Friday, 10 September 2010

'Hotel' Hospitals

A brief post because I'm in the throes of stoning around 65lbs of plums.

An adviser to the Scottish Parliament has suggested charging patients a 'hotel' rate at hospitals to boost the NHS budget.

The proposal, along the lines of the Swedish system, would net about £300 million for the Scottish health budget according to a briefing paper for Holyrood's Finance Committee by Professor David Bell. Is this the same chap who, earlier in the week, suggested we pay £20 to visit the doctor?

If the NHS has to save money, get rid of all these numerous 'national projects' (quangos) and their duplicated administrations and return to charging for prescriptions but with a modernised system so as those who are unable to pay aren't disadvantaged. We can't afford to give free prescriptions for all.

So Professor Bell thinks we should pay for being inpatients in hospitals? I would never pay to stay in either of my local hospitals. Their record of hospital acquired infections has been poor and I'm not impressed by the competence of some staff since my visit a couple of years ago for a small procedure. Staff allowed me home without checking with the theatre if the procedure had been undertaken (which it had not) and insisted I take a course of antibiotics which was, until recently, the norm for all patients who had received invasive surgery. It was a combination of lack of cleanliness and staff who were incompetent that led to me contracting clostridium difficile. For the rest of my live I will live with the consequences of that hellish infection.

Therefore I will not be volunteering to visit any hospital and pay for the privilege, but I do think Professor Bell's suggestion will come to pass. Perhaps not in this decade but it will. How else is the Scottish NHS going to find the money to pay for all these information sites available online.

Be warned. Taking your own hygiene products and items such as towels when it's necessary to stay in hospital won't protect you completely.


Joe Public said...

By the end of the evening, I guess you'll be 'Hibiscus x moscheutos'

subrosa said...

Bonny plants Joe. I've stopped for now. Still have a carrier bag full to go but I think I'll offload them on a jam making friend. There's only so much room in my freezer and can't have stewed plums for every meal. I've enough to last a week as it is.

Dark Lochnagar said...

They'd be better getting rid of half the nurses who 'run' the outpatients' clinics. I've been to plenty and as a manager, I could half the workforce right away.

Macheath said...

Is this a cunning plan to divert the better-off into the private sector and off the NHS account books?

Health insurance premiums may look a lot less expensive if serious illness means spending money whatever happens.

subrosa said...

There certainly seems to be plenty staff around in my local hospitals DL, although you seldom see one on the wards. As you say there are plenty in outpatients departments.

subrosa said...

Macheath, I think you're along the right lines. I can see that coming can't you? As it is, if you're worried about something then you can pay for a private consultation with a specialist. Quite a con, but sometimes the worry is too much and if you can afford it then that's your choice.

Unfortunately at my age insurance premiums are out of the question. This country doesn't have an understanding of health insurance and people need to see the examples in parts of Europe to then choose.

Key bored warrior. said...

Rosie you wee devil, when I saw your first sentence and the photo of the hospital bed I had a contraction in the south and a sharp intake of breath. I thought you had a new career in family planning.

I totally agree with you on hospital acquired infections. It is just bloody disgusting.

My own experience was in my local hospital a about three years ago. I was frightened beyond belief and ended up walking out, against their wishes, thank God I was able to.

The hospital is one of Labours new flagship hospitals which we will pay for twice for the next 40 years and is a joke.

Briefly, I was in for high blood pressure dizziness and head pain. Turned out it was all down to a sinus infection but at the time, I thought it was my time. So did the A&E doctors who were brilliant. All dressed in light blue uniforms and very professional. However they kept me in and eventually I ended up on a ward. In the 36 hours I was there my bed was moved to another ward 4 times. Not once did I see the bedside lockers being cleaned so I was in someone else bug zone. Dried blood on the floor. Toilets unclean and used to store sanitary wear. Cracks in the floor of a shower. The one time I saw a cleaner she never even looked in the direction of the toilet. Her method of cleaning was to weech a dry mop/ brush thingy round the room, followed by a wheech with a wet mop. Given that most of these viruses are airborne, this seemed crazy. She appeared to have a crazed mentality as she pulled curtains aside on beds where treatments were going on, it was all very intimidating. Doctors all wore civilian clothing. Stethoscopes hanging from trouser pockets. Tourniquets hanging from trouser pockets. Whistling laughing and joking like they were in the pub. It looked and sounded like MASH. The food is prepared in Manchester! I would not serve it to a pig, it was vile.

When it came to the day I was to be let out, I was still there at lunch time waiting to be “processed.” Eventually they got me in a wheel chair and having finally got a porter to attend they sent me down one floor to attend the discharge suite, which was a ward turned into a horrible waiting room with chairs round the walls and two disinterested nurses sitting at a table in the corner organising their Christmas, (it was December.) I was told after 20 minutes that I was waiting for the pharmacy to send up my drugs. I had reached the tipping point, and told them clearly that I was leaving and the only thing that would stop me would be, and armed guard. My drugs were picked up that evening. There is much more I could tell you, but it would run to pages. Suffice to say I complained in writing and received back from the hospital manager the shittiest letter implying that I was a silly old sick man who dreamed up every thing. The whole dossier was sent to my MP and Nicola Sturgeon whose office said there is nothing we can do about it. Enough already.

subrosa said...

KBW, I sympathise, really I do. Your experience is much the same as mine although mine left me with lifelong health problems. Nobody wanted to know as you say. Nicola Sturgeon said the same to me.

We didn't have a Patients Association then and lawyers weren't interested unless they received £10,000 up front.

So I just have to put up with things but get so angry at times.

English Pensioner said...

I wouldn't mind paying a hotel charge if I got hotel treatment. I visited a friend recently who was in a private hospital (at NHS cost, not because they were concerned about her, but because they'd made a mess up of time scales and would miss targets), and it would be well worth paying something extra for a room like the one she had. While we were there afternoon tea was served, I don't think a top hotel could have done better, and as visitors, we were offered the same.
But as for the NHS hospitals, you are in a dormitory with a few dozen others - what did organisations like the YHA charge for such accommodation before their visitors wanted something better? That's about the amount that the NHS would be worth!

subrosa said...

Sounds lovely English Pensioner, but not so long ago a dear friend of mine had an op in a local private hospital because she didn't want to use the NHS because of infection. Lovely room she had too there and first class service.

She ended up in the local NHS hospital with a serious infection caused perhaps by lack of cleanliness.

Sod's law.

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