NHS Cuts, Disability Benefits & Me

 

A drastic change in my health around ten years ago sent me spiralling along a path of limited mobility and chronic pain. Raw and reeling, my mental health plummeted and subsequently I plunged into clinical depression. It was a dark time which left me feeling unable to care for myself, or my three children.

My local hospital didn’t know how best to help me and so came a frustrating and emotionally draining year of researching treatments that might help me (I found one) and then trying to get my local authority to fund it as it was outside of my local town (eventually they did).

For around the past eight years, every now and then,  I’ve undergone this quick, simple but life-changing procedure and I am so thankful for the NHS for the time and care I have been privileged enough to receive so far. Alongside this I have paid for my own physio (I didn’t get long on the NHS lists) and I’ve done everything I can possibly do to take responsibility for, and improve my health. Today, I can potter around the house, drive, nip into shops, go for short walks, my pain levels have drastically reduced and my quality of life has greatly improved. I feel like a real hands-on mum again. I no longer need to take daily medication which had been causing me horrendous side effects. Although I still use crutches sometimes and my wheelchair for days out, when I think back to ten years ago when I was unable to stand unaided or get myself in and out of the bath, my life is unrecognisable. For that I am very grateful.

Returning to the hospital last Thursday I was shocked and dismayed to be told, through no fault of the team, that due to NHS funding cuts the hospital would no longer be offering this treatment.

This post isn’t a self-pitying one – government cuts have affected most of us in one shape or form- but rather a way to unpick the tangle of emotions I am feeling right now.

Today, thanks to the improvements to my health I can work full-time. I don’t claim disability benefits, there isn’t enough to go around and there are people worse off than me, that I know. I am in the fortunate position where I work from home, make my own hours. I can change positions if my pain gets overwhelming, I can go for a lie-down when I’m feeling exhausted, I can even skip the odd day and stay in bed during bad flare ups. This I could not do in an office but I worry now, that without this relatively simple treatment, my mobility will likely decline again, my pain increase, my mental health suffer and the thought of losing my financial independence if I am no longer capable of working is a frightening thought indeed.

Slashing funding and impacting upon people’s health will surely cost more in long run; potentially driving people out of work, onto benefits, increasing the need for medication, pain killers, anti-depressants, the already flooded waiting lists for counselling will creak under the strain, and then of course there is the need to treat the often horrific side-effects these drugs can cause.

And this is what I am struggling to make sense of. The logic behind it all.

I really don’t know what the answer is. I don’t feel I am more entitled than anyone else. All I do know is at the moment, my world, the world, seems a scary and uncertain place.

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27 thoughts on “NHS Cuts, Disability Benefits & Me

  1. The problem is, Louise, there is no sense to it all. I have a friend who works in an advice centre who sees this kind of thing all the time, the impact of austerity measures on services, disability and sickness benefits, leaving people reeling who were just about getting by with the support they received before. It’s totally illogical, because as you say, it costs more money in the long run. What’s better for society as a whole, functioning, happy people who are able to take a full part in society, or broken, marginalised, struggling souls, hardly getting by, driven to physical and mental illness through the strains they’re under? And what does it say about our society when we can’t look after people?
    Sorry, rant over.
    I’m so sorry you’ve had your treatment cut. It must be so worrying for you. I do hope you can find an alternative that will help just as well. All the very best to you and yours, Louise

  2. I am sorry to hear this. I would say that while you’re no more entitled than anyone, I fail to see the logic that can determine that someone isn’t entitled to treatment which has proven successful. To me, that’s a stupid approach. That said, we endure those decisions by our health insurers in the states, and the results are as bad as you predict. I hope you find a way to get the care you need.

  3. I’m so sorry to hear this Louise. Thank you for sharing such an honest blog post with us. I wish I could wave a magic wand over the world sometimes amf take away everyone’s worries. Big hugs 🤗

  4. What a moving and honest piece of writing. I am so sorry you have gone through this, then come out of the dark tunnel only to feel you may slide back in it. I hope that a solution can be found for you so you don’t go back to where you were before.xx

  5. Louise I’m upset to read this but sadly not surprised. I suffer from a chronic illness which gets no funding into research and is not understood at all. It took me years to get a diagnosis resulting in my condition getting steadily worse. It breaks my heart that this happens to people. Sending you gentle hugs Louise and I hope that this cut can be avoided xxx

  6. I’m so sorry to read this, Louise. I understand the fear. With changes in healthcare here, my sister, and all the people I love who are facing Huntington’s are threatened with major cuts too. The use of “pre-existing conditions” allows insurance to penalize people who are already struggling. Sending a hug.

    Write, write, write some more!

      • It is an endless fright show–– killed my grandmother, 49 yo aunt, mother, and my sister will die of it. There’s no working out, but we are crossing our fingers that health care changes don’t kick her while she’s down. It’s just unbelievable that countries like Denmark and Canada (and others) can care for their citizens, without this bs.

        Get back to the writing. It’s your calling; your readers are waiting, and it’s a great distraction! A place to put your energy. xo

  7. Pingback: Readers/Writers – How do we all feel about ebook piracy? | fabricating fiction

  8. Oh Louise, what a terrible state of affairs, I’m so sorry to read this.
    I’ve worked in the NHS and in the Voluntary Sector for 20 years, and have seen the cuts getting deeper and deeper.
    Short term cuts will have long-term impact on everyone, but unfortunately the politicians who make the decisions today will no longer be in power when the mess is so big that nothing more can be done.
    Sending you lots of love

    Anne x

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