All this week I’ve been visiting my mother, who is currently in hospital.  She is much improved from last Saturday, and since her last admission almost a year ago I can see a marked difference in how patients are treated there.

Mum was assessed in A&E and admitted to a ward within 3 hours.  When they considered sending her home the next day her doctor actually asked me if I thought she was well enough!  I said that no, she was not, as when she talked she was not making any sense.  The doctor asked me if she was usually confused, and when I replied in the negative they did more tests and scans.  All the scans were  normal, but they found Mum was suffering from a severe UTI.  Now that she has been on antibiotics the infection is more under control, but they seem reluctant to send her home until she is completely recovered.  Usually in the past patients would be sent home as quickly as possible in order to free up beds, only to be re-admitted a few days later with the same complaint.

The same 5 ladies have been sharing Mum’s bay all week long.  When I worked as a ward clerk in 2002 the bed manager would breeze round every morning and demand that more patients be sent home.  Even to my untrained eye I could tell that some of these patients would be coming back within days, and I was usually right.  It seems that at last common sense is prevailing, and sick patients are actually being kept in hospital.  Whether this applies to all the wards there and to other NHS hospitals I don’t know, but certainly on Mum’s ward the ladies there are being treated very well.  Nurses seem harassed and overworked so nothing new there, but they do apologise to the patients for keeping them waiting so long for a wash.

Mum’s doctor takes much time to explain her condition instead of brushing me off with a few quick comments.  Staff are mindful to prevent bedsores, and I really cannot complain about an NHS that has taken so much flak recently.  The only problem Mum has is with the other patients whom she doesn’t seem to get along with, but that’s her problem and not anything to do with the NHS.

All in all, ten out of ten for our good old NHS, and it’s all free.  Let’s hope that it’s still there in years to come.