Monday, 19 December 2011

Health care

The NHS gets a severe bashing these days and I know someone who can be quite vitriolic about “the appalling state of health provision in Cumbria” but our experience has been completely different. Friends know I need to be on my knees and in a really bad way before I go near a doctor but the rare occasions I've encountered the NHS since moving to Cumbria have all been excellent experiences, perhaps we get what we expect?

Monday morning last week I finally got around to seeing the dermatology specialist at our GP. A tiny mole on my arm was definitely misbehaving. (I've already had one small Basal Cell Carcinoma removed, I know what to look for.) GP agreed that the offending spot needed 'dealing with' and offered me the choice of going to a local large hospital, or to a closer Cottage Hospital where a specialist GP would remove the lump. No brainer – Cottage Hospital please.

The following day (less than 24 hours after my appointment) I received a letter asking me to phone to arrange the operation but I didn't ring until Wednesday. The lady to whom I spoke took my details and explained that she wouldn't be able to offer anything until next year but “please can I call you back in an hour because I am in the middle of something else”.

45 minutes later she rang: “I've just had a cancellation, would late Monday afternoon be convenient?

One week from my GP visit, I'm in and out of the Cottage Hospital within 30 minutes, chauffeured by a friend who refused to let me take a taxi (Management has had to go back down south and was not at all happy about leaving me, bless him), and am now snuggled up in front of the wood burner with a delicious 'convenience meal' heating gently on the stove and a Downton Abbey DVD in the machine waiting for me to press 'play'.

The young GP was excellent, obviously knew exactly what he was doing inspiring confidence from the moment I walked in. Lab results after Christmas will confirm the excision had clean margins and I continue to regret sunbathing quite so much in my early 20's but we all did; a deep tan was a sign you'd had a good summer and considered 'healthy looking'.

Talking to the GP and his nurse I learned that it costs the NHS less than half as much to treat me this way as opposed to the traditional "go to hospital, sit and wait, see three different people, wait some more". An excellent experience even if the incision is somewhat larger than I expected with considerably more stitches!


  1. That's how it should be! Get well soon Bilbo.

  2. Glad to learn you've been in-and-out quick like. Rest up and enjoy the DVD.

  3. Jill, thanks lovely but I am not ill - ill is what you went through. It was a bit sore once the local anaesthetic wore off though!

    Thanks Kris, DVD was great - I have to ration myself to just one episode at a time, just love that series!

  4. I think you're right, that you get what you expect to get. I think the NHS is great on the whole. Sure, it has some problems (the food when you're an inpatient being the biggest one here) but what large organisation doesn't.

  5. Morning Sue, when I look at healthcare provision in other countries I am very glad we have the service we do. I find staff up here fantastic, many of them are local and always seem to have time to talk, explain things.

  6. Glad that you were sorted out quickly - hope you heal quickly.

  7. I hope your arm heals up quickly Bilbo, and the results are positive. I have had far too much to do with the NHS in the last year or so, and can't complain about any of it. It's FREE, people!! Well, maybe not free, but it doesn't cost you anything extra to use the service. I do wish Joe Public would bear that in mind. If I have to wait a couple of hours to see the consultant, so be it. Where it counts they have been very quick and efficient.

  8. Lol I meant hope your arm gets better quickly and you are not too sore.

  9. Thank you Sue, I tend to heal pretty quickly.

    SewAli, agree with you completely. Risk of rant warning: have you noticed it's often the people whose "conditions" are self-inflicted who complain the most? I'm not thinking of stupid Hobbits who do too much in the garden, but smokers and binge drinkers . . . perhaps if they had to actually PAY for the treatment they need they might think twice before continuing to abuse their bodies.

    Jill - I knew what you meant, giggle!

  10. Excellent service, Bilbo - glad it was so quick and trouble free. The last experience I had of a hospital was (*ahem*)35yrs ago (and no other more recent experience as me and mine are all robustly healthy - touching wood like mad) - the only problem I've found is if you want to make an appt with your own GP (2 wks, unless you phone on the day & get lucky or are will to see anyone else in the practise).

    I think that the theory is that by the day your appointment finally comes round, you are either better or dead, and either way it frees up the slot for a phone-on-the-day-and-get-lucky patient! Actually, it's not that, it's the fact that all the GP's slots are clogged up with friends of my mid-seventies year old mother who all seem to see a trip to the doctor as a social occassion and not a medical one. Needless to say, my fit-as-a-flea mother (in no small part due to her daily early morning romps round Sutton Park for an hour or so with Cindy) has Strong Views on this...

  11. We're so very lucky to have the NHS and my own experience of hospital treatment and support from GPs has been second to none over the last year or so. Every day lives are saved and made on the NHS and we have so much to be grateful for in this Country.

    Feedback is really important to NHS staff and your compliment would be welcomed by your local PALS office. Details should be on your local hospitals website or you can search here for your local office

  12. Glad all you & yours are so healthy Hazel. Suspect fit-as-a-flea mother share many Strong Views!

    Nic, I know the NHS is as good in Glos. as it is in Cumbria {hug}. I didn't know about PALS but I already intended to send the hospital/doctor a note to say thanks.


Thank you for leaving comments, I love receiving them; sometimes they are the only way I know I am not talking to myself . . . 😊