Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Nanny State Induced Paranoia

One of my first posts a few years back was about a government TV advert in the run up to Christmas warning us not to undercook our turkeys as we could kill our families. Just what you need to build a happy Christmas atmosphere. It didn't apply to us anyway as we were having goose. A fine example of the nanny state in all its glory.

Currently there is a ridiculous state sponsored NHS advert warning us that we could be dying of bowel cancer if our 'poo' is a bit dodgy. Yes, nanny even calls it 'poo', as if preaching to a nation full of three year olds. I assume it is aimed at adults as all the sorrowful looking faces in the advert of the people who have been told their 'poo' indicates terminal illness are pretty old.

Yesterday I accompanied somebody to the local hospital. It involved spending a lot of time sat in the out-patients waiting room. If you ever have to spend time in a hospital waiting room please do not read the notices on the walls. Stare at the floor or ceiling or bury your face in a 1999 copy of National Geographic that you'll find on a formica table. The notices could quite easily induce a frightening level of paranoia.

To give you a flavour I saw Vera Duckworth on one poster informing me to be careful if I get out of breath when walking, it's probably not age or lack of fitness, it's probably emphysema. Another warned me that if my pee has changed colour, or I'm peeing more than usual, I probably have bladder cancer. There was another regarding my pee that warned I might have prostate cancer. At least the ones warning me I might have bowel cancer used the words 'stool' and 'faeces'  rather than 'poo'. I was also invited to an information session on drug and alcohol abuse, warning me that if I drink more than so many units of alcohol a week I'm probably dying of cirrhosis. Yet another warned me that if I have a pint then drive I will kill a child.

The problem is that the nanny state behaving like this doesn't exactly put patients at ease when they sit reading all this just before seeing a doctor, especially when they are pretty nervous in the first place. Strangely there wasn't a notice about paranoia or hypochondria.

I couldn't help wondering how much all this crap costs. Money that could be spent cutting waiting lists or, in our case, just getting the local NHS Trust up to an acceptable standard as it is currently 'in crisis'.


Left-footer said...

This certainly strikes a chord with me, and not just in relation to health.

Communications from the Inland Revenue used to be precise and clear, without ambiguity. Now their letters and booklets are written in baby-talk so imprecise that I have to write to some official for clarification.

As to hospital out-patients notices, a poster in hospitals here in Poland shows a handsome, happy old man, after the style of Maurice Chevalier. He is saying (toned down somewhat for a family blog), "I can be potent whenever I want to be. If you can't, talk to a urologist."

We're more positive here.

Gregg said...

We are so self-obsessed now Chris. But it's ironic that they are seemingly obsessed with our health, but want to bring in euthanasia and 'assisted suicide', which isn't actually suicide by my understanding.

Poland sounds much more reasonable. I would clear off back to Latin America tomorrow if my beloved fancied it too.

Anonymous said...

The trouble is we hate the nanny state - but then blame it for not looking after us...

BUt we are a nation of whiners and whingers... QED.

Gregg said...

Speak for yourself Anonymous. I don't want the state to look after me, I'm a big boy who can look after himself.

'A nation of whiners and whingers' eh? Again, speak for yourself. If you accused any other whole nation of something like that you'd be accused of xenophobia at best, racism at worst.

Could you explain your use of 'QED'? It doesn't seem applicable to your comment.