(Originally published 30 Jul 2013)
I didn't see recent the BBC3 programme 'Failed By The NHS', I'll catch it on iPlayer soon but it seems to have enflamed a lot of reaction; positive and negative. That in itself is quite ironic because that perfectly sums up my experiences of that particular organisation over the last few years. Before 2008, the only times I've found myself in a hospital bed were because of kidney stones (ouch!) in 2006 and being born way back in 19...(mumbles under my breath). Ive always adhered to my late Nana's motto to 'sleep yourself better' and steered clear of Doctors unless it's been absolutely necessary.
2008 was the year my current relationship with the NHS and its various services really started. After getting increasingly ill for 6 months and with the regular visits to my GP continually failing to diagnose my condition, I ended up having emergency surgery. Unbeknown to me at the time, my downward spiral had started. I will say, however, that the primary care I received after my surgery in 2008 and again in 2009 was fantastic. The ward nurses, doctors ,surgeons, consultants and district nurses looked after me brilliantly. I didn't get some counselling I could have done with, but at the time I didn't know it was available or to ask for it, so I can't really fault them for that can I?. We all have a degree in hindsight don't we.
The (bi)polar opposite of that would be my experiences of the NHS and in particular its Mental Health services. I will say that the care I'm getting now is fantastic but I've had to trawl through 7 levels of hell to get here. Thankfully I've had family to fight for me when I couldn't and whilst it shouldn't have got to that stage, it did. Fighting through levels of bureaucracy and management almost finished me off when simple care was all that was needed. It's not an experience I'd wish on anyone.
To me, it seems like a futile task to build a show around people's experiences of the NHS. It's a massive organisation trying to cater for literally ten's of millions of people so, of course, there are going to be problems. Let's be honest though, it's a minority. That's not to say it's acceptable when it goes wrong, but a show about how great people have been treated wouldn't get made would it?. As cliched as it might sound the NHS IS a fantastic organisation. We should be proud of it and, despite the problems I've had with it, I certainly am.