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, 30 April 2012

The Constant Patient

Loss of Innocence-It Goes On.

I left the saga last with J' having gained control of her Diabetes and progressing to a more 'normal' lifestyle, but of course once the NHS has it's claws into you it never wants to let go. Between us we decided that we did not want to participate in any of their 'educashun' (sic) programmes for Diabetes, nor did we want to return to that hospital for any tests for osteoporosis, or X-rays or indeed for anything. Whilst both of us had a jaundiced view about DXA scans for bone density, on balance we thought it was justifiable to have at least one done to determine whether any such condition really existed. As a consequence we decided to pay for one at another location. So we did.

The results were pretty much as predicted; her hip and spine were slightly less dense than optimal and she was defined as 'osteopenic', which is pretty much what any post-menopausal woman is likely to be, especially in our Vitamin D deprived country with it's aversion to sunlight, love of sunscreens and paranoia about cholesterol. All these, for those who do not know, contribute to the density of the human skeletal structure or rather don't, if you employ any of the above.

A year down the line from the accident we also saw a 'new' Consultant who X-rayed the hip in which the prosthetic 'lurked' to ascertain the extent of any acetebular erosion or protrusion. There wasn't any; well not that could be seen, but frankly a normal X-ray is unlikely to show any until progression was reasonably advanced. It did provide some assurance however and the Consultant was at least honest and didn't treat either of us like children, probably because I talked the 'language' of his profession, in that I utilised medical terminology. In the meantime, we had both changed to a new (for us) GP practise. Because J' was now a registered Diabetic she then began to receive constant entreaties both in the mail and on the 'phone to attend for this test, that vaccination, sundry assessments most of which were largely pointless, or were largely encompassed by our own protocols.

Out of interest, we eventually gave in to a 'diabetic assessment' more out of curiosity than anything else. Of course it was undertaken by a Diabetic Nurse, which presumably did not describe her condition (it was a woman) but her vocation. Looking as she did I was prepared to revise that view because she embodied the 'don't do as I do, but as I say', philosophy in the NHS of appointing those who look sicker than their patients to advise them of the error of their ways. She looked as if she had been a Diabetic herself for many years, bordering on obese, with a florid face and that constant frown, common in those that have little understanding of  what they are doing because they have no idea of why they were doing it,  (I think she probably drowned puppies for a hobby).

She took J's blood pressure (132/65), weighed her, which was the same as it always was (now) took some  bloods for analysis including for a 25(OHD) that I had requested and laid her on the couch and prodded her feet with a short bristle device. As she weighs herself weekly, I take her blood pressure, and often 'tickle' her feet (it makes her jump) it all seemed pretty pointless to be frank, but she did suggest we come along to the 'club' they have for Diabetics, and also a training session where we would have likely had the virtues of low calorie/low fat dieting, extolled in glowing terms and of course be told that there was no need to 'test' constantly (because test strips cost money and the NHS doesn't have any). We declined I'm afraid. She looked crestfallen at this news, but we had seen the pictures on the leaflet and certainly did not want to emulate any of the antics therein portrayed (watching paint dry seemed more attractive).We left then to await the blood test results which were to be available in about 5 days.

Four days later, whilst we were whiling away the time at the 'hovel' counting the cobwebs on the ceiling, the 'phone rang and lo' it was the lead partner in the GP practise wanting to speak with J' about the test results. As we did not have them as yet I found this curious, but not wanting to prejudge the situation, I put her on the 'phone and listened in on the speaker. After praising J's HbA1c result, of 6.3% (the achievement of which he had no hand in, but would be rewarded anyway on the Quality Outcomes Framework) he raised the question of her Cholesterol level of  7mmo/L and suggested she take a statin. J' then asked me to respond to this so I took over the conversation after she gave permission to the Doc' on the 'phone. I pointed out to him that there was no evidence to support such a protocol for any woman, and that it would likely be injurious to her health, along with a few choice references that supported my view, and perhaps he might do a bit more research? At that point he fell back on the "I am only carrying out orders" defence and then told me how the QOF meant he had to do things that he did not always agree with, just to earn a 'crust'. Forcing back a tear, I expressed my heartfelt regret at such appalling treatment meted out by the PCT Commissars and we left it at that, after he promised to let me have a copy of all the test results.

What then are we to make of this? Well, GP's are paid to monitor Diabetics under the QOF protocols and ours had earned 44 points by undertaking the Diabetes examination and recording the findings. This includes achievement of some points from blood pressure, HbA1c and certain levels in the blood of various components, all of which he had no hand in at all! But of course that is never enough. We already had refused the tests for Retinopathy, because our Optician included it in J's annual eye test, the annual flu' vaccination, because it's counterproductive and now of course we had refused statins'. One gets the idea that curing sick people is merely an adjunct to the more important task of fulfilling certain criteria within QOF that invoke payments. Is this what Primary Care has become? Well err... yes.

Diabetics are treated very poorly by the NHS, and outcomes continue to worsen, mainly I believe because the diets, drugs and lifestyle advice is founded upon poor science, dogma and the touching (but wrong) view that 'Pharma' is a benevolent edifice, searching endlessly for cures and life enhancing drugs to make the lot of Diabetics as 'normal' as possible.The truth is that they only want to 'treat' the condition and symptoms with a cocktail of their products, in ever increasing number and volume to make a profit! Virtually all of the evidence that backs their products as efficacious is funded by them. Diabetes UK is heavily dependent on their largess as is the US equivalent the ADA.

It is not inevitable that Diabetes is progressive and life shortening unless the 'mainstream' treatments are pursued. Many know this and either overtly or covertly follow their own agenda and are considerably healthier as a result. When J' gets a day when her three times a day tests, all come out as normoglycemic purely by gist of diet, a little exercise and a few supplements, it is a cause for celebration. It can be difficult some days, there are pitfalls in many foodstuffs that are not evident at first analysis but by testing rigorously they are soon found. But if you are not taking a hypoglycemic drug they are not funded by the NHS. So you have to buy them yourself. So you save the NHS lots of money by being responsible for your Diabetic destiny and the mealy mouthed idiots then penalise you for so doing. Crock of s**t or what?

I will continue to post the continuing saga as and when it happens. J' is somewhat handicapped as a Diabetic because her piss poor prosthesis is not conducive to vigorous exercise and that is a useful protocol for any diabetic to lower insulin resistance and 'burn off' excess glucose. So she has been doubly damned by the arrogance and stupidity of a system that is incapable of factoring in individual needs in treatment. Thank you NHS for making sure the law of unintended consequences rules!


  1. In England, if you can't afford prescriptions, you can get a certificate entitling you to them for free. If your income is too healthy for that, you can buy an annual prescription certificate for less than the price of a television licence. Funnily enough, most people seem to find enough money to buy a television licence.

    1. I think you have missed the point Anon. The cost is not at issue, because there would not be one for a diabetic. The point is that one is not allowed a scrip for strips unless you are are on a drug that could invoke hypoglyceamia. Thus you have to pay for your own if you use a protocol of diet and exercise. This is despite the fact that you are saving the NHS quite a lot of money by controlling your own destiny.

    2. Did you get the vitamin D level result?
      I try to maintain mine at 75 ng/ml. I also ensure a high intake of K2 and A. From my understanding, combined with D, they work in synergy and really help with bone health.

  2. Yes Bill, we did. J's levelwas 113ng/ml and mine was 115ng/ml, quite a healthy level; her level at the start was 15ng/ml. The consequence has been that infections are very low to nil and when 'flu did strike in January it was short and quite mild.

    This was due to an intake of 5000iu per day for about 9 months and is now 2500iu as a maintenance dose. There has been a subtle but noticeable improvement in J's Diabetes expressed in her HbA1c results. Of course low carb has a significant influence as well, so this report is anecdotal and I have no means of knowing which element was of the greatest significance, it was perhaps all of them. Thankyou for your enquiry.