Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Back at home

My first entry since the Thursday before last, I think, a whole 19 days, spent in King's College Hospital, and then in 'King's at Lewisham', two wards rented by King's for patients being rehabilitated after an operation, or being held between operations. I'm still fairly immobile, getting round with the help of crutches, and having to do exercises that will bring the leg muscles back into full use. The doctors say that will take 4-6 weeks. Lindsay has been absolutely marvellous, trundling all the way to Lewisham every day, fetching me home yesterday and looking after me now I'm confined to the first floor - though I can manage the stairs with some difficulty. The bath is still a problem, and for the time being I can only sleep on my back, which makes me snore, unfortunately for poor Lindsay. She's threatening to sleep upstairs in JW's room.

There's a huge and growing file of Parliamentary correspondence, because I can only spend a limited time sitting at the computer. But I'm sure my strength will grow every day until I'm back to normal in a few weeks.

Whenever I spend any time in hospitals it always strikes me that a high proportion of their patients are there because of damage they have inflicted on themselves with tobacco, alcohol or obesity. The staff say they do what they can, but obviously they haven't the time or the skills needed to get patients off these habits. I do wonder if it would be cost-effective to employ social workers, as they do in St Mary's Paddington for patients whose alcohol consumption is a contributory factor, but covering all the bad habits leading to unnecessary burdens on the NHS.

Surely the tax system should also be used to the maximum effect possible, to reduce consumption of disease-causing substances. The University of Sheffield has demonstrated convincingly that a 10% hike in the cost of alcohol would produce substantial health benefits, and similar effects would no doubt be achieved if fast foods were made more expensive.

No comments: