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Disability Bitch wants a first class NHS

17th March 2011

• Disability Bitch is published every Thursday.
• The rest of the time, you can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.
A stethoscope
Readers, this week's news agenda has rightly been dominated by the earthquake in Japan and, more confusingly, by a sudden revelation that the cast of one of the UK's favourite television dramas lacks ethnic diversity - Midsomer Murders has been going for fourteen series yet no one noticed that all the actors are white until three days ago.

With so many other things to talk about, I worry that some important news stories affecting the lives of disabled people will slip under the radar.

There are two such stories in recent days: firstly, the Welfare Reform Bill passed its second reading in parliament and is inching closer to becoming law; also, the British Medical Association held an emergency meeting - its first in twenty years - because members are worried about government plans to reform the NHS.

Now, this last thing is intriguing because the BMA is, basically, a bunch of GPs, and the main premise of the proposed NHS reforms is to give those GPs more control over health finances, and cut some bureaucrats out of the middle.

I'm over-simplifying, obviously; the detail of what's being proposed is rather complicated - I'm still peeling my exploded brain off the wall just trying to understand it. Nevertheless, readers, I can't help feeling that somewhere along the line we Disableds have been overlooked in all this.

I'm sure I've mentioned before that I HATE THE NHS, except for the part where I love it because it's saved my little crippled life a few times. I don't mean to cast aspersions but it does get kinda boring when you have a chronic health condition and have to suffer a five months wait for an appointment with a specialist because you're not at death's door.
A male nurse leans over a desk looking tired
So, if the new NHS improved my experience, I'd be quite delighted. I'm just not entirely sure I want my GP to run it because he can barely operate the radiator in his surgery.

Frankly, I think the doctors should remember who keeps them in business. Yup, without us, the long term medically abnormal and older people, no one employed in the medical professions would have a job.

Readers, I think it's time they thanked us for it.

They should show their gratitude by putting us in charge of the health service. Well, more specifically, me.

There are simple mundane changes I would make: y'know, hiring more staff to reduce waiting lists, improving cleanliness, and forcing everyone with medical training to smile and say Please and Thank You when dealing with their patients ... or should we be saying 'customers now?

Perhaps I should also create some training modules like: 'Social Skills in Practice' and 'Basic Politeness'.

I could introduce a special ego-shattering 'Learn That You Are Not God' course for any doctor wishing to progress to consultant level or beyond, especially neurologists.

Your ideas for training modules welcome on my Facebook page. Thank you.
DB in a hospital bed
Meanwhile, I do feel that, as an acknowledgement of our importance to the NHS as a whole, we long-termers should be rewarded with VIP waiting areas: a good kind of segregation, if you like.

I am not a monster. I understand that doctors sometimes have emergencies to deal with and we'll have no choice but to wait our turn. I simply feel that we should be treated well while we are there: no more sticky plastic or dubiously-upholstered chairs for us, when I run the NHS the chronically sick and disabled will wait blissfully on velvet-covered chaise longues, tended to by personal chefs and highly trained masseuses because we're there so often and need to have it as a kind of home-from-home. Yes, realistic stuff, basically.

These are just a few of my ideas, readers, and I'm sure you can see their benefits. Think about it: who would you rather have running the NHS? Politicians? Bureaucrats? Doctors? Or me, Disability Bitch? C'mon, the answer's obvious.

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This week on my bi-partite social networking empire, last week's column where I wrote about laughing at how Ableds use the internet has been shared more widely than any before it, and I've gained dozens of followers.

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This week, my Twitter followers informed me that there have been some disabled characters on Midsomer Murders, though at least one of them wasn't played by a disabled actor. See, readers, see how much social networking can enhance your life. Read and learn.

Comments

    • 1. At 9:59pm on 17 Mar 2011, Parsville wrote:

      It would be nice if the new shiny NHS was to give decent wheelchairs. I got a new one in the summer and its a design disaster, cheaply build and already falling apart

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    • 2. At 11:31am on 18 Mar 2011, Mummy Penguin wrote:

      What about some properly integrated services for those of us with chronic problems? One of the things that drives me nuts is the constantly being referred on which can sometimes seem like a continuous loop.

      For example, a single place to get one's mobility assessed, blue badge, freedom pass issued, then guidance on a suitable chair, scooter, car to meet one's needs. Yes there's a shed load of information on the Internet but it can often confuse more than it helps.

      When funds are limited, I'd like to see more collaboration between the medical teams, the community teams and the equipment suppliers. All of them, of course, putting the disabled person at the heart of what they do. Funny I seem to recall seeing that phrase in a number of strategy documents. Not sure if I will survive long enough to see it in reality.

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    • 3. At 2:14pm on 18 Mar 2011, cazinatutu wrote:

      "... no more sticky plastic or dubiously-upholstered chairs for us, when I run the NHS the chronically sick and disabled will wait blissfully on velvet-covered chaise longues ... "

      sorry DB, but you've got a hope in h*ll ... the NHS management have just confiscated my comfy velour sofa in the Health Centre because the surface is not capable of being wiped clean ... the fact that the cleaners never wipe the plastic covered seating is beside the point, as is the fact that all my clients loved the velour covered sofa

      so now I'll have to look for a suitable donor for the sofa

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    • 4. At 00:49am on 20 Mar 2011, glummum wrote:

      DB, when you're in charge of the NHS will you tell them to get rid of all those horrible whitish bath aids thingys that although just new look as if someone has peed on them...

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    • 5. At 11:39am on 20 Mar 2011, Dark_Divinity wrote:

      Oh, don't forget to train them not to assume that you are making up or exaggerating what you are going through. Also not to assume anything just because a 20 minute EEG has been interepted as "normal".

      Could you do that for me Disability Bitch? There's some chocolate in it for you. Lily O'Brien and Thorntons. :D *waves chocolate in the air*

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    • 6. At 10:15am on 14 Apr 2011, julies_shrive wrote:

      If you have chronic conditions relating to a disability the target driven NHS ignores you as you are blamed for the conditions they cannot cure If you look alright & disability not recognised you are denied appropriate and urgent access . I am having to go abroad for surgery and fund my own assistance even though have a Certificate of Entitlement DLA Appeals. My Mother with severe cognitive dysfunction multi infart dementia is also fleeced of her assets .Have we a fair Government that operates like this fleecing the most vulnerable ?

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