Wednesday 22 May 2024

Going, Going, Gone!

Whenever one finds oneself watching and/or listening to the UK Health Secretary, the Right Honourable Whoever- or the one before that, or the one before that, or the one before that, or the one before that, or the one before that, or the one before that, but let's stick with this one (4th September 2012- 9th July 2018) for the present, - one finds that it is but simple child's play to generate alarmingly high levels of quite visceral hatred. In the mix, one may encounter some highly unpleasant characters. Highly unpleasant! Arguably, one could venture back a deal further, or indeed presume to project forwards. But, let's stick with where this paragraph has taken us, the Right Honourable Jeremy Richard Streynsham Hunt.

'Visceral hatred!' That's significant, right? When I taught I would occasionally pick up certain children for their application of the term 'hatred. I'd try to explain that such a powerful reponse was inveriably far too extreme for such as a peanut butter sandwich, or a particular song, or football team- surely 'dislike,' or even 'strongly dislike' would invariably suffice. Surely. 'Hatred' is a value to attribute only in extreme circumstances, and often not even then, I'd try to convince. But, on the other hand, Jeremy Hunt was the Conservative Health Secretary for the best part of six years. He 'served' under both May and Johnson, in three different government incarnations, each of of them looking to impose greater cuts upon the health of the nation's families, each incarnation looking to impose its own particular brand of austerity.

Hunt was there when George Osborne (pal of Ed Balls) first brandished the sword of 'austerity' upon the public. He was there when the outcome of his government's preparedness for a 'potential' pandemic (Exercise Cygnus) was compiled and duly covered up. Hunt was the Health Secretary who ignored Cygnus's recommendations. He's no longer Health Secretary but he's still there or thereabouts- now he's Chancellor (14th October 2022, under Truss and now Sunak). Surely more in an ironic sense than otherwise, he has been labelled as 'one of the grown-ups.' Presented as such by such as those at the BBC. Hunt is both a deserving recipient of the term 'hatred,' as he is deserving of a far more sustained condemnation. But, here, he is merely the prelude. Neither is he 'broken,' instead he breaks others and other things. And yet he's extremely well practiced at ensuring that his own projection through life remains anything but broken. During his tenure as Culture Secretary (2010- 2012), Hunt bypassed the Competition Commission with Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation attempted takeover of BSkyB, forging closer ties with Uncle Rupert yet breaking things for so many others- something of a trait?

This post is about another of the things he has helped to break, our NHS. The findings are not scientifically compiled, they are, instead, anecdotal, concerned with a single eight hour visit to A&E in Norwich. Nor do these findings include the current headlining, 'contaminated blood,' outrage, although findings from this inquiry very much endorse the overall contention. Jeremy Hunt would have been very much 'involved' with this too! Neither should we permit the term 'anecdotal' to soften any condemnation- gathering data with which to damn the man would generate a far longer post and require far too much editing.

The night of the Northern Lights pain became so intense that I found myself unable to lie in bed, unable to sit, unable to stand, unable to cease with the foul language! When a lift to the Norfolk and Norwich initially proved equally untenable I limped outside to await an ambulance and to gaze up into the midnight sky- even in the city the heavens were lighting up. Up to five hours to appreciate the spectacular, we were informed. The sky showed tints of both purple and green. The pain was a more intense white! Most definitely, it was white! I assumed an approximation of a plank as we readied for a second attempt. Who knew there were quite so many speed bumps and potholes? Darker skies offered greater promise outside A&E and yet the hobble from car to entrance was due south, agony rest-stops instead devoted to suppression of pain, back to the Lightshow. Adjacent to the sliding entrance the screaming woman had the full attentions of several of the security staff.

Ambulatory was 'encouragingly' half as full as on a previous occasion. Other aspects of the 'visit' remained of undetermined concern. Attendees drifted, confused, unsure as to precisely where to deposit notes compiled upon arrival, careful not to step upon or trip over the child curled upon the floor. I declined either of the seats offered- one accompanying partner, one adult chaperone. I took up position, leaning into a wall, forehead resting against, set to alternating weight upon left or right foot. Stepping upon the spot, breathing!

A rare white coat drifted past. Was there music? Bodies twisted into chairs, dozed, stared vacantly, or else tried to kill time by chatting, subdued. Whether there was music or not regular announcements gradually became imprinted upon the subconscious: 'Neither physical nor verbal violence would be tolerated, offenders ejected and refused 'further' treatment,' 'The NHS team was a happy positive one, working towards everyone's betterment, recruiting now lest anyone was interested,' 'Pain relief could be readily acquired via one of the circulating members of staff,' of which there appeared to be very few, 'Those arriving by ambulance were not being prioritised over others.' It transpired that pain relief was of the Paracetamol variety, thus of limited worth, most patients either similarly or better equipped!

At some indeterminate time groaning from one highly distressed male- obscured from view- became evident, evidently without suitable pain relief. Later the groaning was accompanied by that of an, also unseen, female.

Twice I wandered outside to view the Lights, undignified upon the second return. Another distraction from the waiting. Questions ventured tended to illicit "can't" more often than not. Keepers of the pills were singularly miserly.

At some point whilst it was still dark outside I was wheeled to 'Radiology' for an x-ray. "Tuesday's MRI will reveal more!" Nothing broken... except to observe that very much is. A single squirt of opioid finally provided the pain relief some six-and-a-half hours late. An additional suppository was less gratefully received, just about enough to make the drive home viable. Another hour and the keeper of the pills handed over a pack of 12 suppositories. "What you really require is a pain management package." "We can't hand out opioids at A&E."

The Northern Lights had faded with the early light of dawn. We were half-an-hour shy of meeting the ambulance crew, our caretaker having only just finished dissuading them from forcing entry. One wonders how the call will be logged. In fewer than forty-eight hours my GP would finally relent and prescribe those keenly sought opioids!

Did I feel valued? How likely would I be to recommend the service to someone else? Is this an unofficial recruitment drive for private health insurance? Subscriptions of which are soaring! What does Wes Streeting have in store?

* Tuesday's MRI at the Global Clinic involved no crowds, no groaning, no children curled upon the floor, no eight hour waiting, no hollowed out faces, no wandering confusees. No indeterminate puddle under the seats. Wonder how much my appointment will've cost the NHS?

1 comment:

  1. I undertook an MRI on Tuesday 21st May at the Global Clinic- sub-contacted to private sector. The lady who conducted the procedure said to phone surgery at the end of the week- results should be in by then. On Friday 24th- back with the NHS- I was informed that MRI results usually take about 2 weeks, to contact surgery again after another week.