Do Govt Ministers have private health care?

Discussion in 'ARCHIVE FORUM: Support discussions' started by stepan, Feb 13, 2007.

  1. stepan

    stepan Registered User

    Oct 22, 2004
    #1 stepan, Feb 13, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 14, 2007
    I haven’t visited this site for a while, but now that my mother seems to be reaching the last stages of AD, at the nursing home, I thought I’d have a look again.

    A few postings here remind me of the circumstances that led to my mother’s route to a home, and I would be interested to hear other people’s views on my experiences.

    Firstly, throughout the time I was looking after her at home most of the support I received was ‘bureaucratic’ in nature from a social worker, etc, and later on, a half hour’s help in the mornings from an agency with washing and dressing. I also had four hours off a week with a visitor from Crossroads. However, I believed that what I really needed was advice and support from someone ‘properly’ qualified, and who could also co-ordinate the others in the chain. The social worker mentioned a CPN (Community Psychiatric Nurse) but, despite her efforts, the NHS wouldn’t make one available! It seems to me this refusal is part of the attitude taken by the medical establishment and the state that AD does not qualify as a medical condition and, consequently, the burden of making decisions is placed on the responsible relatives. I believe that this policy is not only short-sighted for being wasteful of social services, (and others) resources, but produces unnecessary stress for the relatives. What do you think?

    Secondly (cutting the story short) my mother had to suddenly go into hospital due to an ‘un-diagnosed’ infection. When I arrived at the MAU (Medical Assessment Unit) my mother was in a virtual coma. Whilst I was waiting to see someone, I noticed a group of medical staff arguing in a nearby office. All I could overhear was the remark from one of them, “It is a moral question.” After they broke up, I was called to meet a staff nurse and a consultant. The consultant didn’t make any opening statements, but started by asking me questions such as: What do you think about your mother’s condition (AD related)? Do you realise she is quite old? How long have you been looking after her, etc,etc? Throughout, the conversation was all levelled at me. Anything I asked the response was either with silence or she repeated the question. So, everything I said was thrown back. She offered to show me a CAT scan but, later on, when I reminded her if I could see it she responded with annoyance before letting me do so. I left the hospital feeling angry about what had transpired, and telephoned a solicitor. He advised to wait and see what happens. Soon after, I was informed my mother had been moved from MAU into a ward; and thereafter made a very slow recovery from E.Coli infection (probably from UTI). Since then, she has been in the nursing home.

    I don’t believe that the consultant ‘may’ have thought that I didn’t understand the nature of AD, and that it is terminal. I believe that her conduct (and of her accomplice!) was impersonal and unprofessional. I wonder how typical my experience is? What do you think?
  2. stepan

    stepan Registered User

    Oct 22, 2004
    #2 stepan, Feb 15, 2007
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2007

    From the lack of replies to my post, it seems that nobody has shared my experience of having a relative (with AD) fall ill and taken to hospital; and therefore, I must infer from this, that the way one can be treated by staff at that hospital (or any other) is not usual - which can only be good news?

    Likewise, my belief that a CPN would have been helpful in providing help and advice, was also believed by the readers here to be non-applicable!

    My comments were intended to receive information from people about their experiences - if it had happened to them (shared information), and what they thought about it. You seem to have taken it as a political statement. I was not suggesting how people should vote in the next general election, nor am I out to 'campaign' on the questions I raised. Anyway, we all live within a "system," and in this case it's the NHS that's affecting our lives. Our taxes (at least) give us a right to discuss it. Actually, if you look at other posts, you will notice that others (in this section) are also making "political" points about the "system," though maybe inadvertantly.

    P.S. I only gave the title, 'Do Govt Ministers have private health care?' as a facetious aside.

  3. Nell

    Nell Registered User

    Aug 9, 2005

    Hi Stepan,
    I have ben fortunate I guess in that I have not had a similar experience with my Mum.

    For what it is worth, it sounds as if you were treated in a very unfeeling way. Had this consultant talked to you previously? Did she know the "whole story" or just what she had picked up from your mother's notes? I find it infuriating when "professionalls" take a holier-than-thou attitude without even having the courtesy to find out the full story.

    I live in Australia, and like everywhere, we have our problems with our health services too. But it does seem to me from reading TP that the UK is in a worse state than we are in many ways. (Just don't let our Minister of Health hear me say that!!! ;) LOL

    I do hope your Mum makes a good recovery and that you do (eventually!) get the help you need and deserve. Nell
  4. stepan

    stepan Registered User

    Oct 22, 2004
    Hello Nell

    The circumstances were: I'd been on holiday in the west of England for a few days (the first in four years!) when I got a call on my mobile from the respite home that they had urgently sent my mother to hospital (she had stopped eating or drinking and was semi-conscious). It was the weekend, so I couldn't get any sense out of the hospital until the Monday. When I finally got to the MAU my mother looked seriously ill; and that's where the story began.

    It was not the fact that my mother had probably reached the end of her life (as it appeared then) but the 'security forces' style of interrogation that I was subjected to that angered me. I was willing to accept that if my mother had recovered from the infection her life with AD would still be miserable, and it would probably be better for her if she didn't recover. But the consultant's approach to me was as if she was an old car that was beyond economic repair!

    From then on, while she was in hospital, I kept a diary of events about: whom I met, what they said, etc. I would advise anyone else who has dealings with officials to do the same. As on occasion you may find verbal agreements/ understandings get twisted around to suit their purposes. In fact, let people in care homes, hospitals, etc, see you writing things down!

    You mention Australia. The NHS does seem to be an Anglo-Saxon problem: the US, Canada, etc,...don't know about NZ? In Europe, they seem to have a more civilised notion of society...I don't think it's just about taxation.

    Of course, there is no 'recovery' (as you put it) from AD, but I believe my mother is being well looked after at the nursing home. Though I'm always checking-up on them, and asking the manager questions.

    Thank you for responding :)
  5. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    Dear Stepan,

    I`m sorry you are disappointed in the lack of response to your post. I`m also sorry you seem to have been seen by an unsympathetic consultant.

    When I read your post I felt out of my depth, with regard to a constructive response. I only felt a wave of deep sympathy.

    On reflection, I can only suggest you make a formal complaint to the hospital management.

    With regards, Sylvia
  6. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    Oh niclely put Sylvia: that's exactly how i felt as well - unable to offer anything constructive. I mean. I can empathise, I've got some fairly bad stories regarding medical personnel myself, but I suppose nothing suprises me much about what can happen in these situations.

    In answer to your question, which I suppose could be summed up as "is the system penny wise, pound foolish", yes of course it is. When, in the name of cost saving, everything any institution does has to be justified on a cost/return basis, you end up with everyone trying to pass the buck. To be honest I feel very sorry for the people who have to adminster these systems - it must be pretty soul-detroying to have to justify everything, instead of doing things becasue they are right, and lets not forget, most people go into this sort of field to make a difference. It's definitely not just for the pay check. However, I'm even sorrier for those at the receiving end of these services (or lack thereof).

    As to consultants: I'm afraid some of these think consultant=God. Interpersonal skills are not high on their agenda in some cases. To be honest, I think many of them have little contact with "normal" people in their working day: they're either dealing with patients or subordinates, all of who tend to respond with "yes doctor": it can't be good for a person :)

    Incidentally, I have found PAL (Patient advice and liason) quite helpful in sorting out problems. I suspect that by using them you perpetuate the system: complaints don't get taken higher, so no real change takes place, but they can help you work through the maze on an individual basis.

  7. Tender Face

    Tender Face Account Closed

    Mar 14, 2006
    NW England
    Hi Stepan ..... no, haven't shared your experience ... and I wonder for some that have it is just too painful for them to share .....

    If it helps at all to raise a wry smile at least, I will confess to my facetious thought when I saw the title to your thread ..... Do Govt Ministers (and anyone else for that matter) realise that private health care plans seem to become no earthly use when any terminal illness is diagnosed?

    If you have a North West connection you may be aware of Anthony Wilson's battle with cancer and his recent publication of his 'Love letter to the NHS' (not posting a link as it identifies specific hospitals and consultants) .... for all we have occassion to berate 'the system' or any 'rotten apples' in it .... there is much to be said for some of the fabulous care afforded by it and the majority of individuals in it too.....

    I'm sorry you've had a bad experience in this instance.
    Love, Karen, x
  8. Lila13

    Lila13 Registered User

    Feb 24, 2006
    Yes, my mother (with dementia, cause n/k) had to go to hospital several times, and yes, I was unhappy with the way she and I were treated by some hospital staff (especially in the last hospital, where she died).

    I'm not sure how much of all that to repeat now.


  9. Clive

    Clive Registered User

    Nov 7, 2004
    You are not alone

    Hi Stepan

    I think most of us have had a variation on what you say in your first post. And most of us are too tired and overworked to do much about it. Mum had a good Consultant, but very little was actually done for mum. Incontinency Pads were never provided by the NHS because the Community Nurse was unable to communicate with mum because of her AD. The CPN came for a little while but then said he could not do anything for mum and stopped coming.(He confided that he had so much paperwork, and so many patients that he just had not the time). The weekly afternoon meeting for the Elderly that she attended ( thanks to some great volunteers) was stopped because they had a financial crises when a grant was withdrawn, which could have been solved by SS. A year later mum had her Aricept stopped because her mini mental score had dropped to 12. The decline in her ability from that point was steep and the Consultant recommended an EMI residential home, (though mum would have to pay, not the NHS). Though Social Services were asked to assess mum 11 weeks before I moved her into the home (after a small fire) they never came. A lady from SS rang a couple of weeks later and left a message on my answer phone asking me to ring her back about booking a date for the assessment…but would I note that she would be leaving the office for a weeks leave in one hours time!). I was offered a complaints form which I declined as I didn’t want all those SS people spending their time talking about why they had failed mum.
    I am currently trying to get an assessment for NHS continuing care but I understand I will be turned down. Not only does mum’s AD not meet the criteria, but because mum is in an EMI Residential home and not a Nursing Home it is assumed she will not be paid for by the NHS.
    It may be a help to know that you are not the only one experiencing problems. I find reading the postings here helps me understand that I am not the one who is failing, it is the system that is wrong, and I draw strength from that knowledge. My personal belief is that we should all actually go and look our MPs in the eye and ask them why they are allowing their constituents to be treated in this way. I really believe that if everyone did actually talk to their MP (several times) something would get done. But it is difficult when you are Caring for someone with AD to go and see an MP when, in your heart, you do not expect to get any help.
  10. stepan

    stepan Registered User

    Oct 22, 2004
    Thank you to those who replied.

    Unfortunately, I gave responses to replies but, somehow, I got logged off when I was about to preview it :eek: :confused: Sorry, but I can't do it all again!

    Instead, I would like to post a few ideas for people when they come up against the 'system:' simply titled, Some Ideas.'

    Thanks again:)
  11. stepan

    stepan Registered User

    Oct 22, 2004
    Hello Clive

    Hopefully, I won't get knocked-off from posting again - think it must be a server somewhere.

    Yes, we do all seem to be following similar stories. The same thing happened with the Aricept withdrawal; and the hospital ceased all involvement from that point - not a 'medical condition,' as you were also probably told? The incontinency pads offered (after a long wait) were quite unsuitable - perhaps deliberately cheap and impractical? So I bought proper ones from the chemist.

    I felt that having a CPN (which was refused) would have been a great help, but from your experience it seems their support is very limited/ restricted.

    It's curious how many holidays social workers seem to get, isn't it?

    I'm not afraid to confront officials about bad treatment: which I had to when a Respite Centre - that claimed to be able to care for AD sufferers - refused my mother remaining with them due her 'being difficult.' Letters were passed between myself, the SS and the CSCI, but that's all. At the hospital: I considered contacting PALS, but as I had been alone during the encounter with the consultant, I felt it would have been a case of 'my word against theirs.' But I let it be known, to other doctors, that I'd contacted a solicitor - maybe that helped after she went to a ward?

    I hope I don't get censored at this point (?), but my local MP Ann Keen (an ex-nurse) is Gordon Brown's secretary; and she has a problem with replying to constituent's communications!


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