need to be seen, but that is a small price to pay for catching the ones that do, before it's too late. It's about time the Government tackled the real issue here, funding, and stopped trying to plaster over the cracks by trying to make as many patients as possible go away. 




Best of Worst
SHARE:

11 comments

  1. The cases flagged up in the last few days really are so tragic. I agree that we shouldn't be made to feel guilty for visiting the doctor, but in the last 20 years or so it is certainly true that a lot more people have been visiting A&E etc when they probably shouldn't have and that there have been various attempts to find solutions. Unfortunately the 111 creation really seems to have been something of a failure and some of the results are terrible.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I often wonder if the pressure on A&E is connected to the difficulties accessing doctors these days.

      Delete
  2. Very true! I took my daughter to the walk in centre as suspected she had an ear infection and out of hours. I was turned away as it was full! We had to call 111. It's so hard to know what is right and we need the health professionals to make the call. Great post and thanks for sharing with #bestandworst x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The trouble is, 111 can't actually treat patients, just send them on somewhere, which is probably adding to the pressure on hospitals, if Out of Hours are oversubscribed.

      Delete
  3. SO true although thankfully we have always received amazing care and fantastic advice from 111. The government need to prioritize health and stop making excuses.

    ReplyDelete
  4. My sister-in-law lives in the US and she says where she lives people just drop dead as they can't afford to go to the doctors. I really can't see a solution to it. It's either free and oversubscribed or a paid service only the rich can access.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree, but the Government need to commit to it. It would be awful if we lost the NHS, but it's no good if it's inadequate either. Like most things, it's a funding issue really.

      Delete
  5. There have been some awful tragedies but I think we only hear about those, we never hear about all the good that these services provide, all the lives they safe. I totally agree that all this needs looking at and a better solution is most likely out there. I rarely visit the doctors but won't be made to ever feel guilty about taking myself or my kids, if I think they need a doctor then they do need to see a doctor but I am sure there are lots of cases that don't x

    ReplyDelete
  6. I think that it is tragic what happened, but I do think that overall the NHS is something that I would be lost without.

    ReplyDelete
  7. It was so sad what happened in the news, I always worry when mine show signs of anything, hubbie has to calm me down or I would be in the doctors all the time, if I am visiting for myself I do feel guilty but when it comes to the kids I would rather get them checked over just incase x

    ReplyDelete
  8. It is a very tragic story and yes there were failings, however, to brand the NHS useless is wrong. We have one of the best and FREE health care systems in the world - it may not be perfect but it is accessible by everyone. I have four members of my family who work for them and they work their bottoms off to ensure that their patients get the best care possible.

    ReplyDelete

© The Parent Game. All rights reserved.
MINIMAL BLOGGER TEMPLATES BY pipdig