“The NHS 'can't cope' with multi-disease patients” – such was the
headline of a Page in the Health Section of the BBC website on 11 May 2012
I began to be diagnosed with multiple conditions, in very quick succession
between 2015 and 2016 and can confirm the NHS is still unable to cope –
not just in terms of numbers, but because it has no philosophy for dealing
with multiple morbidity and staff are not trained in this emerging field.
Patents are more likely to be dismissed, not-believed, mis-diagnosed, and
suffer under a reductionist system when what they needs is a holistic
approach, because their varying conditions are likely to be connected.
The article said, “The health system in the UK cannot cope with the rising
number of under-65s with long-term medical conditions and needs "radical
change", says a study in The Lancet. It cannot cope either with those OVER
65. So often all I heard when I presented with my increasingly many conditions
was, “You are old, get used to it. This condition is down to old age.” What utter tripe.
And I was 67 for goodness sake. That, today, is not old. Health service – wake up!
A team of researchers analysing 1.75 million people in Scotland found that nearly a quarter had two or more chronic diseases. I have seventeen! All but diabetes and depression emerged one after the other from 2015. And many I am convinced because each time I would report the latest condition, simply went ignored or dismissed. The NHS simply cannot cope and in the case of certain GPs, refused to cope. The medical model is dysfunctional and in need of treating and curing.
CFS -Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Diabetes Type 2
Erectile dysfunction – caused I am convinced by anti-depressant medication
Mental health problems
Nasal turbinate problems
Weight gain – unexamined because no one in the NHS would help me explore it
The Lancet report continued, “Their care was often co-ordinated poorly and inefficient.” It advocated a more personal approach to patients with complex problems.
But there are no signs this will happen any day soon.
At present, the current medical model is one of specialisation, of focussing on symptom not causes, of focus on individual diseases .Medical research and the education of medical students (doctors, nurses etc) are dominated by a focus on individual diseases, on reductionism on radiography, chemotherapy, and surgery ...a very limited paradigm. Doctors are not trained in nutrition yet so many health conditions emerge due to poor nutrition. If we want to inform ourselves and take eg vitamin and nutritional supplements, we are always advised to speak to a doctor first. What nonsense. WHY when they are given no more than two hours training over their five years? We must stop expecting doctors to do that for which they are not trained!
The care of those with multiple conditions is fragmented because we have to see a number of different specialists. In 2016, I would frequently have to drive the 40 miles to my NHS main hospital, several times a week, for appointments which would last no more than five minutes, and often would be cancelled. The NHS needs to gear its services to best maximise its time AND that of the patient, If New Zealand, in Christchurch, can do it, why can we not? Simply because there is no political will and those at the head of the NHS, the CEOs, and Chairs, cannot be bothered.
Rising numbers of people are living with more than two long-term disorders, called "multiple-morbidity."’ In one patient alone this could include arthritis, cancer, depression, coronary heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. The NHS must have a more joined up way of dealing with a patient suffering from multiple conditions. Ten minute consultations per topic does not cut the mustard.
So we as patients must start advocating for better services for people with multiple morbidity.
And that also includes more than just surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. We need to introduce to the health services, more from what is currently known as the non-conventional, the complimentary, the functional, the integrative.
THE NHS SIMPLY IS NOT FIT FOR PURPOSE AND NEEDS TO CHANGE ITS MODEL
And we must stop putting up with mediocrity from a service which costs the country greatly. Why are we ploughing all our money into a system that is not fit for purpoer?