This morning I was flicking through an old notebook - from April 2008 - when I found the following simple example of NHS care at its worst.
"In the last few weeks Mrs Carr has reduced her anti-depressant dose with her GP's support but she has had days filled with suicidal thoughts. At her last (10th) session at the Eating Disorder clinic she mentioned this to her nurse therapist....."
How did the therapist react? Well, her reaction is obvious given that I'm writing about it.
Did she show compassion? No!
Did she show she cared? No!
Did she show any concern? No!
Did she suggest Mrs Carr talk to anyone? No!
Did she suggest Mrs Carr make an appointment with her GP? No!
Did she suggest anything? No!
Did she speak? Yes!
What a wonderful NHS we have here. A patient talks about her mind being filled with suicidal thoughts and the therapist actually spoke. She didn't do any of the six possibilities I mentioned above but she actually spoke! One couldn't expect this level of service in any other country, could one?
The therapist actually spoke!
What did she say to this patient who admitted having her mind full of suicidal thoughts?
"Nothing you say will extend your treatment here."
Eight words spoken with chilling callousness for a fellow human being, a patient, a sufferer. There must be many who have heard equivalent words said in the same disgusting way.
Those eight words say a huge amount about how Mrs Carr was viewed by the NHS! The therapist's statement gives the NHS "game" away. How dare they play "games" with Mrs Carr's life.
Suicidal thoughts not taken seriously ==> this patient escalates behaviours for attention or for extended treatment. Mrs Carr didn't even want more sessions at that clinic: they were totally ineffective. In fact, they were worse than ineffective: they made her worse.
It is clear now that the NHS has not seen Mrs Carr's symptoms as real but as an attempt to get continued and unnecessary treatment. That is why we have been baulked; that is why our requests for referrals were refused; that is why Mrs Carr has been denied any community support; that is why our questions have been ignored; that is why the Health Board took 6 months to reply to our MSP's letter; that is why the Health Board did not answer any of the MSP's main questions;
and much more importantly and most obscenely that is why Mrs Carr is still suffering terribly; that is why I and our children are suffering.
Our NHS is an obscene parody of a proper functioning, caring and compassionate health service.