Sunday, 9 January 2011

The national diagnostic and illness service

Some of you will know that I started this journey back at the start of September when I first visited a GP who succeeded in "putting the wind up me" - with justification as is now apparent. It took nearly three months of investigation before I received a diagnosis. During that time what surprised me was that no-one was really interested in how I felt nor what my symptoms were. In fact the long-standing cough which I'd acquired through a series of bad colds during the year cleared up to such an extent that I was totally convinced I was recovering from whatever it was on my own account.

Each of the two bronchoscopies (where an endoscope is put down the windpipe enabling pictures and lung tissue to be obtained) set this recovery back. They managed to rough up my bronchial tubes a fair bit. But overall I recovered considerably - not that anyone was interested. The diagnostic stage was all about scans and biopsies; there was no consideration of my overall wellbeing. There is a similar disinterest during this current stage while I'm being treated.

Don't get me wrong, I have no complaints (oh, well just a couple maybe). I just feel it could be so much better if the elements of diagnosis and drug treatment were just parts of a holistic approach which considered the entire body's welfare including metal attitude, diet, activities, etc. I get the feeling that the charity-funded Macmillan posts exist to try and bridge that gap. In my experience so far, it's not working that well.

It's a culture thing. I'm sure the current nature of the NHS is born of the new technology and the advances in pharmaceutical therapies which put machines and chemistry first. But wouldn't it be wonderful if that culture could change, could become more touchy, feeling, caring and personalised. Would it result in happier patients and better outcomes?  I suspect it would.

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