I have recently watched a couple of episodes of the BBC’s “Diagnosis Detectives”. It is a fascinating insight and one is left desperately wanting the doctors to find the breakthrough that may transform the lives of patients who have previously met with diagnostic serial dead ends.
It was harrowing to see a former US Serviceman with the most dreadful physically and mentally debilitating skin condition. The diagnosis meant his condition could be contained. It also implied that with regular earlier medical intervention it need never have got into that serious state. The gentleman had not realised he was entitled to use the NHS.
It was a vivid reminder of how essential it is to us as a nation that we always retain that access to medical care for all, paid for by taxation and free at the point of delivery.
When the NHS was founded it was nearly overwhelmed in its first few years - all the numbers had been based on people continuing to seek care as they had in the past. Free medical care revealed a huge backlog in untreated conditions - illnesses that people had had to put up with for years were finally being treated.
It remains, a real worry with Covid - especially given the current rise in cases - that patients needing support will not come forward. We need to ensure that our relatives and friends do seek the advice they need.
We also need to ensure that where the NHS has developed new and effective ways of working that focusses doctors’ time and improves treatment that lessons are learned for the future.
Last Thursday, the new NHS 111 Clinical Assessment Service went live for Kent, Medway and Sussex. This means that GPs, paramedics, nurses, mental health professionals, dental nurses and pharmacists will be available to assess patients’ symptoms over the phone, issue prescriptions directly or book patients into onward appointments if they require one with urgent care services.
As part of the NHS 111 Clinical Assessment Service, patients will also (if it is required) be able to speak to mental health professionals.
This should help provide more immediate patient access especially to those who don’t need a face to face meeting - giving more time and a better patient experience to those that do.
The NHS is reflecting changes across society in which we are more open to going online or speaking on the telephone.
Last week I visited Nature’s Nurture Nursery near Barns Green, who are creating a new mental health and well-being app. The app, which will be free to users, will cover a number of mental health and well-being concerns, such as anxiety and difficulty sleeping, as well as providing targeted support from experts.
The app is set to launch at the beginning of November and I very much hope it will greatly support those wishing to improve their mental well-being.
Photo Credit: Given the current pressures on businesses Jeremy Quin was delighted at the weekend to visit a new arrival - Johansson’s Cafe opened last week in Horsham’s Bishopric.