Crisis in the NHS
Just reading about a truly shocking incident of an elderly lady who waited 40 hours for an ambulance after a rally- and then spent 20 hours in the ambulance after this.
It isn't news that the NHS is in trouble.
It is being stated that the issues are down to staffing problems, with the hold-ups being caused by the lack of space in the hospitals. Beds full with many people able to leave, but having no support to aid them at home/to find more appropriate homing.
I've been very lucky. In my time I've had major surgery and also excellent emergency care for broken bones.
But one thing has been evident in my experience, and that is people not understanding what the a and e in A&E actually stand for.
Accidents: broken bones, open wounds, banged skulls, car collisions, major burns or cuts, injuries.
Emergencies: kiddies who've swallowed something dangerous, accidental overdoses, cardiac emergencies.
I was brought up to understand that going to A&E was something that was for very serious problems.
As a family we have used A&E for: unknown appendicitis (emergency surgery within 2 hours of attending), broken bones, suspected heart issue following a collapse, large deep cut against a broken pane of glass, head injury.
If one of us has an unusual or sudden symptom that is distressing, our first port of call (after the internet these days) is the pharmacist. They are superb. Then it could be the GP following their advice. We only ever use A&E for a genuine accident or an emergency.
Sadly there are folk who call 999 for something that can wait until the GP opens tomorrow, for something they are not sure of but it could do with someone taking a look at, for things like prescription meds run- out, like foot blisters, like sunburn. Really??
If an elderly person falls and cannot get up - but has no pain in their limbs or joints, or any injury - is it an ambulance who needs to attend? Does this person need to be seen by an A&E doctor, spend a night in hospital?
What if they are assisted to get up/home/to safety. What if they have no injury, they are just a bit wobbly and could do with a cuppa. What if, after half an hour they are fine?
They just didn't have anyone to help them?
Someone feeling very low, feeling despondent, feeling suicidal. Now this could be an emergency. But is an ambulance what they need? Is waiting for an ambulance then sitting in an ambulance in a queue what they need?
Would a therapist, a psychiatrist, a prescription be more appropriate?
Believe me, I'm not being judgemental.
It's just there is this crisis, and where does A&E begin and end?