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Friday, 28 October 2005 10:49
BNN: British Nursing News Online · www.bnn-online.co.uk
Private nurses saved my life, says businesswoman
Martha Lane Fox, the leading British business woman who founded the travel website lastminute.com, has claimed that she may have died following a serious car accident last year had she not used her own money to supplement NHS care with private treatment, The Independent has reported.

Ms Fox criticised the "huge layer of unnecessary bureaucracy" in the NHS and said she hired her own nurses because the staff in the intensive are unit were so under-resourced.

She had suffered serious injuries in a car accident in Monaco last May and only left Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital in April this year. She needs constant physiotherapy and has just stopped using her wheelchair.

In an interview with The Independent, she said: "I'm lucky ... I had my own private nurses in addition to the NHS nurses. I had to have carers looking after me all the time because there was a stage when I couldn't lift any limbs and had to ring a bell to have a sip of water and they were just far too stretched."

She added: "But even then there seemed to be two managers to every nurse. There seems to have been added a huge layer of unnecessary bureaucracy ... I voted Labour but it seems something's got lost along the way.

"I constantly think that if I had no money I would have been in hospital six months longer because I have had private care at home for a long time. I would have physio once or twice a week which I would have had to get to and from myself. I think my progress of recovery if I'm lucky will be a couple of years. If I hadn't had cash to help me I think it could have been anything between two and five years, if I had made it. If I made it, and I mean that with all seriousness."

She acknowledged that "getting me from the accident was absolutely critical". But she added: "I needed round-the-clock care that I provided of my own in addition to the job the nurses were doing and that was through no fault of the nurses.

"Many of them were fantastic and I owe them an enormous debt but I was just so ill and so infected very often and so unable to do a single thing for myself."

She said it is only since she has been able to collect her thoughts that she came to the conclusion. "I'm constantly staggered by the dedication of the frontline of the NHS. I was in an NHS hospital initially, my life was saved by an A&E trauma unit in the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford.

"And the team there were fantastic ... but the lack of resources they had and the lack of, what seemed to me, power to nurses who are dealing with stuff every day, something's gone screwy. They are pumping all this money into the NHS and yet it doesn't seem to be getting to the people that need it.

"There's a whole big chunk in the middle of the NHS that needs to be re-evaluated."


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