An islander who says he has been failed by the healthcare system in Jersey has recorded a powerful testimony on social media which has been watched more than 3,000 times.
In it, Martin O’Neill, who was left disabled after receiving a mesh implant for a hernia in 2014, identifies what he sees are failings in health provision in Jersey.
Primarily, he puts this down to poor communication, inadequate data collection and cost-cutting by management.
In the 15-minute video, which he posted on Facebook, Mr O’Neill said he had sent Health Minster Richard Renouf three emails, which outlined administrative failings that he had encountered in his eight years of healthcare needs, but he had yet to receive a response.
“The failures I speak of are mainly specific to administrative polices and decisions that have directly affected clinical decisions that have been made due to cost; the true cost is paid by the patient,” he said.
“We can create a world-renowned banking system but when it comes to healthcare, it is left floundering. Why?
Pictured: Mr O'Neill's video has been shared on social media.
“We do not need UK civil servants who are on exuberant wages declining and deciding clinical pathways and directions of our clinicians while telling them that money is tight.
“All the while, it is the patient who suffers, ultimately, the negative effect of these administrative decisions.”
Mr O’Neill, who is known on the local music scene as the lead singer for ‘Joe Young and the Bandits’, eventually had his mesh removed in Germany last year.
Although he still feels painful spasms, he says he now wakes up every day thankful that he now longer has the unbearable pain and other effects caused by the mesh, which put him into intensive care multiple times and could leave him paralysed from the waist down for days.
In his video, he recalls an agonising flight back from a doctor’s appointment in London in June 2020. Fortunately, a GP on the aircraft was able to administer liquid ketamine to alleviate the pain.
He says Health told him he was one of five islanders who had had an adverse reaction to a mesh, but he has spoken to treble that number of people who had been adversely affected by the device.
“We need to capture data because we need to prove, quarterly, that we have a better healthcare system and not to be taken on face value,” he said. “We need a system that allows patients to report their own outcomes and proves by data, and not by voice, what is going on.
“We cannot any longer take [Health] at face value. A system of mandatory reporting and tracking must be devised, and a failure of devices must be reported by clinicians. Also, the mandatory reporting of complaints.
“It is time we make changes to benefit our healthcare system and not kick the can down the road. We are angry because we are not listened to.
“Our healthcare system is failing us now and it will in the future unless we act now.”
Specifically, Mr O’Neill calls for the creation of a medical ombudsmen, a ‘patient council’, made up of ex-clinicians, GPs and patients to advocate for the latter, and a more robust complaints procedure.
“I say nearly 75% of complaints walk away because they simply don’t have the energy to trudge through a gargantuan pile of nonsense,” he said.
It comes after nearly 2,000 islanders signed a petition calling for an independent inspection of health services by the Care Quality Commission - the Health Minister responded in March, stating that he supported "regulation and independent inspection of hospital services and work is being brought forward to bring the full inspection of hospital and associated services within the remit of the independent Jersey Care Commission."
Government has said that it is preparing a statement in response to Mr O’Neill’s concerns.
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