How health care works28th February 2008
Alice Thomson reveals her experience of her baby's time in hospital in The Telegraph.
The world of healthy people and sick people is radically different. Ill people endure uncomfortable hospitals and interminable waits for test results.
After our private GP visited us at home to look at a swelling on our baby, she advised us to take him straight to hospital. A consultant examined him and he was quickly given antibiotics and a drip, as they suspected he might have a "meningococcal infection."
For half a day he was looked at every quarter of an hour. Although he did not have meningitis, he was taken care of by "a wonderful team...as his condition improved, nurses took over his care."
The quality of treatment has been excellent. Writing about health care is something I have done "endlessly" - including interviewing "the last five Health Secretaries". I am well informed about the proposals put forward by the government, including GP's earnings and poly-surgeries.
Watching how parents cope on a children's ward and seeing bewildered elderly patients has given me a fresh perspective on the system. Particular things "stand out clearly" as representative of both the NHS and private treatment systems.
Family doctors should give "24-hour community service." The new clinics that Labour are proposing might help commuters or those in a rush, but will not work for people who require personal care. GPs should "act as a gatekeeper to the specialists and the hospitals."
The changes in the GP contract mean that this vital service is being undermined. A wedge is being forced between family doctors and specialists. Hospital doctors are unhappy that GP surgeries are open for shorter hours and they have to bear the brunt.
The standard of cleaning is another "worrying element". Nurses and cleaners are too busy to perform proper cleaning. More money for cleaners and hard-working staff is well-deserved, but I resent money spent on "mindless bureaucracy."
Our experience has shown me that "Britain is still the best place to be in an emergency."
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Title: How health care works
Author: Jess Laurence
Article Id: 5821
Date Added: 28th Feb 2008