If you read my post on Wednesday then you will know that my daughter Star has a fractured wrist. She did it at school by falling up the stairs last week. We thought it wasn’t serious but still took her for medical care on a few occasions. However, our lack of urgency meant that we were not prepared to wait for hours to see a doctor. Until Tuesday, by which time we realised she really did need medical care and I went with her to the hospital well prepared to stay all day if we had to. Now she has a splint and we just have to wait for the fracture to heal. Thankfully, Star doesn’t complain too much, she’s been through a lot worse.
I accept that we, as parents, we mainly to blame for her not getting medical treatment sooner, but we have seen first hand at how fractured the NHS currently is. And more disturbingly, how much worse it’s got in recent years. We, as a family, are more than familiar with hospital waiting rooms, but we have never seen it so bad.
When we arrived at the hospital on Tuesday morning we were there quite early and there was around fifteen children in the waiting room already. Within an hour there were more children than I could count and no seats left to sit down on. When we arrived we were seen by a nurse, in a room, who took Stars details, weighed her, took her temperature and gave her some pain relief. An hour later the same nurse was calling names out for parents to go to her in the corridor and taking just the names of the children and a quick reason why they were there. The waiting room was getting fuller and fuller but the thing I noticed most was how few were being called through to see a doctor. We were there for an hour and a half and I think I heard no more than ten children called through. These were children with different medical issues, so would not all be seeing the same doctors. The board on the wall showed how illnesses and injuries were catagorised and how the more urgent ones would be called through earlier. Earlier still meant at least an hours wait. My heart went out to those poor sick babies who obviously needed help but had to sit around for hours being nursed by stressed out parents.
I can’t blame the hospital, they do a wonderful job, I have nothing but praise for them. But only a week ago a young toddler lost his life at the same hospital because he had not been treated soon enough. Why is it so bad? It’s obvious the staff are working hard, but there really does not seem to be enough staff to cope. The hospital is broken and needs fixing soon before any more young lives are lost.
It’s not just this hospital though, I’ve heard stories of people waiting for hours and hours for treatment from A&E hospitals all over the country. Of course there has always been waiting, but the time left waiting seems to have increased so much more than before. The last thing you want to do is sit around waiting when you are sick or injured. More people are giving up the wait because they feel so ill, then what happens to them if it’s something really serious, there are two options, they die or they require an ambulance which puts even more stress on the emergency department.
Then there are ambulance waits, a friend dealing with a sick old man found in the street had to wait over half an hour for an ambulance to arrive. The man could have died in that time.
Have you had any poor experiences with hospitals lately?