Why should we be interested in one man’s ‘bad’ NHS experience?

In the Herald today from Neil Mackay:

Until recently, I’ve only needed the NHS for short, sharp interventions – a tonsillectomy, an appendectomy, x-rays and stitches for injuries and accidents. I’ve never – until this summer – needed the NHS long-term. I’m now, though, into my fifth week of living and breathing the NHS, and much to my sadness my view of our health service has changed.

Mackay seems to have had a tough time. I don’t question his suffering. I genuinely hope he is recovered. It sounds like the staff were a bit tough on him as he struggled with post-surgery pain. I’ve had a similar experience but my conclusion, after a bit of time to get over myself, is different.

The staff are of course experienced. Maybe they know that toughing it out is the only way back once the surgery is over? I’m not sure what they could have done otherwise.

But, I mean, so what? Among the millions delighted by their care, you weren’t. What use is that to the rest of us? Here is some useful stuff:

Nine out of ten people were positive about their overall care and treatment whilst in hospital. Overall, people were very positive about their experiences of hospital staff, with a slight increase in the overall positive rating, to 91 per cent.


In 2018/19 NHS Scotland A&E outstripped all other parts of UK despite English figures being fiddled: https://talkingupscotlandtwo.com/2020/01/03/in-2018-19-nhs-scotland-ae-outstripped-all-other-parts-of-uk-despite-english-figures-being-fiddled/

Best wishes to NHS Scotland! Here’s the evidence it’s easily the best in the UK and one of the best in the World: https://talkingupscotlandtwo.com/2019/12/29/best-wishes-to-nhs-scotland-heres-the-evidence-its-easily-the-best-in-the-uk-and-one-of-the-best-in-the-world/

9 thoughts on “Why should we be interested in one man’s ‘bad’ NHS experience?

  1. Feeling sorry for oneself is quite natural and no one should be denied the right to a good old wallow in self pity, but come on. Having a bit of experience, I spent 2016 and 2017 in and out of hospital, 3 ops and various biopsies, I know a fair bit about pain and wallowing( mainly due restrictions on playing golf i.e. not allowed for around 12 weeks at a time.) Anyhow, pain control, for me at any rate was enough to get by. One other point, his care was free, it won’t be if he succeeds in persuading people to vote against Independence. I have little doubt that I would be bankrupt if I had to pay for my treatment.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I wonder how he would like to spend 12 weeks in traction and overall 18 weeks in hospital and many more in plaster also undergoing skin grafts.
    NHS is fantastic.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Is his starting point just an itsy bit short of objectivity?

    “I’M not a religious person. But like many secular liberals I’ve always seen the NHS in semi-religious terms. To me, it’s long represented the best aspects of community, kindness, and mutual support. If I’m looking for something which speaks of the values of ‘love thy neighbour’ then the NHS is it. Our health service provides a bricks and mortar symbol to me of all that’s good and decent in society. Throughout my adult life I’ve cherished the NHS – not just politically, but also morally and emotionally – revered it, put it on a pedestal.”

    Isn’t this just another stupid journalist so hooked on ideology that he can’t see and report the wider picture?

    “The visible signs of reductions in funding and diversion of funds to private operators are the closures of hospitals, GP surgeries and community services and sales of NHS estate. NHS England has cancelled tens of ­thousands of hospital operations, much needed operations which in turn are creating the biggest backlog in the health service’s history. A&E services are in a near permanent state of crisis on a daily basis and on many days some hospitals report having no hospital beds available with bed occupancy levels over 100 per cent.

    All the key indicators within the NHS worsened over the last few years, with waiting lists reaching 10-year highs. A shortage of doctors, nurses, beds and care packages for elderly patients means that black alerts, trolleys in corridors and dangerous safety levels for patients are at a peak. What was once confined to winter is now an all-year-round occurrence.”


    The war of attrition on the NHS in England has a knock-on effect on the block grant coming to Scotland.

    While Mackay’s experience of careless hygiene in hospital is unacceptable it is mild in comparison to events elsewhere.

    “Thousands of pests including cockroaches and rats have been found in NHS hospitals in each of the last five years as the cost of tackling them has spiralled, new figures show. The creatures have been sighted in maternity wards, children’s intensive care units and operating theatres.”


    Liked by 3 people

    1. Whether a hospital is clean or not at any given time is a purely subjective opinion without proper testing to verify whether it is or not. It’s also the easiest target if you want to criticise because it can’t be repudiated. A cowardly attack on a service brought in house, rather than contract, to ensure standards were met. Past reports on the reduction on infection within the Scottish NHS would such set he’s talking mince.


    2. It is just as well he was not a patient in Glasgow Royal Infirmary in the early 1970s. It was not unknown then for bullocks/cows on their way to the abbatoir in Duke Street to make a break for it and end up in the lower levels of the hospital. There are actually 3-4 ‘floors’ of the GRI below ground level. There was also a population of feral cats wandering around down there too. I guess they kept the rats and mice in check…and the odd pigeon.


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