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Working in the NHS

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      21.08.2013 23:33
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      NHS - On the whole its a good place to work

      Having worked for the NHS in nursing since 1992 I have a good insight into the many roles. This is a brief over view of the working conditions of ward nurses in my opinion

      Having started as a student nurse (training is 3 years) doing agency work as a nursing auxiliary - B grade to pay the mortgage, through to newly qualified D grade nurse, getting promotion to an E grade then become a senior staff nurse or F grade then achieving Sister as a G grade. The terminology has changed with the implementation of Agenda for change, so its now Banded as 5, 6 and 7. We get paid on a very clear pay scale, after each year the pay goes up an increment until you reach the top of your scale. The top of one scale overlaps the other, however if you reach the top before gaining promotion, you go straight across to the same pay point. An example of the pay scale;

      Band 2 (nursing auxiliary)
      Point 1 14,294
      Point 2 14,653
      Point 3 15,013
      Point 4 15,432
      Point 5 15,851
      Point 6 16,271
      Point 7 16,811
      Point 8 17,425


      Band 5 (staff nurse)
      Point 16 21,388
      Point 17 22,016
      Point 18 22,903
      Point 19 23,825
      Point 20 24,799
      Point 21 25,783
      Point 22 26,822
      Point 23 27,901

      Band 6 (deputy ward sister)
      Point 21 25,783
      Point 22 26,822
      Point 23 27,901
      Point 24 28,755
      Point 25 29,759
      Point 26 30,764
      Point 27 31,768
      Point 28 32,898
      Point 29 34,530

      Band 7 (ward sister)
      Point 26 30,764
      Point 27 31,768
      Point 28 32,898
      Point 29 34,530
      Point 30 35,536
      Point 31 36,666
      Point 32 37,921
      Point 33 39,239
      Point 34 40,558

      Obviously we work 24/7 and weekend, nights and bank holidays we receive an additional payment for "unsocial hours". A night worker can substantially increase their wage due to this. We get paid monthly and all unsocial hours are paid the month after you have worked them.

      We get full sick pay up to 6 months however sickness is monitored closely and policies are in place to stop abuse of this.

      Most wards now work on "long shifts" starting at 7am until 7.30pm with the nights 7pm till 7.30am. Due to these hours it equates to roughly 13 shifts in 4 weeks. These shifts are really helpful in relation to childcare as well as many staff doing extra or agency shifts on their days off as fairly common practice. Bank holiday pay is paid at the same rate as a sunday so Christmas day is the same as a sunday in pay. Our rota is a 4 week duty, which within my trust has clear guidance about how much off duty is available to staff being at least 6 weeks in advance (this may vary trust to trust) and my trust operates a 4 requests for wte (full time) staff per 4 week duty, reducing pro rata based on hours worked. A request is just that and can not be guaranteed as staff are expected to be available 24/7. Most areas are more generous in relation to Christmas period, but al shifts need covering and so staff must do their share of festive shifts.

      As an NHS worker we have the NHS pension. We opt out rather than opt in and I don't know anyone who has opted out. Retiring is obviously affected by length of service and last 2 years of pay.

      Annual leave is inclusive of bank holidays and equates to between 7 and 8 weeks dependent on length of service (broken into less than 5 years, 5-10 years and 10 years +)

      Uniforms are provided and a tax rebate can be obtained for laundry, shoes and tights and professional registration fees.

      Parking on site is available but in hospitals with limited parking will operate staff permit systems, my trust will generally refuse permits to staff who live within 1 bus ride. Parking is pro rata and I pay approx. £27 a month.

      Training varies between hospitals, fortunately my trust has a very positive attitude to LBR (learning beyond registration) and funds degree modules and Masters, as well as mandatory training. I am currently doing my masters (final module) and have only contributed £250 but have done the majority in my own time.

      The work is challenging and hard at times, however for most staff, they enjoy the fast pace and the belief they make a difference. Often staff stay late and go without breaks more often than not despite working 12 hour shifts, come in at the last minute to cover colleagues sickness and have days that break your heart but we keep coming back for more as we love our jobs and wouldn't trade it.

      There are issues with the NHS (clearly) and the pressures the staff work under can be immense however the team work is excellent.

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        24.05.2013 16:14

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        Working for the NHS will make you ill!

        I've worked for the NHS for 23 years and 3 years in the private sector as an occupational Health Nurse.
        The NHS
        - Does not care
        - Does not recognize good work
        - Are not aware that shift work, stress and poor management will damage an individual's health, or are, but choose to do nothing about it
        - Will sack anyone who speaks the truth
        - have complete idiots in management who do not care
        - will happily blame the carers for everything, when they are the only ones working beyond their capabilities
        - give more and more jobs to carers, preventing them from being able to do their job properly
        - is the reason carers cannot care anymore, most are burnt out or chronically ill due to their work
        - causes depression in their workforce
        - prevents basic rights of their workforce like eating and drinking
        - uses toxins in unventilated environments increasing cancer rates in carers
        - does everything it can to make a stressful job more stressful;
        - unable to park
        - unable to drink when thirsty
        - unable to eat when hungry
        - electronic off duty, totally inadequate for mothers with small children
        - unable to take efficient breaks
        - no support if the job is too stressful
        - no extra pay for a better job done or expertise
        - no tools to do the job - pens, calculators, WATER, shoes
        - no flexibility
        - only critises and never compliments or supports
        - allows the real uncaring people to get into management posts, after all carers won't, because they are carers!! And you have to be really uncaring to be a manager in the NHS
        - gives nothing for doing a good job, I know bonus' are not possible, but leaving 10minutes early if it's quiet especially when we've worked so hard the day before and the week before
        - does not recognize that caring for sick people will make you sick
        - gives the police free prescriptions, but not nurses
        - totally messes up your social life and your sleep wake pattern
        - will be prescribing anti-depressants to most nurses in the future as dealing with death does affect them psychologically
        - relies on carers, for their caring attitudes even when they treat them like slaves

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        18.01.2011 19:25
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        As most of you on here know i am a staff nurse in a busy teaching hospital in Oxford. I have heard lots of gripes regarding the NHS in general and the general lack of care from the staff who are employed by various NHS trusts throughout the UK. I have to say for the most part i tend to disagree with the majority of the statements that i have read either in the press or heard on the television. I think that when you are working on the frontline your perspective changes and i hope after reading this i may influence others to take a fresh look at the staff who work in the various departments within the NHS in a new light particularly from a nurses perspective.

        Ok i dont disagree that there are some bad apples within the organisation however this is so for any company which employs literally thousands of people however rest assured they tend to be found out for who and what they are and brought into line, performance managed or dismissed. I personally have some wonderful friends and colleagues who i have met through out my working life within the NHS and most of them including myself have gone way above the call of duty to ensure that the patients within their care recieve the best treatwent that can possibly be given. Most of us dont sign up to be paid a fortune we do it because we are generally interested in the work and wish to care for the patients who are charged to our care.

        I recently sustained an injury at work and had to go to the accident and emergency department on a busy Saturday night. Although i was fast-tracked through the system the whole process from start to finish took over five hours. From initially being triaged to x-rayed and being seen by a doctor. I must admit it was very strange being on the other side of the patient care system. Initially the time i had to wait was extremely annoying until i became aware as to why this was the case. I have to say i was quite appauled by what i was seeing while i sat in the reception area waiting to be seen. Literally one drunk after another passed through the doors. Falling all over the place with blood pouring from their faces. It got busier and busier as pub-chucking out-time curfew came and went. There were people fighting, vomiting all over the place, passing out. Crying at and verbally and physically abusing the nursing staff. While all of this was going on there were a few patients like myself with genuine injuries not caused through over-indulgence having to wait while the over-worked staff on the department tried to see everyone as quickly as possible and deal with the torrent of abuse from members of the drunken general public. The whole episode was an utter disgrace and i have to say i felt extremely shocked. Is this the reason why the NHS cant afford to spend money in other departments because of the wreckage of a one night drinking binge!!. Bear in mind this was just in the minor injuries clinic of one A and E department and this would have been replicated hundreds of times around the country in similar NHS establishments. I spoke to the ward sister who i have to say was a wonderful woman and who quite literally had the patience of a saint particularly as she said that some of the patients are there virtually every weekend!!. Hats off to her and her staff who were extremely thin on the ground. Cheers government for cutting the staffing levels in our NHS departments and you wonder why the staff experience stress and burn-out when there are not enough of us to go around to get the job done with limited resources.

        Although the above example is an extreme one the reality is that Limited resources is something else that has to be dealt with on a daily basis. Ancient equipment often being used because the funding keeps getting cut and cut and ward budgets unfortunately only being able to afford the absolute bare essentials to get by. We quite often run out of razors and shaving gel and other toiletries on our ward which really is not acceptable as it is a basic right for patients to be able to maintain a high level of personal hygiene. I myself have taken deodorant out of my own locker and given it to a patient to ensure that they were fresh and comfortable. Stock is often poor as budget restraints often mean that the supply chain has to source much cheaper products which in my opinion are often not fit for purpose. We have sheets with stains and holes in them. Essential life-monitoring equipment which breaks down frequently and the worst part in my opinion is a lack of trained staff present on the wards. I appreciate that money needs to be saved however removing frontline staff can only lead to further problems. Patients are not being treated quickly, often being left and not washed until after lunchtime. There arent enough staff to ensure that the weak and infirm are fed properly or have pressure areas treated and that the patients are frequently turned.

        Nurses often work twelve and a half hour shifts as i do however we often say that there are just not enough hours in a shift to be able to perform all the tasks that we are charged with. I have heard lots of patients say that they hardly ever see a nurse on a daily basis however at the same time they also know how busy we all are. Unfortunately this does happen in that we priotitise care needs and the sicker you are the more care you actually recieve!! This is not how we nurses want to conduct ourselves however with fewer of us on the wards these days it is an unfortunate fact of the NHS hospital ward and is certainly not the way patient care should be in an ideal world. Still however through it all most of us laugh and smile and still have the time to be able to pass the time of day with our patients. I for one would not wish to have chosen a different career path i absolutely love my job and would not change it for the world. I am fortunate that were i work i get to know patients and their families really well because of the nature of their illnesses they come back to us time and time again. Perhaps one day things will change for the better in that we can recieve a bottomless pit of money enabling our services to be 5 star unfortunately nurses today just make-do the system as we know it sees to that. Our team is fabulous and we all care for and look out for each other with support from colleagues and other members of the wider multi-disciplinary team.

        For all those people that point the finger at nurses for providing poor patient care hopefully they will have a rethink because most of us genuinely are into the art of looking after our patients in a professional compassionate and caring manner and are deeply dissapointed when there are cases highlighted in the media of a select few who let our profession down and it really should not reflect badly on the rest of the nursing community as a whole. I would be the first to admit that none of us are perfect however we are only human at the end of the day and yes i will admit it we do have our off days like everyone else!!!. However i am blessed in a way that in my job there is always something that i do however small or seemingly insignificant on a daily basis which provides a patient with some form of comfort and i know that i have made a difference and the satisfaction gained from that feeling is second to none. In a nutshell we dont live in a perfect world however we make do with the tools that we have and i wouldnt swap my job for all the tea in china. Just a thought wouldnt it be fair to make serial accident prone drinkers pay for their treatment and the money be distributed where it is really needed!! Thanks for reading.

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          14.09.2010 15:48
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          think carefully before committing

          I thought I'd give everyone a treat with my bad experience of working for the NHS. First I'd like to say that I only worked for the NHS for 4 months and the main issues I had were to do with travelling (my issue) and the people that worked in my team, which was very small.

          After I graduated in microbiology, I had a difficult time trying to find a relevant job. I decided to apply to posts in the NHS.

          The application process was simple, if lengthy. I have had quite a few interviews for NHS lab based roles and they have all been quite similar - fill in an NHS application form (which can be downloaded on the same website where all NHS Scotland vacancies are posted - www.jobs.scot.nhs.uk. I think there's another site for vacancies in other regions), wait a couple of months for an interview letter, then attend an interview with a panel of 2-5 people. Most interviews have had a similar format - the panel introduce themselves, ask a few questions to make you feel comfortable, tell you a bit about themselves and the department, and ask you about your strengths, your expectations of the job and why you think you could do the role, then sometimes a tour. Most of the time, the panel have been very nice, but a couple of times, people have sniped about their colleagues to me!

          Anyways, in the interview I was successful in, all of the above process happened. Afterwards, I was introduced to one of the lab workers - who said 'I'm sorry - very busy right now - can't shake your hand' in a bit of an uppity way - I should have taken this as an indication of what kind of person she was! The guy who also worked there then gave me a tour of the labs - he was very open and friendly. The staff consisted of the director of the hospital, my boss, my supervisor, a colleague with the same job as me, and a lab assistant who worked in a different lab from the above 3.

          The day after the interview, I received a phone call from HR to say I had been successful, and later in the day, a phone call from my boss.
          My boss was very accommodating about my start date - it was my sister's wedding so I had asked to postpone my start date for a week and a day and she was fine with that.

          When I started however, my boss was off for 2 weeks as it was her wedding and honeymoon, and there was a lot of extra samples in so I was left to read journals and protocols for most of that time - I did get to observe a couple of times. When I did start getting training, my supervisor was very intimidating, and I was told to practise screwing and unscrewing lids with one hand, and pipetting water into tubes as my 'manual dexterity abilities were lower than expected' - this is what I was told in my first evaluation meeting for the probationary period (which was 3 months - there was a meeting every month).

          Over the course of the probationary period, my supervisor began to be more intimidating and patronising, and as this happened, I became more nervous and exhausted. This was partly because the journey to and from work took me about 2 and a half hours - a bus to the train station, a train to the city centre and a bus to the hospital, then a 10 minute walk to the building. Work unofficially started at 8.45 as all the surfaces had to be cleaned before any procedures could take place in the lab.

          A couple of small examples of the kind of things my supervisor said.
          Supervisor; 'we'll probably have a break in about 10 minutes'
          Me, a couple of minutes later 'did you say 10 minutes?'
          Supervisor 'look, it wasn't a statement. All I wanted was a rough guestimate of whether you'd be ready in that time - do you think you can do that?'
          I was also told on several occasions that a person on the street should know certain things, that they were 'just common sense'.
          On one occasion, I was microwaving something for 10 seconds - my supervisor came in and said it sounded like I had been microwaving it every 5 seconds, and I said that I hadn't. She then came back and watched me for a while and said that I might not want to stick my hand in the microwave until after all the beeps had finished, as that is when the microwaves stop. She then asked 'did you not know that? And looked at me in disbelief. Of course I now know that microwaves stop when the door is opened!
          I was also told to do all the cleaning jobs as I wasn't capable of doing the procedures properly.

          After several incidents, I decided to talk to my supervisor privately. I said something like 'Look, I'm sorry if I've been a bit slow to pick up on certain things - I know that must be frustrating for you, but I think that sometimes comes across as intimidating'

          After this, my supervisor said that whatever I had said to her, she would tell the boss. My boss then talked to me and said that whatever I said to her would be relayed back to my supervisor (outside work, they were good friends too). My supervisor refused to train me the day after this happened and thereafter. The boss then had to try and train me, and found this difficult due to her time constraints.

          The probation period was extended to 4months as my boss thought this might help. HR were involved and I was asked if I had been supported properly.

          After approximately 4 months, I decided to hand in my notice, as I was a physical and emotional wreck. My boss accepted my request to use my remaining holidays for the notice period, and said she believed I had made the right decision.

          I had a very bad experience during my time working in the NHS. I felt bullied and ganged up on, and wasn't supported very well during training. I think this was due to the people who worked there, as I have never had any issues like this in employment before or since. I think the time pressure and strain of working in an environment where any small mistake could lead to people being ill does not bring out the best in people either! After my experience, I realised that working in an NHS lab was not something I'd want to do in the future, even though the pay, pension and holiday scheme is quite good (28 days plus 7 public holidays I think). From talking to other people who have or do work in NHS labs, I think you have to be a certain type of person - you have to really care about small details - a squinty label etc can cause an uproar! You have to accept that certain people need to feel very important, and you have to be emotionally strong - as there is a lot of stress. Most people have said that there is a certain amount of bullying that goes on. I think in my case, this was especially bad as the department I worked in was very small, so any dissent caused the staff to gang up to save their own skins.
          My advice to people thinking of working in the NHS (or any other job!) would be to apply and go for the interview, and really try to gauge the people and environment to see whether you would fit in there.

          If there's any important information you think I've missed out, please let me know!

          Thanks for taking the time to read this.

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            26.02.2010 20:45
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            GEt a job at http://www.jobs.nhs.uk/

            I thought i would write a review about working for the NHS

            I am in my late 30's and have worked for local authorities, housing associations, private companies, voluntary sector and now NHS

            If you want a job with the NHs the best place to start is NHS jobs webite (http://www.jobs.nhs.uk/)

            There are vacancies for a variety of disciplines and you dont need to be trained clinical staff to land yourself a decent job.

            I have to admit when I first applied to join the NHS i was terified of the interview process as I thought it would be tough.
            My interview was in front of a panel of 3 staff members and they asked me 10 questions pertaining to the role. As I was in a similar role I didnt find the questions too challenging. They always seem to ask about Equality and Diversity, Patient care or care planning and like to throw in a scenario or two.

            the whole recruitement process is lengthy. The jobs are advertised on the site either with a fixed closing date of approximately 3 weeks or until they have received enough applications for the role.

            Then you have to wait a couple of weeks for an invitation to the interview usually via the website where you accept or decline at the press of a button. All the details date , time , location will be present in the invitation.

            Following your interview be prepared to wait a few days before you receive a phonecall. Usually because of the volume of applicants they interview over a couple of days.

            If you are successful great! You then wait for a provisional offer with CRB application and wait again for this to come back.
            Then you will receive a confirmed offer and have to negotiate a start date.

            To give you an example I applied in early July and started in November! So you can see its not a speedy process.

            The conditions are good working for the NHS, the pay is good, holidays start at 27 days plus bank holidays. They have flexible working where you can purchase extra annual leave or reduce your working day or working week. There is a pension if you are worried about the future.

            Although not a job for life now with trusts and tendering for contracts unfortunately but whilst it lasts its great!

            The only downside I would say is the beurocratic red tape when trying to do anything. Heaven forbid you fill in your mileage claim on an old form (where one word has been changed!) You will never get it! until you submit it on the CORRECT form!

            But if you can handle that you are ok!

            I love working for the NHS, they are heavily into staff development and are regularly sending me on conferences and training. My next one is 3 days in Glasgow! Fun and personal develoment all in one! Good for happy knowledgable staff and patients in good hands.

            Get on now and have a look for a job that suits you!
            http://www.jobs.nhs.uk/

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              28.09.2009 16:53
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              My view of working for our NHS

              As this is supposed to be about NHS employment and not about anything political or any personal experiences with usign the NHS, I will try and stick to purely looking at being employed with the NHS.

              I have worked for the NHS for four years (I'm on a day off before anyone asks!) and have had quite a few interviews with various NHS employers. I have worked for a primary care trust, an acute hospital and mental health trust.

              I have always really enjoyed working for the NHS, although it can be very frustrating and often quite upsetting. It's never boring, there's always something happening and it's rewarding. It has been seen as quite a stable employment recently but this could change with budget cuts. There are loads of different types of NHS organisations and careers, check out the NHS employers website for those. There is also the NHS jobs website, which is useful and really good that you can save your details on the online application form. All NHS jobs are on there.

              You don't get paid as much as you would in the private sector and there's no bonuses but you do get a decent level of annual leave (27 days plus bank hols for less than five year's service), maternity leave, carer's leave and so on. It can be very stressful working in the NHS and it's not the easy ride some pople seem to think it is, but it can be great. You will also have to get used to people criticising who you work for, left, right and centre!

              Generally, the feedback from interviews is useful if you are not successful in applying.

              Like I said, I really enjoy the NHS (I dine out on my anecdotes!) but it's not for everyone.

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                11.09.2009 08:36
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                all i want to do is work! very nasty degrading experience.

                I will say right from the start that the events I'm writing about here do provoke my anger. Baring this in mind, I am making a particular effort to be completely neutral and factual. I trust that you will all draw your own conclusions. Also, this is not a reflection on the NHS as a whole as i think the standard of service generally very good indeed.
                I have been unemployed for some time because I find it difficult to track down jobs that are suitable. This is mainly because I am registered blind and need certain assistive technology in order to work effectively. There are previsions to have this put in place but many small private employers find the disruption to be unreasonable.
                "So? Work for the big companies" I hear you say....read on!

                Recently I applied for a job as an emergency call operator with the local ambulance service. I was delighted because they had just passed their equal opps review from the job centre with flying colours and are proud holders of the two tick symbol.
                For anyone who is not familiar with the symbol, it is awarded to employers who actively encourage disabled applicants and offer great support to disabled employees. They must observe the Disability Discrimination Act which includes making reasonable adjustments. Also, they have an agreement with DWP that they will run a guaranteed interview scheme. This agreement states that an interview will always be given to a disabled applicant who meets the minimum criteria of the advertised position.
                So, hunky-dory! I had far more than the minimum criteria and relevant experience. I was pretty sure that if I could get through the door for that interview I'd stand a good chance.

                I was short listed and invited to a psychometric assessment. To be on the safe side, I telephoned the morning before just to check that they had read all the information I'd included with my application about the speech software I use and the fact that any paper based tests would have to be read to me. I'd even offered to bring my own reader. Either they hadn't read the information or hadn't decided how to handle it just yet. I was met with panic. It seems the fact that I have no vision was something they were quite unprepared for. I imagine that they simply thought they could give me a larger font size and be done. As I said, HR really should read the info applicants provide them with.
                I was told that the adjustments would be made and another date set for my assessment.

                So, do you think I got that assessment?
                What I got was a call two days later informing me that I was being cut from the recruitment process because I was clearly unable to fill the position without causing a substantial clinical risk to patients using the emergency services.
                I will just take a moment to briefly explain the software that I use. It is a screen reading program called JAWS. JAWS converts whatever is on the screen to speech, allowing me to do almost anything I wish with a computer using the keyboard rather than the mouse. Let me add that not only have I used it in a call centre environment myself, but that there are many people using it for similar things all over the world. I personally know someone who used JAWS while call handling for the police.

                Naturally, I tried to explain this to the manager of HR. I was repeatedly told that I couldn't possibly talk to a patient and use my computer at the same time and that also, I wouldn't be able to work at the speed required.
                I will resist explaining exactly how I felt about this in the interests of both decent language and neutrality. I will say though that in my experience, assessments are generally to determine if someone is suited to a position. I had no idea that in order to be assessed you must prove yourself.
                I was invited by the ambulance service to attend a meeting some three weeks later to discuss all the issues involved. I accepted readily. I had many things I wanted to say and many questions I wanted answered.
                The moment I walked into the room I knew I was wasting my time. There were five or six of them and they had clearly had a pre-meeting meeting to decide who would say what and how they would deal with me.
                They took it in turns to talk, telling me what a visual system they used, Patient safety was the most important consideration, they thought I was over qualified anyway and I should apply for more appropriate vacancies...maybe something that relied on hearing, as mine must be superb!

                After more of this drivel, which to my credit, I sat through with a straight face and in silence, I had my chance to speak. I explained that using JAWS I am able to do things that people may perceive as impossible. I used the example of PowerPoint. Having just completed my advanced ECDL, I had to do a PowerPoint module which many of you will know is just about the most visual application there is but it was doable.
                I followed this by making the point that surely, brand new operators were not connected to the live 999 switchboard right away. There must be training programs and test scenarios. If I proved suitable for the position in every other way, why could we not try some of these scenarios to find out if their concerns were founded or not?
                Finally, i asked what they felt the guaranteed interview scheme obliged them to do. They told me that it obliged them to offer an interview to any disabled applicant with the minimum criteria......unless they felt that the person was unsuited to the position because of their disability.
                I couldn't believe my ears! It reminded me strongly of Animal Farm; "all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others"

                All in all, a total waste of time. They made assumptions based on the fact that I am blind. Long before this meeting all the vacancies were filled anyway so there was no pretence that they were attempting resolution.
                They have judged me without any kind of assessment of my skills, and as said, the decision was made without even meeting me. They are in violation of both the DDA and the two tick requirements.

                My main object in writing this review is to warn other disabled applicants to be cautious, even of those who hold the two tick symbol.
                As for my own situation, I am of course taking appropriate action.

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                  21.05.2009 21:32
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                  The service provides a function for those who do not speak English and is effective

                  I have a feeling this review will strike some debate...

                  But I will continue.

                  I'm choosing an element of the NHS service to review - that's off the interpreting service that is given FREE OF CHARGE to all patients who do not have English as a first language or to those that are hard of hearing or deaf (using sign language)

                  Now, when I talk about this to people I meet and they ask me about my job (I translate freelance for the NHS), the first shouts I usually get are "outrageous, why is money being spent on translating for patients. When in Rome, do as the Romans do, or in this case, I think they are referring to language"

                  There are three sides to this I would like people to consider:

                  Those that are in the UK, English is ok, enough for them to get work (i.e. bus drivers, majority are not British born citizens) and contribute to the system. If they are working, paying taxes, but have been diagnosed with pneumoconiosis and diffuse infiltrative pulmonary diseases (which I'm sure most of us would have to look up and find out what the really does mean) and want someone to interpret that into their language. I think they are perfectly within their rights. Being ill is scary.

                  Next, you have those who seek asylum, for reasons of persecution they are here. Now, I don't believe I'm in a position to judge their circumstances and neither does the NHS, if they have been granted asylum, welcomed into the UK, there is a duty of care.

                  And yes, you have those who do take advantage, but let's face it; they come in all shapes and sizes, including the Brits themselves....

                  So it's keeping it in context.

                  But anyway, the service. It is free and I think that for that reason alone, it's brilliant. It caters for the diverse population the UK has, and the service is covered as part of the NHS budget. Professional interpreters are give the patients time, appointment details and wait for them to arrive, usually asking reception to give them a shout when they arrive if you haven't met the client before.

                  The interpretation takes place with social services, NHS appointments, PCT appointments, Speech and language therapy appointments and event dental appointments.

                  The role is to interpret for both the doctor and the patient to ensure each is clearly understood and that appropriate treatment is given.

                  Pros of the service:

                  - It is free
                  - Every patient has a right to one - some clinics get funny about booking them (as it comes out of the clinic's budget, and if they refuse, a patient can still call the service direct and get one)
                  - You translate during appointments, procedures and pretty much anything else; they have that level of support at all times.
                  - Probably reducing the likelihood of the NHS being sued (i.e. I said the left kidney hurts.... Ooops, we just took out the right one...etc!)
                  - Doesn't provide restrictions to access, probably means that ailments are treated before they become more severe and called in via an ambulance, so cost effective in that you're not treating something more potentially serious.
                  - Preventative advice...etc can be translated too - again, prevention better than treatment = cost effective.

                  Cons

                  - People are resentful about booking interpreters and therefore some clinics refuse to book it - thus actually causing more problems for doctors and patients alike to be understood
                  - Some patients, if they don't keep their appointments, don't cancel (same everywhere) but in this case, there is the added cost also that the interpreter doesn't know, so still turns up, still has to be paid.
                  - Sometimes if the clinic is cancelled or appointments rearranged, the clinic forgets to inform interpreters, excessive cost in paying the interpreter who shows up when the patient isn't there or the clinic has been cancelled...etc - the patient therefore doesn't have an interpreter at the next appointment.
                  - Doctors can get very stressed and hurry appointments as an interpreting appointment can take longer

                  The patients have the opportunity to give feedback so if you're not a good interpreter, you're found out. Each interpreter is signed up to the obvious codes of conduct, need to keep everything confidential...etc - also they try and assign the same interpreter to the patients so its not someone fresh who doesn't know the patients history - really helps, especially if you have potentially embarrassing appointments for the client such as the STI clinic.

                  In short, it is a great service, it has its flaws admittedly but it provides a high level service and assists in all areas of the NHS run more smoothly with the ease of speaking a common language either directly or via an interpreter, to save lives and get people well.

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                    21.03.2009 08:17
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                    a good hospital - don't be nervous about attending

                    All hospitals are getting bad publicity lately due to their cleaniness and hygiene standards.

                    Warrington Hospital is one of the cleanest i have ever been in and i have been in a few as a patient and visitor.

                    The staff here are lovely no matter whether you are attending one of the many day clinics or whether you are visiting a friend or relative. No matter what the time of day you are always given the same attentive care.

                    Onsite here they have different scanning machines so you are lucky that you can get treatment on the same site and not having to travel to other hospitals.

                    There is a very large shopping area at the main entrance to the hospital - a large supermarket, a very large and varied cafe area. You can get anything from your hot chocolate to a pizza or chilli and chips. Then there is also a sandwich bar.

                    Parking here is something that lets this hospital down - there is loads of it but not enough to cater for the size of the hospital - so if you do have to attend here make sure you leave in plenty of time.

                    On the whole, if you ever found yourself having to come to this hospital you could be satisfied that you would get the best treatment possible and not be nervous about attending.

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                      20.01.2009 20:42
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                      It's time to chase my dreams.

                      In the current economic climate, many people may, quite sensibly, be considering a career in a recession-proof industry. Sickness is an unfortunate fact of life and so the NHS may seem like a sensible option. The salaries may seem fair on the face of it and with the addition of a reputable pension and holiday package as well as job security, I myself thought the NHS would provide me with a rewarding and fulfilling career with plenty of opportunity to progress. Unfortunately for me, this hasn't proven to be the case.

                      When I first fell into working for the NHS, I was escaping a long string of sales jobs. Whilst I may have been successful and able to achieve sales targets, I lacked any job satisfaction and job security was something that regularly preyed on my mind. In an environment that focused on care, I foolishly hoped that targets and Key Performance Indicators would be a thing of the past. But the NHS is constantly driven by targets, particularly in Cancer Services where I work. Here, people are faceless figures that must not breach government targets. The newly appointed operations manager for the department has already publically stated that her priority is to improve the figures for the department and she is not interested in the welfare of her staff members.

                      The pressure on staff at all levels is immense and despite being relatively low on the NHS career ladder, I am already in a position where switching off from work is nigh on impossible and waking in the night to write down 'to do' lists for the following day is becoming a more and more common occurrence. It perhaps comes as little surprise that the Cancer Services department where I work has one of the highest staff turnovers in the whole trust which means the remaining staff are regularly expected to take on extra work and responsibilities. Being single and childless, it would seem I was not in a position to refuse and was threatened with disciplinary action if I did not help the team by taking on an excessive workload. For a number of months, I carried out the duties that were originally split between three full time members of staff. During this time, despite vacant positions within the department, no attempt was made to recruit new staff.

                      It didn't come as any surprise to me when I finally found myself unable to cope any more and dreading each working day. Despite speaking to my supervisor, no help was offered and whilst I did the work of three people, other colleagues booked three week holidays and were not asked to take on any additional responsibilities. And so I was signed off work by my doctor and prescribed antidepressants. Eight weeks passed, and yesterday I returned to work hoping that perhaps some changes would have been made in my absence. But once again, Cancer Services and the NHS have let me down.

                      Despite having a very practical and sensible policy regarding stress in the workplace, the guidance within this document has been ignored by my managers. Instead, my return to work interview today included comments such as 'you need to be more positive' which, correct me if I'm wrong, is perhaps not the most appropriate thing to say to someone who is clinically depressed. I was also told that my problem was the fact that I didn't have a boyfriend or family to talk to when I was upset. Thanks for the reminder although thankfully I have plenty of friends who have been very sympathetic and helpful.

                      In my experience, career progression within the NHS is not about what you know but who you know. Networking can help you to quickly gain a managerial position, regardless of whether you have any people skills or any supervisory experience. I've also come across many workers who simply don't pull their weight but delegation is the key and can earn high praise indeed.

                      There are of course people who enjoy their jobs within the NHS and are fortunate enough to work in a well managed and supportive department. But in my job, I work closely with a wide range of staff across the hospital and within primary care and I've heard many stories of people who work long hours without overtime and nearly always without thanks or appreciation.

                      I may have only been back at work for a mere two days, but I have already made the decision that I value my health much more than the success of the 'team' in which I work. Cue a flurry of emails to recruitment agencies and I hope I will not have to endure the atmosphere in my office for much longer. Luckily for me, although the NHS is generous with its holiday entitlement, my department has been less than generous in allowing me to take any holidays I am owed so the 4 weeks holidays that are burning a hole in my annual leave form will at least mean my notice will be brief. So if despite reading this you'd still like to pursue a career within Cancer Services, my post will no doubt be open to interested parties about 6 months after my finishing date. Incidentally, I am paid at a band higher than those carrying out the exact same job at another hospital 20 miles away so if you think the NHS's claims to be fair under the Agenda for Change are true, then think again.

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                        14.10.2008 15:00
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                        Let's use the general public's strength to create a better sytem! This is the country WE live in!!!

                        Ok, honestly, the list of things and services the NHS could improve is way too long in my eyes to be listed on here.
                        Generally speaking, after last weeks news, I am wondering how we can bail out banks with so many billions but we're constantly told that there isn't enough money to make the NHS a quality health system that can compare to other European countries.
                        Two days ago I was hospitalized after going to the A&E with a badly swollen leg due to an infection. Since this was my first time being in an NHS hospital overnight, I am in absolute shock! I cannot believe how patients are treated and what conditions patients are kept in. Being kept on an acute care ward with almost 50 people is an absolute diseaster in my opinion. No wonder C.difficile and MRSA are killing people who come to NHS hospitals when only going there with minor problems. I am working person and according to my payslips I am paying a fortune in National Insurance. Well if I am doing the math correctly, the NHS should be able to provide citizens and permanent residents with an A class service rather than with conditions which remember of post-war times or services one might imagine in underdeveloped countries. How come the system doesn't fight against this sort of treatment of their own people. Neither Doctors nor Nurses were introducing themselves as soon as they started talking to me. Also, I don't think it's helping anyone to recover when you have to deal with staff who's s never smiling and who's unfriendly and careless. Once I rang the emergency bell and had to wait 12 mins (Yes, I checked how long it took) before someone came to see me. When mentioned how long it took, all the nurse said was "I'm busy"...Well I bet they are...I just wonder with what when all I saw then doing was chatting with each other, laughing and making private phone calls from the NHS phone on tax payers money! I even had to help a person getting her dinner as none of the nurses fed her.
                        If all nurses and doctors were to join together with the public and fight again this system, somethings gotta to give (just like any other strike in any other industry)!
                        I doubt the Royal family or members of the government use the NHS. And we all know why. Because the systems doesn't work! One can take private health insurance, which I only just cancelled after they refused paying for a lymph node biopsy (and I don't have any history in this country) but when one already pays a fortune in NI contribution it might be hard financially to add private health cover. Maybe the NI conribution for the NHS should't be obligatory when already paying into private health care. Paying our GPs a six-digit salary could be one thing to change in accordance to get a better health system. Clearly, even earnings like this doesn't make them give more or go the extra mile. So what would?? Treating only people who are residing permantly in this country might be another step to take. Well, eventough we all would probably have many possible solutions to suggest, at the end of the day it's up to the delegates to finally admit that change is needed. Just compare the NHS to other countries in Europe like France, Germany or Italy...and then THINK AGAIN!!! The NHS is ín shambles and it will continue to be if we don't stand up for our rights! I truely believe this system might have worked well one day but this day has long passed and with living in the 21st century it would be a delight to see our tax money being spend towards an appropriate health care system!

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                        16.09.2008 18:55

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                        OVERALL RESULTS ARE QUICK

                        Having had the opportunity to do the Bowel Home Screeing Kit, I then had to have a Colonoscopy (as a precaution). On Sept 15 at the QE2 Hospital, Herts. The Surgeon and all the staff were extremely helpful. and they all put my mind at rest. Have to say, I was very worried about the procedure, (having heard some disturbing reports from friends), but am glad I had it done. I would urge anybody that should you have the opportunity to do the screening test in the privacy of your own home, go for it.

                        Even the laxatives and the low residure diet sheet that the Screening Nurse give you to take before hand are fine, providing they are used properly, it makes the Surgeon's job alot easier.

                        It's a pity this is only offered to people between 60-69, if it was any age, it would help alot of people.

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                        08.08.2008 16:05
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                        Stress, stress, stress

                        Medical Receptionist - NHS

                        I finished college with a Law degree and found it hard to get an interview never mind a job, so I decided I would apply to get a job that earned some money to pay the bills and generally live off of.

                        My first full time job was working for the NHS as a doctors receptionist, at first I thought this will be really easy as whenever I go into my doctor surgery the receptionists seem to be doing nothing, I thought this is easy money, I later found out how wrong my preconception was.

                        The initial training was to say non-existent. Luckily for me I started at the same time as another woman who just happened to have been doing the same job for another doctors surgery, so she was very kind to talk me through the basics.

                        The concept of the job was very simple, make appointments, let the doctors know when the patients are in, answer the telephone and deal with any queries as well as prescriptions etc. I never realised how much work the medical receptionist has to do. I thought to myself I will never understand the medical gargon and never mind helping anyone with a prescription queries, I could hardily pronounce the words of the medication never mind help them with any quires.

                        I never realised how busy the surgery was. The surgery had over nine thousand patients but only four doctors, one nurse, four district nurses and four health visitors in the whole surgery to treat the patients. It also had a mass of clinics, from baby immunisations to the methadone clinic, but there where no extra people to run these clinics it was just the staff who where employed in the surgery.

                        The phones never stopped ringing and the front desk was always queued out the door. I did find my first couple of months really stressful as there never seemed to be a minute where you could just catch your breath. When I first started the medical files had to be looked out for every appointment that was coming in, so that could mean pulling over a couple of hundred files a day as well as putting them all back at the end of the day.

                        The worst thing about the job was the rude, aggressive and arrogant patients, I have never experience so much abuse in my life and everything was branded the receptionists fault. What they did not understand was that it was the doctors who made the rules and needless to say some of the strangest rules. Appointment where readily available very quickly at first but the NHS contracts changed meaning that each appointment had to be ten minutes long, compared to the fives minutes as before, this meant that there where significantly less appointments available for patients, thus making the patients angry.

                        At first I was naive and felt sorry for every patient, each had a story but you soon realised who was really ill and had to see a doctor and the ones who would take you for a ride because they needed an insurance line or some form filled out to make a claim. I never realised how nasty people could get and how much people abuse the NHS service. I never go to my doctor unless I'm ill, and this job defiantly opened up my eyes.

                        One good point was that in the surgery, the patients where able to phone in the morning as speak to the doctor if they where unable to get an appointment or needed an emergency appointment. However the patients abused this service and would phone at any time expecting to speak to a doctor for less important things, thus you would get it in the back from the doctors for wasting their time getting the doctor to speak to them over the phone.

                        I found that it was a loose - loose citation, you where piggy in the middle getting abuse from the patients and then from the Doctors for not abiding by there rules. The Health visitors and district nurses where also similar, some where really nice and will to help out, while others would give you the look of death for disturbing there every lasting coffee break.

                        I generally found the surgery to be extremely hard work and underpaid. There is so much that a medical receptionist is expected to do that no-one seems to realise, they are the underdogs of the NHS who go on unaccredited. Working long hours which sometimes no breaks (but we were not allowed to talk about that). Some of us would go that extra mile to help the sick and organise prescriptions, transport, sorting the test results out as well as putting any mail in to each and every patient's medical files. Contacting patients to arrange appointments and even doing venipuncture (taking blood) and blood pressure.

                        I loved the people who I worked with but ended up disliking the job itself, it makes you a hard, almost like a robot person: this is because if you didn't you would cry at every person who was rude to you or every death of a patient that came into the surgery. It opened my eyes to the people who generally abuse the NHS services as well as the staff who work there.

                        Overall the NHS can have some great benefits, such as the pension scheme and in some areas you can improve and move up the career ladder. The NHS a high stressed and fast paced job where you really need to have your wits about you. Working with the public in general is a hard job in itself but can be rewarding if you stick to it, or wear your rose tinted glasses.

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                          01.03.2003 18:15
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                          Ellen and Tom are American friends living in retirement in Florida. Tom has been fighting cancer for the past 2 years with radiation, chemotherapy and all the other distressing treatment which has kept him going. This morning I heard that the company he had given all his working life to has sold out to another which refuses to honour the medical insurance of their old employees. The only alternative insurance costs Tom and Ellen 2/3 of their previously more than adequate pension. As a result, Ellen is now working full time in a local pharmacy at the age of nearly 80. Should anything happen to Tom, she will be left with no savings and having to continue to work. The outlook is frightening, because a lifetime of work and saving has disappeared with the onset of one illness. This despite the Medicare they are now entitled to because of their qualifying ages. This distressing news made me grateful again for our own National Health Service, despite it's shortcomings. I emailed a friend of mine in Ohio who has frequently talked of the problems when medical treatment is needed, asking her for some figures. I shall paraphrase her lengthy reply later. The National Health Service, having been with us for over 50 years now, has served many of us all our lives. It is the largest organisation of it's type in Europe and is still respected worldwide as one of the finest in the world. The average British employee pays 10% of their earnings after the first £89 (soon to be 11%, ) per week as insurance against sickness, disability and other benefits - which I am not covering here. From an ingrowing toenail to a life threatening disease, the service is there even if underfunded and top heavy. For our contributions we receive the use by right of local doctors' surgeries and clinics, 42 NHS walk-in centres countrywide, hospitals offering physiotherapists, counsellors, highly trained specialist consultants, and full surgical and
                          nursing care. The mobile mammograms and regular smear tests that women take advantage of are certainly not available to my American friends as routine. Added to all this are the fine teaching hospitals of which there are 10 world-rated specialist hospitals in London alone. There is now even a 24 hour advice centre, NHS Direct, available to all and staffed by NHS Direct nurses. This can be accessed on 0845 4647 or http://www. nhsdirect.nhs.uk Good private medical services are available to those who wish to pay for them. Yet when my sister was gravely ill and called on her private insurance, the consultant insisted on using the superior facilities of a National Health hospital for an operation to save her life. Sure, I was impressed by the silver tea service and the hotel facilities when she returned to the splendid environment of her private hospital; but she would not have been there if her surgery had not been performed in the, at that time, pretty grotty Basildon Hospital. As my brother-in-law and I paced the shabby waiting room all night as surgeons fought to save her life and then fell in each others arms as the news came through that she would survive, I sent up a prayer of gratitude for our National Health Service. Later I was to see my husband receive the attentions of the finest gastric surgeon in the world at the Central Middlesex Hospital, followed by 10 months of superb dedicated and specialist nursing care. Over 3 years later, the magnificent charity hospice where he spent his final 3 weeks of life had the local hospital at it's immediate call. I will admit that since then I have been among those who grumble at long waiting lists, drugs not available in some areas, my resistance to using the Casualty Department (as unless on a stretcher it can take several hours to be seen) and the over-stretched nursing staff. Until, that is, my daily email chats to Sandy in Ohio presented a picture of how it could be outside the u
                          mbrella of our own and the European systems. Sandy's sister had cancer and has been clear for 12 years. Yet at the time her insurance company dropped her and she had to borrow $20,000 for treatment and, until recently, was uninsurable. She now has to pay $1000 per month and find an excess of $5000 should she again be ill. Sandy's husband had a motor bike accident resulting in a broken arm, damaged hip, the necessity to see a neurologist and 10 days in hospital. The charges were $30,000 dollars. When it was found that pins would have to be inserted into his hip, the doctor said that, as the insurance company would not cover this, the operation - due the following day - was to be cancelled unless proof of payment was forthcoming. Gary's employers have now sold out to a company which has cancelled the medical insurance previously available to it's employees. Sandy spent a year recovering from a fractured knee as she couldn't find the medical costs needed. I am not saying "Don't knock our Health Service" as much improvement is still needed to keep it up to date with medical and surgical advances. However, this mighty organisation does more than make us better. It removes for us the added despair of financial worries on top of emotional ones, should a loved one be diagnosed with a serious illness. Above all, the National Health Service cannot renege once treatment has been started and a financial limit be reached. As a self-sufficient personality who treats my own ailments (with my dogs'or horse's wound powders if they are the only things handy) I insist that I would have to be carried kicking and screaming into my local hospital. Thank goodness it is there though should the need arise. Footnote: Thanks to Marandina's recent op which corrected my contribution figures. :-)

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                            28.02.2003 00:35
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                            What is the NHS? The NHS was first founded in 1948, after World War II. It was set up to cover accidents, emergencies and healthcare. Originally it was free and covered everything including acts of God such as diseases known as Cancer. But it prioritised peoples needs, so people with more severe illnesses were treated first. These factors are still the same to this present day except people now have to pay prescription charges through National Insurance (first instated in 1950). The NHS is available to all members of the general public living in the nation but it is funded by the government through taxes. So directly the NHS is free but because we provide funds for it through taxes therefore it is not free indirectly. It is not the general public’s choice to pay taxes instead it is compulsory so when taxes are raised to provide more funds, this can cause an increase in grievances. Also everyone pays the same amount for National Insurance, the charges are set and do not vary depending on how often or how much a person uses the service. What is the main problem with the NHS? The government is constantly trying to improve the NHS to cater better for the general public. Especially since the NHS is burdened with very high expectations, since it is funded through people’s taxes. However funding has always posed a problem since the NHS always seems to have a lack of money it requires, even through careful rationing. As new treatments and medicine are available to the service, the NHS feels a need to invest in it even if it is very expensive since it carries the possibilities of saving lives and reducing the national death rate. However a recent problem arose which could be fatal to the NHS, evidence has shown that a demographic time bomb is on the way. Basically there is a growing dependent population (increase in elderly people). Since the dependent population uses the service more frequently this could lead to a large drain in fund
                            s especially when the long expected dramatic increase occurs as the middle class shifted to the dependent population. This is very ironic that an increase in life expectancy/dependent population is the one thing NHS have tried to extend by improving their healthcare and advising better diets, but now it poses the problem of draining all their funds from high demand of the service. How can it be solved? There are a number of possibilities to reduce the intensity of the rising problem. These include a massive increase in taxes, but no doubtingly would be welcomed by the general public. This could lead to a vast amount of grievances demonstrated through public demonstrations and rebellion to pay such high rates of taxes. Although this is the most obvious of solutions it would be certainly dramatically increase government unpopularity, which it depends on to win general elections and stay in power. Although obviously, it is the most unlikely for that reason. Another solution that is also obvious and is to make the public directly pay for how much they use the NHS which is successfully exercised in USA, who have one of the best healthcare units in the world. However many will also oppose this solution since they are used to the term free healthcare although indirectly it is the opposite, thus creating more grievances from general public. The final and most likely solution to occur is to maintain the service as free (charge taxes) but make people pay for additions they want such as beds, rooms, food etc. It could be managed like a hotel, the more the people pay the better the additions they get. But this does not affect the quality of medical treatment. In conclusion the best step forward for the NHS and most likely to be adapted by the general public effectively is to keep the service free but make people pay for extras, adapting to more business like approach. Since currently beds and food supplements are at a poor standard but there could de
                            finitely be an increase in quality. Also it could see an increase in wages for employees and it may help fund for better equipment.

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