The cuts are causing me agony
People who get to the top of big organisations are generally mobbed by phalanxes of toadies and flappers – sorry, special advisors, assistants and press officers. What they do is insulate their bosses from the consequences of the decisions they make.
This means that those bosses often don’t get to see when what happens on the ground is the exact opposite of their intent. Either that, or they are aided and abetted in willfully in casting a blind eye over the consequences of their actions.
Which brings us to those cuts, currently causing pain to all sorts of people. In my case that isn’t a metaphor. They’re literally causing me pain. Agony in fact.
Let me explain. Even before the advent of drug resistant MRSA and other scarier things there have always been certain problems you pick up just from being in hospital.
One of those is that if you spend a long time lying flat on your back your feet swell up like balloons. That happened to me, and there were two consequences: firstly it was damnably difficult to find footwear that they’d squeeze into. For a long time the only things I could wear were an awful pair of black Kappas with velcro rather than laces.
The other problem was medical: my toe-nails are trying to pop the balloons. Swollen feet make you prone to ingrowing toe nails, which can get extraordinarily painful if left untreated. And believe me, I know a thing or two about pain.
But if you pick a problem like this up early enough, it shouldn’t be a problem, right? Which brings us to those cuts.
Now I don’t disagree that long term you can’t just keep running a budget deficit like Britain’s. But the problem is that in dealing with it what chancellor George Osborne, and his Chief Secretary Danny Alexander, have done is allocate budgets leaving it to others to deal with the impact on the organisations their Government runs.
All too often the people handling the cuts on the ground are people who should actually become victims of them. But turkeys don’t vote for Christmas. So my local chiropody service is now chronically short of frontline medical staff (I’d be willing to bet there are still plenty of administrators and finance people).
During the first visit after my release from hospital, one of the chiropodists said that things looked ok but that I would need a follow up appointment in September to ensure that was still the case.
However, when September came around we were informed that there was nothing available until November. Various telephone calls pleading “emergency” as my foot, which had been reducing in size, started to swell up, then became full of pus (sorry to be so graphic but this is kind of the point) then started to bleed, failed to change this.
Vacancies have not been filled and the service is, as a result, understaffed.
When we were finally seen the chiropodist looked at my poor foot with horror and told me that I had developed an infected ingrowing toenail that needed immediate work, weekly follow ups and a full spectrum (expensive) course of antibiotics.
Had an appointment been available earlier the problem could have been immediately picked up and fixed without the need any follow up at all nor any drugs nor any (personal) discomfort.
But it gets worse. While my foot has been treated, the necessary follow up on the treatment has also been delayed. Only by a couple of days but again this means that if the painful poking, clipping and filing hasn’t worked and things are still unpleasant down there that’ll be a couple of extra days for the problem to get worse.
You can see where this is leading. Surgery is an option here. And that’s really, really expensive.
Allow this sort of thing to happen to three or four people and you are looking at a cost of thousands of pounds. Before too long, the cost could easily mushroom to far more than it would cost to fill those vacancies on time.
I expect it won’t be hard to find similar sorts of stories all over the health services: conditions which could be treated quickly, cheaply and painlessly if picked up early being left until they turn into something nasty and expensive.
I very much doubt Messrs Osborne and Alexander read this blog. And even if it is drawn to the attention of one of their flappers I doubt they will pass it on.
So I doubt that it registers with them that, in addition to the financial cost, cuts implemented with such stupidity have an enormous human cost.Tagged in: budget cuts, rehabilitation, road traffic accident, RTA
Recent Posts on Health
- Christian GPs and the morning after pill: Much needed clarification
- Justin Webb on the medical advances in tackling heart disease
- Dementia Awareness Week: Should we keep an open mind to spiritual solutions?
- Hearing loss: An invisible impairment and a preventable disability
- Secondary Breast Cancer: Good news but feeling blue
Latest from Independent journalists on Twitter