Good news; I was discharged from hospital yesterday morning to complete my recovery and rehabilitation at home.
My admission to hospital has reminded me what a great institution the NHS really is. All I want to say is that the NHS care I received was exceptional; very professional and full of deep caring and empathy. The staff on the trauma, orthopaedic and neurosurgery units at King’s College Hospital are truly exceptional. Thank you so much.
During my admission, some of the medics made excuses for some of the delays we encountered in the investigations and care I received during my stay. Interestingly, I didn’t really notice these delays, nor did I complain, nor did I comment on any of the issues that made excuses about; it was if they felt compelled to make excuses for the NHS inefficiencies because I was a Professor of Neurology. I simply responded that this was not a problem. What I should have pointed out to these commentators that whilst I was in hospital there was not a day when there wasn’t a shortage of nurses on the wards. In addition, many of the medical team were off due to COVID-19; either infected with the coronavirus or self-isolating due to being in contact with someone with COVID-19. People don’t realise that when it comes to value the NHS is the best healthcare system in the world. Being the best value healthcare system doesn’t mean we should accept the status quo, but rather we have a fantastic healthcare system, i.e. a platform on which to build excellence.
For readers who don’t live in the UK, when I was discharged yesterday, with medication for 2-weeks and a clear follow-up and rehabilitation programme, I didn’t have to pay for a single thing. Yes care under the NHS is truly free at point-of-care.
Healthcare in the UK, similar to other European countries, is considered a basic human need and therefore everyone should have equal access to care. This does not equate to socialism as such, which is a rather overused term. It simply means that we the citizens of the UK feel that everybody, regardless of their background, should have access to healthcare if they need it. I am a true believer in the concept of universal healthcare. Saying this there is still wide variation in the NHS in relation to access to treatments and services. This is why we started the MS Academy’s “Raising the Bar” or “RtB” initiative three years ago to tackle variance in the provision of MS Services in the UK.
Whilst in hospital I watched the last two days of our RtB 2020 meeting and it made me realise that the RtB initiative now has momentum that will truly improve MS services for pwMS in the UK. If you haven’t seen the three RtB presentations I would urge you to watch and to join us and to get involved. We also had a few international HCPs sign-up for the 2020 RtB meeting, which is good news. Why shouldn’t this become an international initiative?
As you can see I am back typing albeit very slowly in a drug-induced fog. I am only able to do this lying on my back using a pair of periscope glasses that I purchased for this purpose. As a result of my nerve and neck pain, I have to spend the majority of my day lying flat on my back in a neck brace. I am unable to bend my neck as it causes too much pain.
In addition, my fractured pelvis, which has been fixed (see below), is still very painful when I sit or walk. So I am resigned to a long slow recovery and hence I am unlikely to back to normal or work for several months.
I am thinking of setting myself another challenge to raise money for this initiative. At the moment I am EDSS 6.5; I can walk maybe 20 metres using crutches. Will you sponsor me to become EDSS 4.0 in 4 weeks time, i.e. to walk 500 m without crutches or support? I am prepared to do this if you will support me as it is critical that we get the first phase of this study done before the coronavirus vaccine arrives. What do you think?
P.S. I have set-up a Just Giving page called “Prof G’s EDSS 6.5 to 4.0 Challenge“; all of the money will go to Queen Mary University of London to support Dr Ruth Dobson’s and Dr Angray Kang’s COVID-19 MS Antibody study. Thank you.