How the NHS failed me and mine.
What it did, to the most important person
in my life and how it could happen to you unless
we do something about it!

Monday, 7 December 2009

Survival in the NHS

The situation in the UK has become so fraught with danger, that for each of us to survive the vagaries of illness or trauma within the NHS it has become a need to aquire at least some basic knowledge of medicine and drugs. In my view, it is really a duty to understand this complex biochemical factory we call our body. We've all got one, so at least satisfy yourself that it is working correctly and when it is'nt safegaurd yourself from interventions that may harm it further or be ineffectual.

You should know about the basics, such as antibiotics will not cure viral infections but, if you have a virus for a long time, say longer than two weeks, then you may have aquired some bacterial infection that is prolonging or exacerbating your symptoms. The reason is that prolonged chest infections can migrate to vital organs and although rare in modern society, but not so prior to antibiotics, cause heart damage. My own father died of the heart damage incurred due to rhumatic fever in the late 1930's. It took nearly 50 years, but got him in the end. At the other end of the spectrum some patients continually pester their GP's for 'something for the cold' or the 'flu. Well basically there isn't really anything, so don't. You may need that antibiotic one day to cure something really serious or potentially fatal and there are not many left that bacteria are not becoming immune to.
MRSA is one of these and its spread is partly due to over use of drugs for routine procedures when better standards of cleanliness would have obviated the need in the first place. Responsible GP's will not pander to the pressure to do something but a lot do. Do not be one of these who require every little ache or snuffle to be diagnosed by a physician, most of the time their guess will be pretty much the same as yours. You need to learn the basics to prevent unneeded interventions and safegaurd yourself from the evangelistic zeal of some GP practises to treat you for the ailments of the 'worried well'. Arbitary levels for hypertension and lipids are the buzzword interventions of now and doctors do get paid extra money for achieving certain percentage lowering or at least prescribing . So, do not feel their concern for your cholesterol being higher than 4 is entirely altruistic, it isn't. And they didn't set this level, the drug company did, in the US, in 1987 and it was a flawed hypothesis then and even more now. The treatment, drugs and tests costs the NHS £2 billion a year. So if your GP tells you you need this or any other 'lifestyle' drug then ask why, and more important if its needed, what lifestyle changes can you make to obviate the need. Otherwise you could be taking money off a patient that really needs the money for essential treatments.
I would heartily recommend Dr. Liz Millers blog 'teach yourself medicine', if you found this you will find that. Your own health requires a little diligence so practise some!

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