This morning on the news I heard about the sad death of a lady waiting in an ambulance queue outside a hospital in Wales and it got me thinking.
Several questions came to mind, and I’ve listed them here with my opinions – you may not agree with my conclusions – but at least I may have got you thinking about the problem.
When I was younger most hospitals had an Accident and Emergency Department, specialised maternity units and geriatric hospitals probably didn’t, but nearly every general hospital had one. They patched you up and then either discharged you, admitted you or sent you on to a bigger hospital with more facilities.
Whichever route you as a patient took, you were patched up; in other words for 90% of all cases you were treated so that your life was no longer in danger, some obviously were too ill or injured and would die no matter what. But – you were treated in a local hospital, and felt safe.
Now the first task is to find a hospital with A&E facilities, and then wait to be allowed in or sit in a chair for hours because the staff will be trying to cope with patients from an area that is many times bigger than the department was designed for.
The staff are overworked and because they are trying to deal with every emergency you can imagine, they can make mistakes – not their fault because they don’t always have the time to deal properly with each case before rushing on to the next.
The excuse the government have come up with for these centralised A&E departments is that they will be centres of excellence – but is that really the reason?
Many hospitals are in debt, see my post on the private finance initiative – http://wp.me/pI5wB-bf – this means that many hospitals have had to cut back on their main reason for existing, caring for sick people because the interest payments are so high that if the lenders were payday lenders they may have been investigated!
This PFI has been in existence in the last few governments, so all parties are to blame for not putting a stop to it – meanwhile the fat cats get richer and the rest of us suffer!
To hide this debacle, some bright spark seems to have come up with closing a large number of A&E departments and calling the ones that remain open “centres of excellence”, thus saving money.
How can a centre of excellence be called that when it can’t cope with the numbers coming through its doors?
It’s not a centre of excellence it is a centralised mistake that needs to be put right now!
It’s time to reopen all A&E departments, employ enough staff to cope and to cut the extortionate interests rates paid from our NHS funds to the private financiers who are lining their pockets at the cost of our health.