Author Topic: Returning to caving  (Read 2281 times)

Offline bagpuss

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Returning to caving
« on: April 05, 2021, 09:35:29 am »
What are people's thoughts about returning to caving? For those in clubs have you make any Covid specific rules?
Specifically interested to know if people are suggesting the wearing of masks underground and if so if anyone has found a comfortable mask to wear? Also saw that the government are now going to be offering twice weekly home lateral flow testing to all households. We currently home test twice a week already as it was offered to parents when schools returned. Obviously the lateral flow tests are 100% foolproof, but wondered if clubs would take the view that they should be done in the advance of a trip?
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-56632084

Offline 2xw

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Re: Returning to caving
« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2021, 10:32:47 am »
I've returned to caving with members of my household, or with students who have had a lateral flow test the same day.

I wear a buff underground so not been wearing a mask

Offline pwhole

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Re: Returning to caving
« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2021, 12:36:00 pm »
If the government also offers £500 a week cash for anyone found to be positive, I'll take the test. Otherwise they can kiss my ass. Last I heard the lateral flow test was only 50% accurate, when done by experts, which is essentially useless. So now we have to trust the great British public to test themselves? Many of them can't even walk in a straight line, and given how many apparently want to go on holiday (all the 'news' channels can talk about today), trusting that they did their test properly is a waste of time - most will put it in their ears to pass.

Offline Badlad

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Re: Returning to caving
« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2021, 01:22:14 pm »
Quite a few cavers parked up on Leck over the weekend.  Gavel, Notts 2, Shuttleworth seem popular for folks starting on easier trips.  I expect these are mostly groups of friends rather than any sort of club meet. 

I've been caving with up to six friends generally keeping a bit apart but not being very strict about it.  Tend to look at the much lower case rates and vaccination rates more which indicate much lower risks.  Flipping a neck Buff up works well especially if cold.  I think you have to consider the vulnerability of those involved including those they live with and make sure everyone is happy with the level of risk you are taking.  Last year we were a bit concerned about caving with friends with kids who had gone back to school or students who had escaped from uni back home.

Certainly for me the risk of caving with a few mates is far far lower than being at work in either of the jobs I do.

Good caving  :thumbsup:

Offline pwhole

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Re: Returning to caving
« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2021, 01:55:57 pm »
It's difficult for me to guess as I don't have all the numbers, but I would estimate that over half of our membership are 40 or younger, and they're invariably the more regular cavers too. So it's still not really feasible to organise 'club' trips yet, at least until the next review dates (subject to vaccination progress!) - though there are some smaller groups that have been bubbles for some time, or some who see so few people generally that they're less risky, so in those cases, fair enough.

Offline Speleofish

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Re: Returning to caving
« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2021, 01:59:43 pm »
If you really want to avoid Covid in a confined space, a buff is probably ineffective. It will stop you coughing infected lumps of mucus over your mates and will stop big lumps coming in the opposite direction. It won't do anything useful against aerosols or airborne viruses. Even a normal hospital mask isn't much use, you really need a mask that's at least FFP2 if not FFP 3.

That doesn't mean I'm arguing against going caving! If there were accessible caves round here (and if they were very, very wide and very, very easy), I'd be going caving too. I'm merely suggesting that a buff is rather a psychological barrier.

Offline pwhole

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Re: Returning to caving
« Reply #6 on: April 05, 2021, 02:36:15 pm »
This is the problem for me - my main project requires SRT and then digging, both in fairly tight spaces, and requires four people at a minimum, ideally six, but we'd all be on top of each other due to the dig logic- though to be fair it's pretty well-ventilated just outside the dig area. Even the easy caves (for me) aren't necessarily large, I've done them a hundred times, and I can't wash my kit properly at home either as I live in a flat with no garden, so I need a stream or the club hut! I did have a 'dry' trip planned for today that had to be cancelled at the last minute, so next opportunity is Weds, asteroid strikes permitting.

Offline HardenClimber3

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Re: Returning to caving
« Reply #7 on: April 05, 2021, 06:42:13 pm »
It'sgood to hear people ARE GETTING OUT AGAIN.
CPC rigged various entrances to Alum (Diccan, Dolly Tubs, SE and NW, plus options for Upper Long Churn, Wilson's, Borrin's) at the weekend and we had quite a turnout, with people splitting off in small groups (and spread ove 3 days) and generally finding spacious / draughty places. We had a great time with lots to do and the ability to keep apart but see friends.
I think the main issue is that people are well and don't have someone else isolating at home (this is a bit more than govt advice). I'm sure Tim is right that work is a bigger risk for most people
I'd agree that Buffs are really a bit of a token gesture... there has been some objective work on that. (If I need a mask in day to day life, I wear a respro bandit - the key to any mask is a good seal, and if it is working you will have some resistance to breathing)
I suspect virus recovery from 'fomites' in a caving context is likely to be low.
We (CPC) had a reasonable number of trips before Christmas through to the start of January as a club and that seemed to work well if you chose the right venues. (bit of a heuristic trap there)
We didn't wear masks.
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Offline mikem

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Re: Returning to caving
« Reply #8 on: April 05, 2021, 08:05:13 pm »
Buff's own statement on the matter:
https://www.buffusa.com/buff-community-statement

Offline bagpuss

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Re: Returning to caving
« Reply #9 on: April 05, 2021, 08:13:09 pm »
Quite a few cavers parked up on Leck over the weekend.  Gavel, Notts 2, Shuttleworth seem popular for folks starting on easier trips.  I expect these are mostly groups of friends rather than any sort of club meet. 

I've been caving with up to six friends generally keeping a bit apart but not being very strict about it.  Tend to look at the much lower case rates and vaccination rates more which indicate much lower risks.  Flipping a neck Buff up works well especially if cold.  I think you have to consider the vulnerability of those involved including those they live with and make sure everyone is happy with the level of risk you are taking.  Last year we were a bit concerned about caving with friends with kids who had gone back to school or students who had escaped from uni back home.

Certainly for me the risk of caving with a few mates is far far lower than being at work in either of the jobs I do.

Good caving  :thumbsup:
Thanks. Nearly all our club has school age kids which complicates things somewhat. I am within the clinically vulnerable category so have been very cautious to date and didn't return to caving last year. I appreciate that lateral flow tests aren't hugely accurate, but it would at least be some sort of measure that people could take prior to caving, they have worked in terms of picking up cases with no symptoms and then backed up with a positive PCR test. 

Offline Fjell

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Re: Returning to caving
« Reply #10 on: April 05, 2021, 08:37:08 pm »

Offline PeteHall

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Re: Returning to caving
« Reply #11 on: April 05, 2021, 10:43:42 pm »
Also saw that the government are now going to be offering twice weekly home lateral flow testing to all households. We currently home test twice a week already as it was offered to parents when schools returned. Obviously the lateral flow tests are 100% foolproof, but wondered if clubs would take the view that they should be done in the advance of a trip?
Prevalence of Covid-19 is now less than 1 in 1000 as far as I can tell from the latest data.

If you cave with 1000 people, statistically, one of them will have Covid. If they are well enough to cave, that number will go down.

Caving with a handful of friends really is one of the most low risk things you can do from the perspective of Covid.

There is no such thing as zero risk in life, so you might as well just get back underground and enjoy yourself.  :)

Online Tomferry

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Re: Returning to caving
« Reply #12 on: April 06, 2021, 06:37:53 am »
So had my first trip out yesterday, was only around the upper series at Swildons very glad I went feel a lot more human again now ! Bring on the next ones I say!

Offline Speleofish

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Re: Returning to caving
« Reply #13 on: April 06, 2021, 09:28:35 am »
In reply to Mikem, I think Buff are merely saying that their products are reasonable face coverings which meet the very low standards set for these things. This is a very different proposition from providing effective filtration of airborne viruses. Whether Buff's 'filters' are better, I don't know. However, I doubt if any device works once it's wet.

If I were going caving, I wouldn't bother with a mask but I'd pick my partners.

Offline Fjell

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Re: Returning to caving
« Reply #14 on: April 06, 2021, 09:44:18 am »

Offline pwhole

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Re: Returning to caving
« Reply #15 on: April 06, 2021, 11:31:34 am »
That was fabulous, if difficult to read. My parents are the same age as the writer's, but so far, so healthy - but I also have that looming feeling of dread getting ever closer. They too aren't that scared of dying, as they do believe in God, but it's not the dying per se that's the problem - it's how. And how we will deal with it.

Strong stuff  :clap2:

Offline ttxela2

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Re: Returning to caving
« Reply #16 on: April 06, 2021, 01:47:52 pm »
I don't think any sort of mask would last long on me underground if I were doing anything more strenuous than easy walking passage however good my initial intentions might be. It's unlikely I'll be going underground until overnight stays are possible in any case - although that's not long now. I suspect an easy solo trip will be my first jaunt.

Offline Paul Marvin

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Re: Returning to caving
« Reply #17 on: June 20, 2021, 11:01:46 am »
Lateral flow test are an indication but not 100% guys, my wife works for the NHS and although not common people do get through with a negative that have COVID 19

https://pharmaceutical-journal.com/article/feature/how-reliable-are-lateral-flow-covid-19-tests
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Offline pwhole

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Re: Returning to caving
« Reply #18 on: June 20, 2021, 11:36:37 am »
The FDA in the US recently announced that lateral flow tests should literally be thrown in the bin, and they wouldn't approve or support their use:

https://www.fda.gov/medical-devices/safety-communications/stop-using-innova-sars-cov-2-antigen-rapid-qualitative-test-fda-safety-communication

Part of the problem is with the self-testing of LF - if folks don't do their swab properly, or follow the instructions to the letter, it won't be accurate. Given that many folks find that sort of thing uncomfortable or distasteful at the best of times, and not wanting a positive result is invariably in most people's minds, the chances of a half-hearted negative result are very high. A friend of mine is a schoolteacher and they all have LF tests every three days, but they've still had positive cases come in via pupils or parents and staff had to self-isolate. I recently spent a week in hospital, and had three Covid tests when I was in, two days apart. The first was a pre-op test, 12 hours before, but I have no idea whether it was PCR or LF - ideally I was meant to be negative for the op, but a PCR can't be done that quickly - but they operated. Anyway, I didn't see that first negative result on paper (or verbally) until four days later, the day before discharge. So if the other two tests were PCR, I wouldn't have got the results until last week. No-one's rung or texted me since, so I have to assume they were all negative. But I was very confident they'd done me properly as a nurse did all the swabbing, and she went all the way in.

Offline mikem

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Re: Returning to caving
« Reply #19 on: June 20, 2021, 04:51:34 pm »
The lateral flow tests are more to give the government comparable statistics on whether overall numbers are increasing or decreasing, rather than reliable individual results.

Offline 2xw

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Re: Returning to caving
« Reply #20 on: June 20, 2021, 04:57:43 pm »
Yeah I don't think a 50% accuracy makes the test useless. And I wonder how much that accuracy really drops with home use (it's not hard and anyone who is positive will have tons of the stuff knocking about)

I'm surprised the hospital couldn't do a PCR test, they should take less than 3 hrs

Offline mikem

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Re: Returning to caving
« Reply #21 on: June 20, 2021, 05:57:20 pm »
Sounds like they did do a PCR, just failed to keep patient informed...

Offline pwhole

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Re: Returning to caving
« Reply #22 on: June 20, 2021, 10:48:17 pm »
I assumed that it must be PCR, just wasn't sure how fast they really can do them if they have to. I also assume that they will be doing dozens of tests a day on patients, and informing them all of a negative result is rather time-consuming. I also wasn't in my home town, which certainly complicated matters for all of us!

Offline alastairgott

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Re: Returning to caving
« Reply #23 on: June 21, 2021, 07:34:52 am »
I've been going caving with anyone in my club that will say yes! If no one says yes then I'll go solo 'digging' or prospecting in my nearest limestone spot, which I'm certain will pay dividends.

Had a trip to Giants as a group of five on Saturday which was only 4 households. Giants never gets boring, and if it were the last trip I did, I would be a happy man!

Offline Paul Marvin

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Re: Returning to caving
« Reply #24 on: June 21, 2021, 08:17:43 am »
The FDA in the US recently announced that lateral flow tests should literally be thrown in the bin, and they wouldn't approve or support their use:

https://www.fda.gov/medical-devices/safety-communications/stop-using-innova-sars-cov-2-antigen-rapid-qualitative-test-fda-safety-communication

Part of the problem is with the self-testing of LF - if folks don't do their swab properly, or follow the instructions to the letter, it won't be accurate. Given that many folks find that sort of thing uncomfortable or distasteful at the best of times, and not wanting a positive result is invariably in most people's minds, the chances of a half-hearted negative result are very high. A friend of mine is a schoolteacher and they all have LF tests every three days, but they've still had positive cases come in via pupils or parents and staff had to self-isolate. I recently spent a week in hospital, and had three Covid tests when I was in, two days apart. The first was a pre-op test, 12 hours before, but I have no idea whether it was PCR or LF - ideally I was meant to be negative for the op, but a PCR can't be done that quickly - but they operated. Anyway, I didn't see that first negative result on paper (or verbally) until four days later, the day before discharge. So if the other two tests were PCR, I wouldn't have got the results until last week. No-one's rung or texted me since, so I have to assume they were all negative. But I was very confident they'd done me properly as a nurse did all the swabbing, and she went all the way in.

Exactly !!  :thumbsup:  Unless you are on the point of vomiting you aint deep enough a little wipe around the external nostril doesn't cut it .
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Offline tobyk

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Re: Returning to caving
« Reply #25 on: June 22, 2021, 06:03:58 am »
I assumed that it must be PCR, just wasn't sure how fast they really can do them if they have to. I also assume that they will be doing dozens of tests a day on patients, and informing them all of a negative result is rather time-consuming. I also wasn't in my home town, which certainly complicated matters for all of us!

I work in hospital pathology in Haematology and Transfusion, but have to perform urgent covid testing out of hours when the Micro lot arn’t in. All hospital covid testing is PCR, but there are different ways of testing. Not including sample prep, transfer time to the lab etc the general on mass testing takes about 4 hours per test and costs about £7. The rapid PCR testing I perform takes about 1 hour, and is done on urgent cases (A&E, pre-ops etc)…costs £90 per test though!

Offline pwhole

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Re: Returning to caving
« Reply #26 on: June 22, 2021, 10:08:59 am »
That must have been mine then, as I was operated on within 12 hours of admission - luckily. Though at £90 I feel somewhat guilty, but I guess it's much cheaper than the whole surgical team having to self-isolate. And shows it is worth following the protocols - hands, face, space! :)

Offline Fulk

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Re: Returning to caving
« Reply #27 on: June 22, 2021, 10:22:41 am »
Quote
Though at £90 I feel somewhat guilty,

But compared with the cost of the operation, £90 was probably pretty trivia (?)l.

Offline pwhole

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Re: Returning to caving
« Reply #28 on: June 22, 2021, 10:31:40 am »
Indeed. I shudder to think how much I've cost them (us) overall. I'm also very aware how fortunate I was to be able to ring 999 in a strange city, and be in an emergency bed in two hours - and then stay for a week. In a month or two those 'spare' beds may no longer be available.

Offline Fulk

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Re: Returning to caving
« Reply #29 on: June 22, 2021, 10:43:07 am »
Quote
I shudder to think how much I've cost them (us) overall.

Quite; I had open-heart surgery a few years ago, which must have set 'us' back several score thousand pounds (good job I wasn't in the States).

Offline Paul Marvin

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Re: Returning to caving
« Reply #30 on: June 22, 2021, 11:49:31 am »
Quote
I shudder to think how much I've cost them (us) overall.

Quite; I had open-heart surgery a few years ago, which must have set 'us' back several score thousand pounds (good job I wasn't in the States).

All hail the NHS and all that work there  :bow:  :clap2: and that means ALL they all have a important role to play, a customer of mine once said " Im only a cleaner " I quickly reminded her if it wast for her the rest would stop very quick, I asked her not to put herself down anymore !    :halo:
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Offline sinker

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Re: Returning to caving
« Reply #31 on: June 22, 2021, 01:21:45 pm »

I'm also very aware how fortunate I was to be able to ring 999 in a strange city, and be in an emergency bed in two hours - and then stay for a week.


Totally agree.
I was admitted with Leptospirosis three weeks ago.
Referred at 10am by online out of hours GP, consultant rang me at 11.30, I went in at 1.30pm, all the tests and x-ray etc.
In and out in 48 hours, job done.  :clap2:



Ah, well, now, you see...erm...

Offline darren

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Re: Returning to caving
« Reply #32 on: June 22, 2021, 03:20:46 pm »
Sometimes it makes you wonder how the French and Germans work with a different system, oh and Spain.

Not saying the NHS is bad, but other viable systems do seem to exist. If the NHS is so superior why haven't other European countries copied it?



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Offline Speleofish

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Re: Returning to caving
« Reply #33 on: June 22, 2021, 04:11:39 pm »
I think you'd be slightly foolish to claim the NHS is better than the French or German systems. Most analyses suggest the French system is the best in the world. The German system can be outstanding (if you go to a Hochshule - ie university hospital) but some of the small Krankenhausen are less impressive. Both are far better resourced than the NHS (so have more beds and shorter/negligible waiting times) and both, particularly the Germans, offer really good rehabilitation which is something the NHS falls down on.

In favour of the NHS, it's one of the most cost-effective systems in the developed world (though this depends on running close to 100% occupancy which makes pandemics difficult) and care is probably more consistent between hospitals than in other hospitals. Since we've started to centralise some specialist services that were previously offered everywhere (trauma, vascular surgery etc) standards have risen significantly. However, resources were constrained even before Covid, made worse by the shortage of nursing and residential home care and the lack of facilities to deal with elderly patients with complex needs (so they ended up stuck in hospitals, which are fundamentally unsuited to care for them). 

In reality, increasing the NHS and social care budgets to overcome their many shortfalls would probably be less expensive overall than moving to a mixed private/public, insurance based system. The big problem with any private system of medicine is that the more procedures you undertake, the greater the income. This influences both doctors and management, can lead to inappropriate or excessive treatment and is very hard to police.


Offline Paul Marvin

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Re: Returning to caving
« Reply #34 on: June 22, 2021, 04:57:38 pm »
Sometimes it makes you wonder how the French and Germans work with a different system, oh and Spain.

Not saying the NHS is bad, but other viable systems do seem to exist. If the NHS is so superior why haven't other European countries copied it?





I lived in Germany for 4 years and trust me its not a patch on the NHS there waits ect and shortages of trained staff are just as bad if not worse than here
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Offline Speleofish

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Re: Returning to caving
« Reply #35 on: June 22, 2021, 05:01:59 pm »
Minor edit. Should read Care is probably more consistent between hospitals than in other countries

Offline Paul Marvin

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Re: Returning to caving
« Reply #36 on: June 22, 2021, 05:05:16 pm »
Minor edit. Should read Care is probably more consistent between hospitals than in other countries

That's what it says  :doubt:
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Offline Paul Marvin

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Re: Returning to caving
« Reply #37 on: June 22, 2021, 05:38:44 pm »
Sometimes it makes you wonder how the French and Germans work with a different system, oh and Spain.

Not saying the NHS is bad, but other viable systems do seem to exist. If the NHS is so superior why haven't other European countries copied it?





There are a lot of things in Germany that dont " Qualify " for free treatment and care . Cant speak for France as I dont know , but what I do know as I have a friend over there in France is they pay a LOT more tax than we do to cover there care system.
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Offline darren

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Re: Returning to caving
« Reply #38 on: June 22, 2021, 06:08:32 pm »
Could you give us a couple of examples of the "lots of things"?

Who decides n the UK what is covered?
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Offline mikem

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Re: Returning to caving
« Reply #39 on: June 22, 2021, 06:12:35 pm »
Emergency treatment gets priority (& is generally excellent), other procedures are a bit more pot luck as to how long it will take to get done.

Offline Paul Marvin

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Re: Returning to caving
« Reply #40 on: June 22, 2021, 06:36:42 pm »
Could you give us a couple of examples of the "lots of things"?

Go and have a tattoo done here it goes septic, you will get your free NHS treatment to put it right even if it goes terribly wrong . The " Krankenkasse " won't pay for the treatment you can get  treatment but you will have to pay . Oh hears another, fertility treatment I know here there are hoops to go through but after that its free or at least is it two or three attempts . One thing the French and Germans are considerably better at is football  :lol: but thats another story
« Last Edit: June 22, 2021, 07:02:45 pm by Paul Marvin »
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Offline Paul Marvin

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Re: Returning to caving
« Reply #41 on: June 22, 2021, 06:42:28 pm »
I think you'd be slightly foolish to claim the NHS is better than the French or German systems. Most analyses suggest the French system is the best in the world. The German system can be outstanding (if you go to a Hochshule - ie university hospital) but some of the small Krankenhausen are less impressive. Both are far better resourced than the NHS (so have more beds and shorter/negligible waiting times) and both, particularly the Germans, offer really good rehabilitation which is something the NHS falls down on.

In favour of the NHS, it's one of the most cost-effective systems in the developed world (though this depends on running close to 100% occupancy which makes pandemics difficult) and care is probably more consistent between hospitals than in other hospitals. Since we've started to centralise some specialist services that were previously offered everywhere (trauma, vascular surgery etc) standards have risen significantly. However, resources were constrained even before Covid, made worse by the shortage of nursing and residential home care and the lack of facilities to deal with elderly patients with complex needs (so they ended up stuck in hospitals, which are fundamentally unsuited to care for them). 

In reality, increasing the NHS and social care budgets to overcome their many shortfalls would probably be less expensive overall than moving to a mixed private/public, insurance based system. The big problem with any private system of medicine is that the more procedures you undertake, the greater the income. This influences both doctors and management, can lead to inappropriate or excessive treatment and is very hard to police.



A university hospital in Germany is called Universitätsklinik not Hochschule, Die Hochschule  in more higher education as a broad spectrum  :smartass:
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Offline Speleofish

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Re: Returning to caving
« Reply #42 on: June 22, 2021, 10:15:30 pm »
Fair point.

Offline Speleofish

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Re: Returning to caving
« Reply #43 on: June 22, 2021, 10:20:06 pm »
I confess, I'd always thought hochschule and university clinics to be synonymous in medicine (eg the Hochschule in Hanover) and we always referred to them as such in the hospitals where I worked. I'm happy to be corrected.

However, semantics aside, the underlying point remains. The best hospitals in Germany are very, very good. The worst are much less so. The difference in the UK is less marked.

Offline pwhole

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Re: Returning to caving
« Reply #44 on: June 22, 2021, 10:59:18 pm »
I got the feeling, from watching my ward for a couple of days, that they were understaffed, though it's difficult to generalise from one experience - but later confirmed to me by a nurse when she asked me to help her out with another patient (by now I was on my feet and becoming useful, especially picking up litter). She said it was mostly illness, though what I don't know - most of these conversations are snatched fragments rather than proper chats. Also they need to maintain a certain amount of staff/patient separation and confidentiality, so I was trying not to sound too much like Colombo, but I suspect exhaustion might be a good start. Their stamina and cheerfulness was amazing to see, no matter what was happening.

Offline Paul Marvin

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Re: Returning to caving
« Reply #45 on: June 23, 2021, 08:08:34 am »
I confess, I'd always thought hochschule and university clinics to be synonymous in medicine (eg the Hochschule in Hanover) and we always referred to them as such in the hospitals where I worked. I'm happy to be corrected.

However, semantics aside, the underlying point remains. The best hospitals in Germany are very, very good. The worst are much less so. The difference in the UK is less marked.
 

 :thumbsup:
I dont know where I am going, but will know where I am when I get there.

Offline Paul Marvin

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Re: Returning to caving
« Reply #46 on: June 23, 2021, 08:11:26 am »
 :thumbsup:
I got the feeling, from watching my ward for a couple of days, that they were understaffed, though it's difficult to generalise from one experience - but later confirmed to me by a nurse when she asked me to help her out with another patient (by now I was on my feet and becoming useful, especially picking up litter). She said it was mostly illness, though what I don't know - most of these conversations are snatched fragments rather than proper chats. Also they need to maintain a certain amount of staff/patient separation and confidentiality, so I was trying not to sound too much like Colombo, but I suspect exhaustion might be a good start. Their stamina and cheerfulness was amazing to see, no matter what was happening.

You have it all summed up there buddy  :thumbsup:. People are to easy to forget that the staff are human beings as well they get incredibly tired and have emotions to , my wife comes home some mornings in tears after wat she has witnessed on a shift.
I dont know where I am going, but will know where I am when I get there.

 

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