First of all, I know with the seriousness of my blog title, and when I tell you what got me into this angry mood, that it may not seem as annoying to you as it annoyed me, but I really wanted to underline a very important point that got underlined to my immense frustration recently.
Ok to the first point, you are welcome to laugh about the fact that this will be in reference to the chronic tooth ache I’ve been feeling recently. Ok I can take that as funny from an outsider, because to me it even reminds me of one of the pathetic excuses kids used to give in order to get out of sports.by the way I mean other kids, as it may shock you to know I once played sport a lot, contrary to some photos you may have seen of me, I blame reading……… but seriously, I’ve never felt such discomfort on a consistent level than this toothache I have been having, and I did miss three months when a nerve collapsed in my neck, that wasn’t fun.
Yet there’s something that both the incidents have in common regardless of the nerve problem being more serious, in that no matter what amount of pain I was in, there seems to be a complete injustice floating around that patients are more often than not faking their ailments rather than being treated properly. I would like to put into context, that I hate being ill, therefore I very often don’t take time off, which has backfired on me in the past by not looking after myself like I should. I accept that. Therefore, when I picked up the phone, after three days of pain and taking painkillers I realised I may have tooth that needs removed, or at the very least seen to immediately, I swallowed my stupidity to try and do something about a problem I’ve been having by ringing NHS direct.
Now this is currently a Saturday when I rang, and what I had decided, again my own reluctance to cause a fuss, was to wait out till Monday to get my tooth seen to. But I had such a bad night, with no sleep at all, that I felt it was enough to warrant me phoning up as I would have to wait another two days to sort it. So I ring, they say fine….a dental nurse will ring you shortly, hangs up. I then wait an hour and a half till this person rings me up, and it’s painfully obvious, in more ways than one, that I’m not going to get any help, but the person on the phone clearly has an attitude that I don’t need any help, because the first thing she says is that there’s no guarantee I’ll let you get treated.
Now this is where to quote Stephen fry-‘my spleen is not big enough to cope with the inner juices of fury’ in regards to her saying that. Without even the patient, i.e. the reason that she’s on the phone in the first place has said anything, she has already pretty much made a decision. So as you’ll not be surprised to learn, she said, take more painkillers ring Monday, which was good because I was trying to ring the automatic service of stating the fucking obvious. Now I understand if I was using a general doctor time when he has someone more serious to treat, but this was a line specifically for dental treatment, I wasn’t standing in a waiting line of different people with different ailments(also known as the 6 items or less queue at 4am asda).
Also, she said she would decide whether I could speak to a dentist after few questions, which leads to what answer could I possibly give other than, im in pain, my painkillers have stopped working, that’s why I rang you. I didn’t realise that the helpline all of a sudden was run by a devilish tooth fairy, as in even the tooth fairy in this country is struggling for work she has to accept working in a call centre. Also a tooth fairy that has lost her ways, she used to want them teeth, you know more than anything now she’s turning them down. The thing was as well, she usually would pay us, yet the sad story is, all I wanted was to find a way of paying her to take the tooth from me. So I could of saved her from giving in to the system, yet apparently I’m not even allowed to asked for dental treatment on a Saturday, because although it’s out of hours, it’s not an emergency, even though, out of hours, is not normal, therefore you ring……..if it’s an emergency……work that one out.
There is a serious point to be made here though, because I’m starting to see this all the time and it really worries me to see a great idea like the NHS being run wrong, by the wrong people. I know an argument people would make is that they put these regulations in place to stop people abusing the system, but the system still has to work for genuinely ill people that need something to not be accused of wasting the emergency services time before they have been assessed. Regardless of whether the patient is wrong or not they should have a right to go and ask a medical professional whether they are ill or not.
Now you may think ‘Steven- she was in a better, More educated position than you to make a decision’, but , having taken her advice to visit my local chemist, they had a professional there who told me that the advice I got wasn’t the right one, and gave me different medication. May I be bold enough to think that they saw I was in obvious discomfort and therefore were in a better position to try to help me? But even if they see you, they still find it much easier to treat you with painkillers, which masks what is happening to you rather than an effective long term treatment for the root of the problem. To use my nerve problem I had last year as an example, I was on painkillers for a month and when they stopped working I had the same pain as when it started, because they didn’t treat the nerve that caused the problem in the first place.
This issue of giving just short term solutions to illnesses is a problem. The lack of public knowledge for example towards mental health means that many are being put on anti-depressants because it costs a lot less in principle to take that solution then endless therapy sessions to get to the root of the individuals mental anguish. However, one in ten people in Europe are taking at least one day a week of work in regards to depression related episodes. Imagine the amount of working days that is that would end up affecting the economy generated on those days? And the worst part for us Brits, we are the not only the most depressed, but also it’s the most treated illness every year, meaning your more than likely going to know someone that is suffering depression. Isn’t it worth knowing that to start helping people treat when they’re sick?
Lets start treating people, and if the NHS is without cost, regardless of cost, time and inconvience,
lets start treating people but literally, and properly.