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God bless the NHS

From Paul Clarke

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Last week I had a minor op under a general and as I was coming round I felt obliged to say to all the staff who cared for me a slightly drug addled 'God bless the NHS.'

I know the NHS isn't perfect but it is what makes us the most civilised nation because we can get very expensive, world class treatment free at the point of delivery.

I and my family have only ever had first class treatment from highly motivated and skilled professionals. People the Tories and their Lib Dem lackeys like to reward by not giving them a pay rise for years.

My latest experience has made me even more determined to do everything I can to stop 'one term' Whittaker and his doomed little yellow mates flogging off the NHS to private rip off artists.

From Myra James

Monday, 18 November 2013

Like Paul I had an operation earlier this year, a day surgery at Halifax hospital, and like Paul I came round from the anaesthetic feeling, and voicing, my gratitude for the NHS. True, I was drug-addled and euphoric but my feelings of gratitude have stayed with me during and since all of my treatment this year. We know the NHS isn't perfect, and that some patients experience standards of care that fall below the excellence I encountered, but let's mend it, not destroy it.

From Andy G

Monday, 18 November 2013

As someone who has had several minor operations over the past few years and several other periods of treatment, I have to say that I am 100% in agreement with Paul Clarke on this issue.

However a worrying development locally, which made the headlines on BBC Radio Leeds over the weekend, is that Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Trust are seriously considering closing the A&E department at Calderdale Royal Hospital and transferring its workload to the Huddersfield Royal Infirmary, in order to save money. Obviously this is in response to government cutbacks which are clearly designed to pave the way for privatisation of the NHS.

The facts of the matter are that the A&E department at HRI is already stretched to the limit at peak times and the extended journey times for ambulances conveying seriously ill or injured patients from the upper Calder Valley to Huddersfield will almost certainly cost lives. As we all know, traffic congestion on the A646 from Todmorden to Halifax in the peak hours is already close to saturation point, let alone that on the Halifax to Huddersfield road, which will have to take patients from a conurbation of nearly 200,000 people to an already overloaded hospital seven miles away.

This is a move which I think should be strongly resisted. While I hate to advocate anybody losing their jobs in these difficult times, I am sure that the required savings could be made by steamlining the trust's administration - hopefully by natural wastage and/or early retirement.

From Veronica Roberts

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Yes the NHS is invaluable, but as a nurse in these hard pressed times, from Monday I will be charged £5 per day to park at work, this equates to £25 per week, that being £100 per month out of my wages.

There is in place parking meters for 1 mile around Halifax hospital.

Scrooge has already arrived.

From Eleanor Land

Thursday, 21 November 2013

I understand Veronica's frustration with charges for parking, but would point out that many of us have been paying these charges for parking at work for many years. It is a fact of life these days, the motorist is viewed as a cash cow by the government, councils and their companies. The irony for me was that despite paying for a yearly parking pass, many times I could not park in my work car park because the nurses from the hospital near to the university where I worked, parked their cars in our car park illegally.

From Cllr James Baker

Thursday, 21 November 2013

I agree the NHS is an invaluable asset, one thay has saved my own life.

The budget hasn't been cut per se but health costs rise at a rate higher than inflation so we have a huge squeeze on local resources. This comes on top of spiralling PFI costs from contracts that were entered into some time ago.

There is a strategic review of unplanned care within the local NHS which is considering walk in centres and where you get taken in different situations.

Currently you will get taken to Leeds for serious heart conditions as that is the nearest big centre and your chances of survival are better going there even if the journey times are longer.

There is talk of having different types of A&E some for critical causes and some for less serious options. What's important is we allow the NHS to come up with proposals for what's best for the future of care within Calderdale and we work hard with them to ensure that's what's best for people in Calderdale.

My own familiy's health relies on top quality local healthcare and that's what I and others will be campaigning for.

From Graham Barker

Friday, 22 November 2013

I'd take a different viewpoint and suggest that there is so much wrong with the NHS that it's difficult to know where to start.

The lessons of Mid Staffordshire still haven't been learned, as a new Care Quality Commission report makes clear. The Guardian sums it up in one paragraph:

"Hospitals have made no improvement in patient safety or treating the ill with dignity and respect despite the concerns triggered by the Mid Staffordshire scandal, according to the independent healthcare regulator."

There is still an unwillingness to punish bad NHS staff. Currently, the owner and manager of a Halifax private care home are being tried for neglect. If found guilty, they could face prison. Where are the prosecutions for neglect, and worse, at Mid-Staffordshire, Colchester, Blackpool and other death-trap NHS hospitals? There is an unacceptable double standard at work here.

Closer to home, we've got three superb health centres at Mytholmroyd, Valley Road and Todmorden, none of which is open at weekends. That's a nonsense.

We've got walk-in centres closing - effectively low-level A&Es that could take pressure off the real thing. That's a nonsense too.

Now we've got the threat of the Halifax A&E being 'downgraded' - a euphemism for closed, one assumes - so that patients will have to go to Huddersfield. I can see that concentrating resources makes sense to NHS managers but it makes far less sense to patients. One factor it overlooks is that not all A&E patients arrive by ambulance. Driving to Halifax is bad enough; driving to Huddersfield from round here with someone who is ill or injured will be a nightmare.

In general, the NHS sees only the supply side and not the demand side. Would Asda ever say: 'We're going to close our Halifax store and concentrate everything on Keighley, so we can give our customers a better service'? Hell would freeze over first.

I accept that there's a grown-up conversation we all need to have about what we can reasonably expect from a health service, and how we could take pressure off the NHS by doing more to keep ourselves healthy. But for as long as the NHS listens only to itself, that conversation will probably be a waste of breath.

From Pedro de Wit

Friday, 22 November 2013

Can't agree more with Graham. We are lucky to still have excellent health centers in this area. The service that the NHS provides when you have an accident is also world class. The ambulance service and paramedics do a fantastic job in difficult circumstances.

Problems however start when you have a long term illness or depend on the NHS for care. Waiting times are unacceptable and hospitals are often not up to scratch when compared to other western European countries. And if indeed the NHS was free you could say that we shouldn't complain. Fact however is that the NHS swallows up a big chunk of government money.

It might be 'free' but it is certainly not free to me and other tax payers. We should get better value for money. The NHS however only seems to be able to cut costs by reducing services and by worsening the working conditions of front line staff.

The NHS is still top heavy and enormous amounts of money get wasted on bad procurement and on project that offer no benefits to patients or front line staff. We can complain but nothing will happen because like Graham already said the ones that are responsible are not the ones that are accountable.

From Steve Sweeney

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Graeme, just for information Todmorden Health Centre is still open weekends and Bank Holidays from 8am to 8pm after intensive lobbying by Councillors who got the decision to close it last April reversed.

From Jane Cannon

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Todmorden Health Centre is still closed all day on Sundays and has been for a long time now.

From Darren G

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

I'm also a very regular user of our NHS services and I've found a big difference in service from one hospital to another. In general 99% of NHS staff want to do a very good service yet it seems their hands are tied by management and then government.

I couldn't blame anyone for wanting to leave their employment with our NHS because it must be frustrating trying to do their best.

I need specialist care that isn't available locally so a 100 mile round trip is needed but I know of local nurses that have spent their own time researching my treatment. I also know a person from our ambulance service willing to go on a days course so they can pass on their knowledge to their work mates about my treatment.

So if I was religous I'd say God bless the NHS and their employees.

From Jane Cannon

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Just to update my earlier post:

Todmorden Health Centre Walk-In Centre opening times are changing on 7th December 2013 and will be:

Monday/Tuesday/Thursday/Friday 8am to 7pm
Wednesday 8am to 8pm
Saturday and Sunday 8am to 8pm.