Bit of a tough week at work last week.
Not so much watching the increasing struggle GPs face to cope with massive and increasing workload, but watching the way we as society and the fragmented NHS, weakened by lack of budget and staff shortages, are no longer very able to cope with the demands of the cognitively impaired.
Families are separated and you can’t assume that next of kin who live 200 miles away or half a world away are even interested when old uncle Bert, who’s been living quietly on his own for donkey’s years, suddenly goes do-lally.
A Care Plan isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on if there are no social care staff to turn out and one district nurse can’t do the work of the four nurses that used to handle the caseload.
GPs are supposed to co-ordinate while they are seeing routine patients who made appointments two weeks ago, seeing urgent on-the-day patients with everything from suspected meningitis to lumpy testicles and dealing with multiple “oh but it’s urgent because the patient forgot to order and is going on holidays for Easter” queries from pharmacies.
It was all an uncomfortable foretaste of the future, as dementia occurs earlier in peoples’ lives and becomes very common indeed. What’s to be done with those in that perilous state somewhere between confusion and lucidity? They are capable of making the choice to live independently one day but the next day they may not recognise their own front door. The answer is a big fat ‘nothing’ until there is a crisis. This is not satisfactory – for anyone.
But enough of the frustrations and peculiarities of work. Saturday, my second day off, was a lazy day. It was a slow, second mug of tea kind of day. I read about the 17th century Seige of Gloucester – most of those killed got popped off because they put their heads above the parapet to peep at the enemy Royalists. I read about the Life of Colonel Edward Massie, the hero of Gloucester whose name was spelled Massie but in most books and public placards is mis-spelled as Massey. Someone should make a film of his life. It’s got everything – masterminding the defence of Gloucester and paying soldiers with his own money, getting imprisoned in the Tower of London and escaping by climbing out of a chimney and fleeing to the Netherlands – and ending up being given a knighthood and a beautiful estate in Ireland.
The weather was cloudy but fresh. I strolled around the garden followed by Leo and Fat Lily, looking at the red buds bursting on the apple tree and the drops of overnight rain still hanging sparkling from the branches. In the pond, the duckweed proliferates, lime green against the dark murk of the pond. Pretty with irrepressible tendencies. Two frogs sat at the shady end of the pond noses out of the water, covered in duckweed.
At the sunny end of the pond, big blobs of frogspawn had transformed into trembling dark pools of newly hatched tadpoles – hundreds of tiny black streaks. Only a few are advanced enough to be swimming free – the rest are huddling close, absorbing the light and warmth.
I messed about a bit on Twitter catching up with cycling, my favourite punsters and pals and following some interesting links. It always seems such a treat to have the freedom to read properly at the weekend because there is so little time in the week.
Headed to the theatre in Malvern later to see Jeeves and Wooster starring Robert Webb of Peep Show fame. It wasn’t at all what I expected – in fact it surpassed expectations being clever, accomplished and hilariously bonkers. I recommend it wholeheartedly – if only for Robert Webb’s newt impression.
Happy Easter weekend!
Sometimes it’s best not to ponder our personal future – although I agree social provision seems to be in a perilous state :-S
Beautiful photos though. Happy Easter! 😀
Hi Sophie and glad you like the photos 😀 It was a lovely Easter! Hope you had a good one too.
Social provision has to be changed and improved hugely to cope with the predicted increase in dementia – and for that matter, diabetes! But hey, back to the coal face of the NHS today so no time to ponder the big issues 😀
Agreed wholeheartedly with your comments re NHS. Thank you for the lovely bits at the end though 🙂 Hope you had a Happy Easter xxx
Hi Julia. Yes, it was excellent, thanks! Ooodles of fresh air, friends, family, a beach and sunshine. I feel a blog coming on… 😉 xxx
It was the moment when I heard David Cameron say that the government had taken the tough decision to support the NHS that my dislike for him turned to something sharper. Every time I hear someone say we can’t afford the NHS I wonder why they think we can afford a nation of sick people who can’t get medical care. Is that really going to help us a country? Did you see the piece in the Guardian on saturday about people doing home dentistry? Oh dear you’ve got me started…
As for infirmity, I want to end up ina facilty run by Bill Harris, or at least people to subscribe to his beliefs. read this and feel uplifted http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/11139446/Can-life-in-a-nursing-home-be-made-uplifting-and-purposeful.html
Interested that you enjoyed Jeeves and Wooster. I saw it last year and was disappointed. Robert Webb’s performance was good, but I found the whole thing too slapstick. Wodehouse’s writing is funny enough without any need to overegg it.
Enjoyed Oppenheimer on Saturday. That one is probably up your street too.
Sorry about getting you started, but it has to be done sometimes.. 😉 I’m furious about the Tory claims. Hunt was on R4 the other day and I was spitting feathers. He was claiming there are hundreds of new nurses in the system in a “haven’t we done well” kind of way. The truth is that the vital and wonderful District Nursing service is in a state of collapse, with nurses overworked to the point of illness and no new nurses keen to take their places.
Basically they have failed to invest in direct day-to-day patient care and fragmented our precious NHS to a point where it may be incapable of rescue. To make matters worse, on the eve of the election they are promising to throw money at it and making completely spurious claims about the state of it! Grrrr.
Yes I am aware of Bill Harris. I think there was a piece about him in the Huffington Post. Wonderful stuff.
Re Jeeves & Wooster, I started off thinking “Oh what IS this?” but once I laid my expectations to one side and went with it, I enjoyed it and admired the incredible sharp timing of it all. What a challenge for the actors! Haven’t got anything else booked at the mo. Maybe I should! 😉
Interested driving to and from Aunt’s to see very few posters supporting local candidates. Usually this close to an election the hedgerows and gardens are full of them. Helos me rule out apparently pleasant parts of the country as places to live.
🙂 I’d never thought that as a strategy but I like it!