Dear Jeremy Hunt - Service Users

Is that what we are these days? It seems we're no longer patients. Your language is all hip, management speak, about accessing a service that's designed for us users. Well, here's the thing, successful entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson (you might have heard about him), is credited with saying "look after your staff well and they in turn, look after your customers." 

These two NHS customers service users are currently a little bit knackered. Me, because 3 o'clock in the morning is prime worrying time, and Dave....well Dave because he's going through the new treatment regime and yes, it's as hard as he was warned. Scan tomorrow morning to see how everything is going and I think it's more important for our morale, than for the actual clinical information. We are living from treatment to treatment and trying to anticipate good and down periods where we can do stuff. Fun stuff. 

Spring has sprung and it's truly beautiful here. Living in this part of the world uplifts my spirits in ways you can't imagine. The chickens are a constant source of amusement and exasperation. Jenga, my rooster is doing his absolute best to add two of Z's flock to his own and they are desperate for this to be so. His problem is that the coop we've got is too small. I might be able to squeeze one extra in, but two is a step too far. I will have to disappoint them.

I'm still doing my best to keep a clean and tidy house. I had a bit of a lurgy issue that had me ringing my new GP for advice. Technically, Dave is the patient. I'm down on record as his carer, but that's because as his non-domiciled significant other, it gets a bit awkward as far as patient confidentiality and treatment is concerned. My surgery has bent their rules into a pretzel to enable both Dave and myself to have as much support as they are able to provide.

I knew towards the end of last week I was cooking a low-grade sinus infection. Normally, I'd just take to my couch with a massive mug of tea, knock back the over-the-counter drugs and wait until it buggers off. However, two things. One, as I'm looking after things, I can't be out of commission for the three weeks it normally takes my sinus infections to resolve or deteriorate and two, Dave's immune system is getting the shit kicked out of it. I was worried that he'd get this and it would strike him down in an Old Testament stylee.

Like all good and sensible people, I rang my GP. My new surgery is desperately short of GPs. They are now running a system whereby they triage calls and a GP or nurse will call you back with advice, or invite you in if necessary. Why are they short of GPs Jeremy? Well, they've had a doctor retire and a couple go on maternity leave and it seems locums are hard to come by. Why is that Jeremy? No really, why do you think that is? 

My new GP called me back within half an hour. I explained the situation to her and she issued me with a prescription for antibiotics in case I got worse. She trusted me to work with my body and my health. She also reassured that having this wouldn't put Dave at risk, just not to get too close and be sensible. She made it clear that I could call back if I had any worries at any time. Happily, my sinuses are playing nice and everything seems to be clearing up fairly rapidly. The ABs are here just in case. 

This brings me to the main point of my letter today. I'm not the one with cancer. I'm not the one going through chemotherapy. But every time I've gone in with Dave, I've been warmly greeted. My questions and concerns are considered and answered. I am looked after as well as Dave. I'm not the service user, not the customer. I'm treated like a person, whose wellbeing is taken into consideration. Not just the addition or carer of Dave.

I wish you could see the Oncology Unit in the way I do. The nurses greet their patients with warmth and smiles. Today, I saw some of them greet their long-term service users with hugs and genuine affection. Tea and biscuits are offered by volunteers before the serious business happens. Have you ever tried to get a cannula in? Not as much fun as you'd think. After awhile veins become scarred and it gets harder and more painful. Oh yes, the nurses can't ever go "that'll do" with chemotherapy drugs. Nasty things happen. You're the Minister for Health - look it up. 

Today, I amused the nurse while she tried to get the cannula in, by trying to pronounce the drug names, even after her patient schooling I still couldn't do it. My Caribbean heritage has me putting emphasises in the wrong syllables and it comes out horribly wrong. I don't think I have a career in the medical profession waiting for me because of it. 

But I think of those who are able to pronounce those disease names, the drugs needed to save the lives of the service users and are able to give a little of themselves to make the experience bearable. Jeremy, I implore you. 

I need these people. All of them. From the auxiliary to the staff nurse, from the heavily pregnant junior doctor and her ridiculously young colleagues all of whom look like they should be drinking Diamond White behind the Sixth Form College. I need the oncologist to be on best form, the GP to be able to hear me when I need reassurance. I need them, because I need Dave. I need him to be well. My happiness depends on this. I'm not ready to give Dave up to the cancer yet. It's the NHS that will do this for me as long as you leave it well enough alone and let the service providers to their jobs, their best and their most, for us service users.

Comments

  1. <3 there's always a glass of wine (or 20) waiting for you on our porch, sugapie! xixixi

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    Replies
    1. And you know if ever you fancy chasing chickens (or watch me chasing chickens) there's a place for you and MITM to stay and play. xxx

      Delete
  2. Jeremy Hunt just sees the NHS as a money-draining nuisance. He would like to sell off the whole shebang to the highest bidder. He couldn't care less about the patients or the staff. Thank goodness the staff are determined to defy him and continue to run a caring public service.

    Best of luck to Dave and I hope his treatment gets results.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm certainly beginning to think this is true.

      We get the results next week.
      xx

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  3. Have you been in touch with Macmillan.org, they are terrific, and nursed my Granddad at home when he had cancer (1987 though) and were very helpful and kind to my mum. They might be there for you as extra support.
    Hugs to you.
    Sx

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    Replies
    1. There's the Big C based in our hospital. But yes, Macmillan might be the answer as things progress. Thanks for that.

      Hugs back darling
      xxx

      Delete
    2. Hopefully you and Dave won't need their support, but I only have good experiences (third hand, when SP's mum was ill) to report about Macmillan, too.
      I'm glad you're both being treated well by the NHS x

      Delete
    3. Thanks honey.

      I've heard good things about Macmillan too. Hopefully, it's going to be a while before we need them.
      xx

      Delete
  4. Hugs to you both. And Jenga.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you lovely.

      All gratefully received.

      Jenga is busy doing his little dance, when he pauses I'll try and hug him then. xx

      Delete
  5. I'm channeling Ny Bevan.And sending more hugs ((()))

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    Replies
    1. Ny Bevan would be shocked and appalled by this government.

      Keep the hugs a-coming.

      xxxx

      Delete
  6. Massive hugs to you and Dave. Jeremy Hunt can go screw himself. I hope all this gets resolved soon and with the patients and doctors and nurses in mind rather than the bottom line. Putting only dollar values on people's lives or health is so very wrong on all levels.

    But I am also glad that both you and Dave are getting the treatment you both need right now. And I'm hopeful tomorrow's scan shows improvement. Sending positive healing vibes through the atmosphere your way!! xoxoxoxo

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    Replies
    1. Thanks honey.

      I think it's just so wrong to grind down such great people. Of course it's not a perfect service and they get it horribly wrong. But that's because we are all human beings and we do get it wrong from time to time.

      But this level of ministerial bullying to people who work so hard is bordering on criminal.

      I couldn't do medical jobs and I am just so grateful to the people who can. Who do make such a difference.

      xxxx

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  7. Get well soon, to both you & Dave!

    I keep y'all in my thoughts & wish you good health, much strength, lots of love.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks darling.

      I pray for grace and courage every day.

      xx

      Delete

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