Tuesday, June 4, 2013

A&E at breaking point

I am the first to admit that I have probably spent more time than some in hospital A&E departments, so coming from me this might all be a little hypocritical I know. But stick with me for this one, and see the subtle differences.

From an early age I have been 'unluckly' shall we say, and managed to find myself in many situations which have resulted in trips to the hospital. In the 80's growing up, I was so well known in fact at Sydenham Children's Hospital (now flats) that Sister Bell could get most of the paperwork done without asking my mum a single question. Broken arms (plural!), knocked down by a car, and referrals from the GP for various things like ingrowing toe nails, ruptured testicle (sorry I had to include that one)  etc. It all happened there.
But in my defence, as a child 'shit happens' Seemingly more to me than others, but kids just have accidents, fact.

As I have got older, I have managed to take the stupidity a bit, and my visits have become less and less frequent. Which I have to say is a blessing for two reasons. Firstly I'm not hurting myself as much, and secondly the kind of people you get in these places is alarming. And it's this point that it all really starts with.

For those lucky enough not to have visited an A&E or an ER, it will all be a little alien to them, seeing these shows like 24hours in A&E, and 999 what's your emergency. How it all works, what the system deals with, and who uses it.

Let's look at the name Accident and Emergency.
An accident which causes you harm requiring immediate attention, or an emergency situation where your physical well being is for some reason jeopardised. Now that's a wide spectrum and does indeed have scope for everyone and everything in there. But apply a little common sense for starters.

The TV shows occasionally show us scenes where someone has done something really quite minor and has chosen to blow it out of proportion, and turn it into a drama. Deciding that their situation is so horrific and unbearable, that they require IMMEDIATE attention. And I mean immediate. You see, for some reason, the more trivial the injury, the lesser the need for attention, the MORE irritation, anger and impatience oozes from these people.

'I have only sprained my finger and you want me to wait 4 hours?'... you know, you're right... FUCK OFF HOME THEN!
For anyone who has not visited an A&E dept, for you lucky people, allow me to tell you one thing for a fact... Certainly in London, if you visit one between 8pm and 6am, you can be sure that a LOT of the people seeking attention are under some level of influence of drink. And will see things like black eyes, sprained wrists and ankles, bumped heads, and other stupid falling over drunk kind of accidents.

Now of course, any incident causing injury to yourself which may require attention should be attended to, no doubt there. But maybe there needs to be some adjudication here, and maybe compare it to car insurance. Most of us pay PAYE tax and National Insurance which is our contribution towards health care, so consider this a third party insurance policy. Anyone making a genuine claim would be covered.

But... if you are a drunk who always likes to spend the early hours in A&E because you fell over for the 5th time this year, then maybe you need to be fully comp, or pay for your own repairs. I use drunks as an example, there are of course many more people who fall into the time wasting or self inflicted categories, as well as the pure time wasters.

Anyone visiting A&E is booked in, and 90% are at least seen by triage. People who think A&E is just like a GP but is a walk in clinic are clearly stupid, and people like this should be charged, or at least warned that charges may apply for further misuse. There are specific walk in clinics around the country, which are NOT A&E departments. Having just waited 2 days to get an appointment to see a GP, and having spent the end of last week and whole weekend in agony, with no sleep and in lots of pain, YES, I know it's not ideal, but sometimes you just have to wait your turn, plain and simple.

The culture of 24 hour shopping, banking, car washes and a life of convenience seems to have gone a little too far now, and people seems to misunderstand the role of these vital A&E departments.

They are over stretched, under staffed, and over run with time wasting morons who are drunk and think they are funny, bored and think it's a pass time, or people who are far too important to wait their turn. Meanwhile ambulances are stacking up, serious cases are being kept waiting, and seriously ill people are being left for hours undiagnosed or untreated, while 2 more stupid people have their little boo boos attended to.

Seriously now, WAKE UP BRITAIN!
It's the same time wasters and arrogant people who choke up these services with petty things, that sit there complaining that their toe nail which is torn needs URGENT attention, and that 3 hours is too long to wait, and how ridiculous is it. Stating that there should be more staff working, seeing people quicker, and then make sharp intakes of breath when they read the latest waiting time figures.
Don't you get it.... IT'S YOU! You are the cause of these issues. The staff are adequate on most shifts to deal with the genuine cases that come through the door. It's the time and resource wasting antics of stupid and arrogant people that cause these figures to skyrocket.

Responsibility for our actions was shunned a long time ago, and now society demands that whatever the cause, whatever the issue, public services should bow to your needs, and you should be given the attention you demand of it. Well, tell you what, NO! It needs to stop. 
Refuse collection used to be one bin fits all, now it's broken up, and people who don't comply end up with unemptied bins. Drink driving used to be tolerated, but now it is frowned upon.
So maybe it's time for the NHS to have bouncers at the reception desk, and to turn away anyone who is not an A or an E, and refer them to another service. 
Oh hold on, I can hear it now....'but its my human right'.... well that can fuck off too! Stop the pandering, ease up on the pussy footing around, and just get hard with it. Fast track these people the hell out the door, and give the people who deserve and need the attention, every second they need.

And while I'm on the matter.. If you rock up to an A&E with a genuine case, and the waiting time is a bit long, text a mate, slap it on Facebook, hell send a whiny tweet.... don't take it out on the staff eh!

I think that's my rant over for now. But will finish up by saying this.
The NHS as a whole is an amazing system, providing health care in a way that some countries envy. For someone who has spent a lot of time in the system both as a patient and as a carer, I think the NHS and all its staff are fantastic. From call centre staff right down to surgeons, and everything in between, I salute you and thank you for you choice in life to help others and work in some horrible conditions, with some truly foul and undeserving people.

Rant over :)

Thanks for reading.

PS, if you know a time wasting arsehole that likes to chew up the NHS's time, push them down a flight of stairs and show them the difference between a boo boo and a real emergency!


Sent from my BlackBerry Q10

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