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?

Your thoughts?



  1. Something I fail to understand about Britain is the expectations of people. They complain about the hospital transport time to get them to/from the hospital. Er, here in Canada it's up to you to get to the hospital and home for appointments. People in the Arctic get flown down to large cities for specialist care and get assistance with hotels/hostels and transport from the airport to the hostel and then to/from the hospital.

    You get yourself to the Emergency Department. Ambulances cost nearly $400 per trip and if you don't have supplemental insurance, you pay for it. My last trip to Emerg had my husband drive me in during the middle of the night with me vomitting down the side of the car. I would never have dreamt of calling for an ambulance.

    People have the mistaken idea that if you arrive by ambulance you get seen faster. Wrong, you are still triaged by need.

    We get people turning up for prescription renewals because they dont have a family GP. Rather than go to a walk in clinic for a prescription they rock up to Emergency and then complain about the wait.

    1. Superb comment. You are so right - I like the idea of walk-in clinics, and paying for ambulances. We are very lucky here to have the NHS - but it should maybe take on board this idea from Canada.

  2. I totally agree, but some of the problem of people using A&E is that they can't get to see their own GP. I was 90 minutes in the phone one morning before I got to speak to a receptionist to ask for a telephone app. no face to face app. here, The whole NHS needs a shake up and non British citizens should pay, thats part of our failing NHS problem too.

    1. They do Chris,-People%20who%20live&text=They%20will%20be%20charged%20at,the%20UK%20and%20their%20country.

    2. They do Chris,,-People%20who%20live&text=They%20will%20be%20charged%20at,the%20UK%20and%20their%20country.


Post a Comment

Please leave me a message! All comments are moderated.

Popular Posts