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To think the NHS is in meltdown?

(97 Posts)
Notcontent Sat 13-Apr-19 04:58:53

Just had a horrendous experience. Had an accident at home in the evening - lots of blood (head wound). Went to my local A&E as there are no alternatives (no minor injuries walk in clinic or similar). Was told it would be 5 hour wait. Waited for nearly 6 hours only to be told it would be another few hours wait. About 30 people waiting and only two doctors on duty. Central London so very busy. The people doing the triage were referred to as nurses but I don’t think they were - the woman who saw me said she wasn’t qualified to provide an opinion on the severity of it or to put a dressing on. I had to leave without being attended to as I was close to fainting and the environment was terrible - not enough seats, drunk people lying on the floor, etc.

SaxNitMinger Sat 13-Apr-19 05:21:48

Have you managed to get any treatment?

TheQueef Sat 13-Apr-19 05:28:38

A+E at the weekend is a bear pit.

AdamAntsCrackpotHistory Sat 13-Apr-19 06:08:45

So you presented with an obvious head injury and you weren't seen by a doctor, but by someone who felt they weren't able to clinically assist? Jesus. Get on the phone to PALS as soon as possible and keep a close eye on your symptoms and try and ensure someone is with you. If possible get an out of hours doctor appointment this morning. Good luck and hope you get better soon....

Dimsumlosesum Sat 13-Apr-19 06:33:31

They obviously have to prioritise emergencies and didn't view you as an emergency. I remember back when I was younger in a&e waiting 7 hours to get seen to with similar. I wasn't dying, other people were, so they got prioritised.

Collectingcpd Sat 13-Apr-19 06:36:16

Yes, it is, and with people like Adamants around are you surprised?
A 5-6 hour wait is pretty standard in my A&E,it’s longer at the weekend. No seats abailable is normal for pretty much every afternoon. There aren’t enough drs and there aren’t enough nurses and attendance figures have gone up year on year for over a decade. Attracting staff to work in A&E/train as A&E specialists is becoming increasingly difficult - would you want to work in that environment?
You should have been seen by a triage nurse, and if they weren’t nurses they won’t have been referred to as nurses.......we aren’t in the habit of making up names for unqualified people. It isn’t the triage nurses job to tell you how the doctor or ENP (emergency nurse practitioner) will manage your head wound; it’s their job to prioritise your clinical need. If you felt you were close to fainting you should have said. Did you leave with a large head wound that was still bleeding? If you did I’m not sure how you’ve helped yourself as you are going to have to go back or to another A&E and start all over again.
You can write to PALS if you like, but you’ll only be creating more work for an already over worked consultant to sit and write a reply about the busy A&E department that he/she can’t do anything about.

Eslteacher06 Sat 13-Apr-19 06:43:49

My dad in the final stages of cancer was left on a trolley in a corridor for hours because there was no space to assess after a fall after he broke his back. He was neutropenic and had been lying on a main road in the rain for an hour for an ambulance too. Apparently, you only got one if you were bleeding/unconscious/ not breathing. I was beside myself with stress as he could have died of he picked up an infection! (He did 2 months later).

A different hospital I had my baby in was in special measures and you could just feel the panic.

The NHS and the doctors/nurses are amazing but yes, it is completely overstretched.

Collectingcpd Sat 13-Apr-19 07:06:13

Elsteacher I’m really sorry you and your dad had such a dreadful experience.

WheelyCote Sat 13-Apr-19 07:09:35

Dont have anything useful to add otger than A+E are amazing for what tbey do. Its not a plavce id work for love or money.
Nhs is very stretched. Our service is increasingly stretched. Staff not being replaced, not signing off on resources that are needed to do the job whilst an ever increasing not even kidding or exagerating.
I pass A+E multiple times a day and my heart goes out to the people working there.

kbPOW Sat 13-Apr-19 07:12:06

That is what we have all allowed to happen to the NHS.

OneStepSideways Sat 13-Apr-19 07:14:29

I'm sorry you had such a bad experience. A&E gets very busy at weekends and emergencies have to take priority. Did they at least triage you and check your pulse/blood pressure etc?

If your vital signs and pupils are good and you're not confused or showing signs of needing a CT scan, there's not much they can do in A&E other than monitor you. Do you have an out of hours GP you can go to this morning? They can refer you for an urgent scan if you need one.

ukgift2016 Sat 13-Apr-19 07:17:56

The NHS went into red when the Tories came into power. Yet people keep voting them in.

Collectingcpd Sat 13-Apr-19 07:20:50

onestep an OOH GP can not refer a patient for an urgent scan in A&E. They can tell a patient to go to A&E, but the patient will go into the same A&E queue as everyone else. The scan can only be requested by an A&E dr.

kbPOW, yes. Many people expect so much from the NHS and make so little effort to help themselves. And no-one is prepared to accept responsibility for anything....everyone wants someone to blame. It will be gone soon.

YouAlreadyKnow Sat 13-Apr-19 07:21:23

If you were in a “Central London A&E” would you be able to make it to Guys Minor Injuries Unit today? Last time I was there I was seen, treated, referred onwards and out in under an hour. The place was empty, so I imagine that had a lot to do with it.

(Disclaimer: despite what many British people think, speed of care does not equal quality care!)

Eslteacher06 Sat 13-Apr-19 07:21:56

@collectingcpd thank you smile

@kpPow Do you mean this is what different governments and privatisation of services has done?

Collectingcpd Sat 13-Apr-19 07:23:28

ukgift no one political party can save the NHS, it’s too huge a beast. It’s unrealustic to think that any country can continue to fund a healthcare system for free with an ever aging and getting fatter population and ever better science which can cure at exponential cost.

BoobiesToTheRescue Sat 13-Apr-19 07:25:50

That's terrible.
I split my head open on a weekend which needed several stitches because you could see my skull.
I was in and out pretty quick.

I was going to say perhaps yours was a less severe wound, but the person who saw you said they weren't qualified to judge - so how would you know?

If it was my head and my wound [now you have left] I would give a good wash with saline and take a look and see if it needed stitches or could be helped with steristrips.

I would travel further for a minor injuries clinic if not. It might just need a spot of glue.

Hope you're ok.

BoobiesToTheRescue Sat 13-Apr-19 07:26:59

Also err..... can we have a pic?

MarieG10 Sat 13-Apr-19 07:32:50

And meanwhile existing Consultants are now refusing to do any extra hours due to the pension wheeze the Treasury thought up to supertax supposedly "rich" people with pensions.....the result being that ordinary hospital consultants receive tax bills far in excess of the extra payment they receive so they now refuse to do it.

A friend of mine is in that position and she says all her consultant colleagues are. The answer is that they are free to do more private sector work. Completely mad!!

kbPOW Sat 13-Apr-19 07:34:59

@Eslteacher06 yes I mean years of underfunding by the Tories. Labour put more funding into the NHS but also opened it up to privatisation. So yes, it has been brought to its knees. And the effects of Brexit will be (already are) devastating. All public services are on their knees.

Boysey45 Sat 13-Apr-19 07:40:05

Yes that's what its like, you can be waiting for hours and die on a trolley.
My friends Dad had a stroke and she was waiting over 12 hours with him in a corridor.

Seafour Sat 13-Apr-19 07:40:45

I'm so sorry for all of you who have had dreadful experiences of A&E departments some of your stories are distressing to read.

I'm currently in hospital with complications following spinal surgery, I was admitted straight to a ward by my consultant, had surgery the following morning to drain a spinal abscess, 10 days in a critical care bed now briefly in a monitored bay (nurse always present) awaiting more surgery on Monday. I believe when you're very sick the NHS still comes through for us.
The flip side is that I know someone had their op cancelled for my emergency surgery and I feel awful about that, I've been there too and it's soul destroying to get that phone call.
A&E departments get the shitty end of the stick, full of people who could have been dealt with by a GP if only they could get an appointment, have MH illnesses but no support in the community, ditto drug and alcohol problems.
There are examples of really good solutions everywhere, like booze buses in Town & City centres to deal with/rehydrate/patch up the fall out from nights out. A&E departments with adjoining walk in centres to see less urgent cases etc but all operating in isolation, not being rolled out most likely due to budgets under strain.

Oblomov19 Sat 13-Apr-19 07:49:43

What a shame. What a mess. I can't accept that you weren't seen after 6 hours. Come on. That's just not good enough, is it? Not good.

nespressowoo Sat 13-Apr-19 07:51:04

Go to a minor injuries unit

elastamum Sat 13-Apr-19 07:53:27

I think it depends on where and when you are seen. The NHS is under terrible strain and has to prioritise. I was admitted through a very crowded A&E a few weeks ago with a complex fracture. I walked in holding my obviously smashed arm, was seen by the nurse and they came and got me with a wheelchair within 2 minutes. I was in a state and looked terrible, and my care was fantastic. Still off work a month later recovering from surgery, I have nothing but praise for my care.

elastamum Sat 13-Apr-19 07:55:03

We live in the Midlands. Our local hospital is Derby. It is really good.

PatchworkElmer Sat 13-Apr-19 07:59:16

Agreed, OP. Was thinking about this yesterday- I’ve been diagnosed with a stress fracture in my foot. I accept that this isn’t a huge deal in terms of stuff the NHS deals with, but regardless- I am in agony and can barely walk.

The GP went out of her way to avoid prescribing painkillers, gave no advice on bandages except that I ‘absolutely’ need one, and that I should ask in the pharmacy for advice and buy one- predictably, the pharmacy assistant didn’t know what I should be using. I think I might have to go back and ask for painkillers, or maybe even a crutch- I am struggling to parent effectively like this and I’m worried that I’ll do more lasting damage.

I’m fairly certain that 10 years ago, I would’ve been given a dressing, prescribed painkillers, etc...

I’ve really noticed that an ‘unwillingness to prescribe’ in the last year or so, even when (like now) I’ve bought stuff OTC, done all the self-care advised, and am still struggling.

Grumpbum123 Sat 13-Apr-19 08:02:33

And then there is Brexit when we will lose a very high percentage of nurses and won’t be able to replace with homegrown nurses due to the loss of bursary.
I have though had good ED experiences recently including admission for a head injury.

BikeTart Sat 13-Apr-19 08:04:37

Yes it is, yes we are and no I don't think that's going to change.

OhMrTumnus Sat 13-Apr-19 08:06:24

OP, sorry to hear about your experience. I hope you're able to get seen at an OOH practice today.

@Collectingcpd you are spot on.

In addition, I think there needs to be better education or thought going in before deciding whether to go to A&E, that way, people like OP, with a head injury or other life threatening cases could potentially be seen more quickly. I know some people who have called ambulances or gone to A&E for minor ailments, such as tonsillitis or a fever, which should/could be sorted by a visit to a GP/OOH.

Collectingcpd Sat 13-Apr-19 08:07:02

MarieG there was a short thread about exactly that the other day.....but it didn’t last long as no-one cares about the ‘rich’ consultants getting tax bills. As one poster pointed out it will be this that ends the NHS. No consultant working in the NHS who has already worked thousands of hours of overtime for free (because we all do)is going to start doing extra shifts/lists/clinics for free. The shifts in A&E will go unfilled (so the wait will get longer), the additional operating lists /clinic lists will be cancelled so patients will wait longer for those too. If every consultant stops doing one extra session a week the NHS will collapse.

kbPOW Sat 13-Apr-19 08:08:26

^all of these issues are real. But they are not the cause of this situation and some of them are consequences of chronic underfunding and lack of appropriate resources.

WiseUpJanetWeiss Sat 13-Apr-19 08:16:53

Yes it’s on it’s knees. In my job I see the bed state emails of a large teaching hospital and at the moment there’s an alert every day, with tens of people waiting in the emergency department, and over a hundred discharges needed every day. It’s critically under funded for the job we all need it to do, and the crisis in social care causes the system to back up.

Walk in centres have been closed and there’s a crisis in primary care, so everyone ends up in ED, including OP, who seems not to have been an emergency, but had no realistic alternative. Minor scalp wounds can bleed dramatically so it must have been frightening and no wonder you felt faint.

To the PP who said the continuation of the NHS as a free at the point of delivery service is unreasonable, how should healthcare be funded? If we go down the privatisation and/or insurance route this will increase the overall cost, not reduce it, as there will be shareholders and a whole additonal bureaucracy to feed.

Whatever we do, people will end up paying much more either in tax or in insurance premiums. Or they will go bankrupt like in the USA, and die because they can’t afford their medicines.

Yes, I know the US model is not the only one out there, but it’s the one we are sleepwalking into because to move to a European model, or to raise taxes, would require a national conversation that none of our politicians dare have.

OP - hope your head is better today.

crosser62 Sat 13-Apr-19 08:17:11

By 2020.. that’s one year away there will be a shortfall in nurses by 70,000 across the uk.
This is going to get even worse.
No one in their right mind will take on debts of £28k to be spat at, assaulted, verbally abused, complained about and to have to complete mounds of pointless checklists, paperwork and to complete 12 -14 hour shifts with not even a cup of tea, no time for a wee and having to take pain killers for back and foot pain when they get home... to have to go and do it all again another 4/5/6 times in a row as if you don’t go in there will be absolutely no one else to cover.
Being forced to do on call shifts over and above your allocated shifts because more than likely the shit will hit the fan and you will have to go in.. but hang on, if you don’t go in, the nhs will kindly pay you £1.18 per hour to not go in but be on standby even if you had just worked your 5th night in a row last night...
yep, melt down it is.

Collectingcpd Sat 13-Apr-19 08:18:53

kbPOW, please tell me what adequate funding of a healthcare system is? The problem is that it is a bottomless pit, and however you draw the line someone always feels hard done by. The ethics are a minefield.
Should drunk people be charged?
Should limitless IVF attempts be free?
Should we be battling to save a 24 week premature baby who at best is going to have severe brain damage and require life long 24hr care?
Should we be battling to save 95yr olds who live in nursing homes and have dementia?
Should we be spending £100,000 on cancer treatment to give a young mother and extra week of life, most of which will be spent unconscious?
Should the hospital car parks be free?
Should paracetamol be free on prescription?
Should pretty much anyone who claims they have no friends or relatives to collect them get hospital funded transport home?

There is no end to the spending.

TreadingThePrimrosePath Sat 13-Apr-19 08:21:34

It is failing as a system because of abuses, misuses and underfunding.
All the NHS care me and mine have ever received has been magnificent, not just the physical, medical side but the nurture/human support.
But the only way it’s going to survive is if it is able to redefine its purpose, and become an essential health service, dropping all the extra stuff into the private health insurance realm. Able to refuse to deal with non-essential non-emergency demands. With a breathalyser on the door of A&E.
Lack of access to GP appointments is also a huge factor, and has been for years. No effective solution has yet been found and the number of GPs is dropping as numbers of patients rise.
Yet despite this, staff keep going, in the face of ridiculous demands and pressure. At my local hospital, staff pay to park. £1 for every hour. Insane.

PoppyD93x Sat 13-Apr-19 08:22:40

My local hosptial is southmead in Bristol and they are literally amazing!! Never been able to fault them especially a&e. Ive never been in the waiting room for more than an our. If it wasnt for a neurological a&e doctor i doubt I'd be here today. Seriously its a great hospital. Even for a less serious problem like my dp fractured ankle he was still in and out in about 3 hours.

TreadingThePrimrosePath Sat 13-Apr-19 08:24:03

Collectingcpd those are the decisions I’m talking about. If the NHS is to survive as a free service, the answer has to be no.

WiseUpJanetWeiss Sat 13-Apr-19 08:27:34

Oh, and what I actually meant to say was that I was in the ED and than AMU at Wythenshawe hospital last weekend with my elderly mum after a fall.

Everyone we saw, and everyone I spoke to on the phone in the subsequent days, was absolutely wonderful. They were all clearly stretched, but completely committed to getting to the bottom of the issue.

They all (HCAs, nurses, juniors, physios and even the transport co-ordinator) treated my slightly confused mum with great patience and kindness, and preserved her dignity at all times.

This has reminded me I must write to them to thank them. I wish everyone’s experience was consistently as good.

Corrag Sat 13-Apr-19 08:28:24

This is one of the reasons why I get so cross about the whole Brexit shambles. The amount of time, money and effort that has been spent trying to arrange something that we didn't really need to do anyway is staggering. Why couldn't we invest all those resources into improving the NHS? Or any of the many other things that really need fixing?

I wish a political party would have the guys to say vote for us and we'll put your tax up a bit and put every penny of it into the NHS (and mean it!). I'd vote for them in a heartbeat.

Honeydukes92 Sat 13-Apr-19 08:28:38

My DH is a Dr who did his time in A&E but thankfully has moved on to specialise.

To be a Dr (depending on specialty) you need impressive grades, which means about 10% of a nationwide A-level year even stand a chance!

These are VERY intelligent kids, who are presented with a bunch of career options like finance, law, tech and the WORST paid of these is medicine (it’s not seen as the ‘best’ choice). But some (like DH) do it anyway because they want to help people.

Then they get hit with 13 hour days, nights, and get moved around hospitals at the drop of a hat regardless on where their house/spouse are, (DH has been dumped a 2 hour drive from us - 😡 whilst we live opposite his preferred hospital) so settling down/having children is a bloody nightmare.

Meanwhile they watch their peers/ uni friends earn 5x their salary but yet the daily mail (and half the country) winge about the amount Dr’s earn and they get daily abuse from patients who are unhappy with the NHS 🙄🤔 - so people want the ‘best and brightest’ saving your life on an opperating long as they’ll do it for bargain basement prices? 😒

So then they hit 30, wonder why they’re bothering and head abroad to be paid at least 2x as much (often more) and live a family friendly lifestyle of non crazy hours and compulsory moving around.
Fair enough.

But by that point the NHS has ‘invested’ an obscene amount on money in training them up, and it’s gone in an instant because they don’t treat them better 🙄 and they have to start all over again with a graduate who may end up doing the exact same thing!

It seems insane to me, DH has always been loyal as a dog to the NHS, but now we want to have a baby and are both terrified of them dropping him at a hospital 3 hours drive away when we have a tiny baby and my career/our family are all in our home town! (This happened to two of his friends!!!)

He used to work at the hospital opposite us but now they say they say he’s not a ‘priority’ to work there are doesn’t have school aged children 🙄😡 we’re seriously considering a move abroad atm!

PlainSpeakingStraightTalking Sat 13-Apr-19 08:35:43

People like the OP have one bad experience and have a mini melt down that the whole system is in chaos. In short, you are seen in accordance with severity - there were worse people in front of you. People who really were close to or were dying.

Head wounds bleed copiously. They are frightening but cuts are rarely fatal. Unless you were walloped with a lump hammer of course but then you wouldn't be looking at a walk in centre for first choice.

WiseUpJanetWeiss Sat 13-Apr-19 08:36:42

collectingcpd This is the conversation that must be had, that we aren’t having. It is an ethical minefield, but I don’t think it can be shirked. I have my views about each on your list and I suspect we’d agree on most of them, but for ethical reasons as much as financial.

Interestingly, on the transport question, my mum went back to her care home in patient transport when she was ready for discharge 2 days earlier than originally planned. I couldn’t get there quickly enough for the ward (I live and work some tens of miles away and was on public transport that day) and they needed the bed. So it’s really complicated.

WiseUpJanetWeiss Sat 13-Apr-19 08:39:01

*People like the OP have one bad experience and have a mini melt down that the whole system is in chaos. In short, you are seen in accordance with severity - there were worse people in front of you. People who really were close to or were dying.

Head wounds bleed copiously. They are frightening but cuts are rarely fatal. Unless you were walloped with a lump hammer of course but then you wouldn't be looking at a walk in centre for first choice*

This is all true, but the system is also in meltdown.

starzig Sat 13-Apr-19 08:43:04

There should be private accident and emergency clinics that are 24-7, for cases like this. I am sure with these types of queues they would get used, alleviating the NHS a bit. Better still maybe the NHS could have a fast track you pay for to put money back in. It is appalling that people don't have a choice but to sit in this.

CherryPavlova Sat 13-Apr-19 08:45:43

There are certainly pressures but OP was unlucky or it was a very minor issue. Only 12% of people spend longer than four hours in any accident and emergency department nationally.

That is the time from booking in to the time they are discharged. Twelve percent isn’t ideal but most of those have already been stabilised and treated, are on a trolley designed for up to sixteen hours and are just awaiting a bed.

PlainSpeakingStraightTalking Sat 13-Apr-19 08:50:21

@WiseUp - I suppose it would depend on the Trust and area.

My DH is waiting for a heart transplant, if he feels unwell he's blue lighted into RBHT no matter where he is in the country; people we've met have been air ambulanced in from holiday, because they feel a bit under the weather; the NHS has installed a special fridge in my kitchen for his drugs. When he's in hospital, in his single room, with TV and fridge and al a carte menu, I'm allowed to sleep with him.

Your experience of the NHS and mine are very different

Some people will say "what, he gets all that, that's unfair" - well I'd trade his death sentence for your 5 hour wait with a bang on the head.

WiseUpJanetWeiss Sat 13-Apr-19 08:55:27

Those are figures from 2016/17. Current figures are worse and clearly showing a downward trend.

MyLadyDeadlock Sat 13-Apr-19 08:57:38

It will be even worse after Brexit...

KOKOtiltomorrow Sat 13-Apr-19 08:58:31

Part of the problem is that people will happy pay a painter and decorater/plumber/electrician more than a nurse/junior doctor. It's a mind set that is hard to shift. People would be horrified to pay 50 quid to be seen quickly in a private clinic but someone 200 quid to paint their living room - something many people could do on their own quite easily. (Note many - not all).

The NHS has changed massively since it's inception - new drugs, people living much longer therefore more dementia, long term care, technology......we need a culture shift in what should be "free" to support the change. We get free prescriptions in Scotland where I could easily (and happily) pay for mine....that money could be better spent on more deserving issues.

Caucasianchalkcircles Sat 13-Apr-19 08:59:15

Crosser62 agree with you absolutely. I would just add having to do loads of bloody internet training courses - hours of them literally - of no use whatsoever just to tick a box. And if you don't manage in the requisite time because you're too busy or no free computers you can end up potentially not getting your increment !

WiseUpJanetWeiss Sat 13-Apr-19 08:59:38


No, my personal experience has been similar to yours. The quality of acute and critical care has been, from my observation, exemplary.


- routine care is not timely. DH frequently has his hospital appointments and procedures etc. delayed and cancelled. (The quality of care is always great, when he gets there)

- the oveall picture is worsening. Or am I hallucinating the bed state emails most acute Trust staff see most days?

Fiveredbricks Sat 13-Apr-19 09:03:53

Our A&E in Liverpool is fine OP. You're treated in order of priority. The drunks and similar get left waiting because they are not priorities. So you have to sit with them. That is not the NHS, that is idiots going out and getting drunk and going to a&e for a twisted ankle. You weren't dying, you didn't have concussion and you had a cut to your scalp - the scalp bleeds profusely, but not for long. First aid 101, right there.

There were probably people with stab injuries and heart attacks being brought in by ambulance. Unless your scalp was hanging off you were, imo BU to expect anything more.

Maybe complain to PALS about the lack of local urgent care or out of hours... Did you even call 101 before going?

Collectingcpd Sat 13-Apr-19 09:16:14

starzig I completely agree, but you can’t have a ‘proper’ 24/7 A&E without a ‘proper’ full hospital backing it up, and this is where the stalemate is. A proper A&E needs ITU, Paeds, O&G, acute medicine, surgery, T&O behind otherwise where do you send the patients on to? There are a few private A&Es in central London, but really they aren’t much more than a Minor injuries unit with drs and a CT scanner, and often they won’t see children. The private system in the UK isn’t set up for people who are acutely I’ll, it’s set up for well patients who need elective surgery. A step in the right direction would be to have private A&Es sitting beside NHS ones selectively located in affluent areas of the country so you have a choice to wait 5 hours or pay and wait 15 minutes, the same with scans- they private option available at your convenience should be offered as standard. But all the liberals go up in arms at that suggestion because it creates a 2 tier system, yes it does, but in the 2 tier system those who pay get seen super fast and those who can’t afford to pay get to wait, but their wait time is 10% shorter because a % of the waiters have chosen to pay, so everyone overall gets a better deal. But the NHS and private system are so separate that getting anything linked up in between is impossible.

ewenice Sat 13-Apr-19 09:23:06

Totally agree re the private hospitals in UK - the majority don't have an A&E department so any emergencies you have you still have to attend an NHS hospital in the first instance. Then when you are there you can ask to be referred to a private hospital - but in my experience the staff then get very sniffy as if you are suggesting their care isn't good enough rather than realising that a referral to a private hospital frees up a bed for someone else.

Overseas, where we lived for many years, the private hospitals have 24 hour A&E departments with a full hospital to back them up. So much more sensible and if private hospitals in UK worked in a similar fashion it could to a small part help alleviate some of the issues with the NHS.

Seniorcitizen1 Sat 13-Apr-19 09:40:20

A&E is often clogged up with people who should not be there - lots if posts on here asking if should go there with non-energency conditions and nearly always told to go. This means that people like you who are an A&E patient have to wait so long.

ForalltheSaints Sat 13-Apr-19 09:41:41

It would be a lot worse had we had a bad winter.

Whatafustercluck Sat 13-Apr-19 10:06:32

I'm a strong supporter of the NHS and think the staff do an amazing job in difficult circumstances. But I agree it's in meltdown and it's gone too far now to know what to do.

I was at A&E myself 4 Saturdays ago. I'd slipped down the top two stairs at home, rolled over on my ankle and heard a crack. Walk in centre closes at 8pm. Called 111 and was told a doctor would call me back in an hour. More than an hour later I'm still lying there in agony. Luckily dh had some crutches, I was fairly sure it was broken, and I managed to get a taxi to the hospital (there was no way I was going to call 999 for an ambulance). Dh couldn't take me as we have two young children and nobody was free to come and look after them.

Waited 5 hours at A&E and it was an eye opener. Drunks, people who had been in fights, another couple of people with clear mental health issues becoming aggressive - an endless stream of people accompanied by police officers. I'd broken my fibula above the ankle and the care, when I received it, was first rate and the staff were amazing.

Returned to the fracture clinic more than week later and was promptly sent to the ambulatory care unit for a suspected DVT (later confirmed) a couple of days later.

I think they do a marvellous job of treating everyone, regardless of background, in increasingly difficult circumstances. But I've found that if you're treated by different departments, they're over-reliant on patients keeping each department updated as the systems don't seem to speak to one another.

So far I've written off two whole days at the Ambulatory Care Unit, waited for hours and hours for xrays, ultrasounds, blood tests and results. The care, when it happens, is first rate. The communication is horrendous. I've been left wondering how an elderly person with no family support or other vulnerable people such as those with alzheimer's manage when the communication regarding care plans is non existent between different units and patients are left chasing appointments, care plans and medication. But I can't lose sight of the specialist care I received from the people who potentially saved my life by diagnosing the DVT and responded with compassion and sympathy when I broke down in tears with worry and frustration.

Theworldisfullofgs Sat 13-Apr-19 10:10:16

Underfunded. Understaffed.

EU staff leaving - 2 polish consultants I know left last year, for instance.

Nurses no longer get bursaries for training - so less applicants etc.

Pretty awful now.

Southwest12 Sat 13-Apr-19 10:49:58

Last time I was in A&E I was triaged and on a trolley in Majors within half an hour of arriving. Yes I waited about 6 hours for the surgeons to come down but they’d have been busy in theatre and on the wards. I was admitted, CT scan requested the next morning and done that afternoon, and emergency surgery done the following day.

Yes I’ve had some not so good experiences in A&E, waiting six hours in January to be told I was constipated, which is clinically not possible (it was a sub acute small bowel obstruction) but that’s because I have a complex surgical history and sometimes you get a Dr that just doesn’t want to accept that the patient knows more than they do about their condition.

I’ve got lots of surgical trainee/consultant friends and I couldn’t do their job at all. One of them is currently doing a six month rotation in a hospital that’s a good 2 hours drive from home, it’s not overly far miles wise but the motorway traffic is just horrendous. It’s fine if you chose a job that’s two hours from home, but when one minute you’re a few stops on the train, and then the next you are told you’re going two hours away it’s a completely different thing. Or getting stuck in theatre on a case that over runs and getting home 3 hours late.

Notcontent Sat 13-Apr-19 11:24:40

Hi - I have just come back to this thread (OP here).

Obviously none of this is the fault of the NHS staff. And I know that if I had been heaving a hart attack, etc I would have been seen straight away. But that’s not the point - the point is that I did have an injury that should be looked at be a doctor or nurse. And here we are, living in a first world country, where it’s not possible to do that. I am ok - slept for a few hours with a towel on my pillow and the bleeding has stopped.

lljkk Sat 13-Apr-19 11:38:20

Glad you seem to be recovering, OP.
I agree that the NHS is on its knees.

BarbarianMum Sat 13-Apr-19 11:47:10

I dont think it's in meltdown, I just dont think it's that good. Underfunded and poorly managed.

LakieLady Sat 13-Apr-19 12:02:21

The NHS went into red when the Tories came into power. Yet people keep voting them in.


I pointed this out to my Tory-voting SIL when she was complaining about having to wait 90 mins in A&E with her 10yo DS (who only had a sprained ankle anyway). She was adamant that this was NOT what she voted for. She also didn't vote for welfare reform, aka benefit cuts, or slashing local government spending, apparently.

She's 50, ffs, she was voting when Thatcher was last elected, and she still doesn't get it. She's not thick, either.

KissingInTheRain Sat 13-Apr-19 12:15:31

We can have free-at-the-point-of-use healthcare and put up with it being creaky and overstretched.

Or we can have insurance-based healthcare and (I hope) mitigate the damage for the poorest.

I choose the first. But I recognise that the NHS has always been like that and no amount of promises and slogans will change things. As pps have said, it will only get worse because the range and cost of what’s expected will rise and rise.

LakieLady Sat 13-Apr-19 12:16:38

*By 2020.. that’s one year away there will be a shortfall in nurses by 70,000 across the uk.
This is going to get even worse.*

I had grave doubts when they did away with the old training model for nurses and made it a degree-only profession. Then tuition fees and loans and the abolition of bursaries was the last straw. They struggle to take on p/t work because of their shift patterns, so end up worse off than someone doing media studies.

Why would anyone go massively into debt to end up doing such a shitty, stressful job?

My friend's daughter is doing midwifery. They are in the fortunate position of being able to help her financially, and reckon that it will cost them £64k. They even had to get her through her driving test and get her a car, because she's in a geographically large trust with several maternity units, and she wouldn't be able to get to many of them otherwise.

I wonder just how many future health professionals are being funded by family in this way? And I'm delighted that some families are able to do this, or things would be even worse.

Daisychainsandglitter Sat 13-Apr-19 12:25:06

That's what you get when you vote for a Tory government but for some reason people just keep voting them in.

YouAlreadyKnow Sat 13-Apr-19 12:42:05

I had grave doubts when they did away with the old training model for nurses and made it a degree-only profession

Research shows that wards with good staffing of degree educated nurses favours patient outcomes and decreases mortality. Is this really a problem for you?! Why would you not want highly educated professionals looking after you if you have the misfortune to be ill and in hospital?? Absolutely mind boggling. Please do share your ‘grave doubts’, I would love to hear them 😊😊

Theworldisfullofgs Sat 13-Apr-19 13:23:37

Nursing is a much more technical profession - think itu. That's why they need degrees.

BarbarianMum Sat 13-Apr-19 13:55:59

Nursing can be technical but it's also about basic care. The unglamorous stuff that involves cleaning up puke, and dealing with bodily waste and keeping people fed and hydrated and comfortable. And it does seem that that basic willingness to nurse is often lacking in many nurses today.

Grumpbum123 Sat 13-Apr-19 14:00:12

Students are also now like paying customers I’ve had students tell me that as they are paying tuition fees they will not be cleaning up an incontinent patient, touching vomit or doing scheduled shifts they want to choose.
It’s in a sorry state

Polarbearflavour Sat 13-Apr-19 14:01:46

All other HCP such as physios, OTs, speech therapists, radiographers have had degrees for years. Nobody bats an eyelid.

Most countries have university education and degrees for nurses these days.

BasilBrushes Sat 13-Apr-19 14:17:15

Students are also now like paying customers I’ve had students tell me that as they are paying tuition fees they will not be cleaning up an incontinent patient, touching vomit or doing scheduled shifts they want to choose.
It’s in a sorry state

This is very true. Basic nursing care seems to have escaped some students, they see it as beneath them, and some of them need to leave the attitude at home. Anyway all that will be left to the NAs now that training is changing. The new students will be able to cannulate but will they be able to make a bed?

BarbarianMum Sat 13-Apr-19 14:19:49

It's not about not having a degree - or at least I dont think it is - but you need a course that encompasses and includes the routine yet vital caring stuff. Saying "I dont do vomit/incontinence/helping elderly ladies eat their dinner and still qualifying as a nurse shouldn't be an option.

BasilBrushes Sat 13-Apr-19 14:26:06

Saying "I dont do vomit/incontinence/helping elderly ladies eat their dinner and still qualifying as a nurse shouldn't be an option.

As a mentor I just wouldn’t tolerate that. You either do that and realise that nursing is about all patient care, or you can go home.

Collectingcpd Sat 13-Apr-19 14:27:33

Very true about students. I asked oneto make a trolley up for me (while I went to get the patient from the waiting room). She said to me “the linen cupboard is over there”. This isn’t about pulling rank (I’m a consultant), it’s about working as a team. I make up trolleys every single shift (no I don’t think it’s a good use of my time or expertise but if I was to wait until the trolleys were made up I’d probably never see any patients). This particular student clearly thought making up a trolley was beneath her.........but it was ok to make the consultant do it hmm.

NoBaggyPants Sat 13-Apr-19 14:32:33

A&E is often clogged up with people who should not be there - lots if posts on here asking if should go there with non-energency conditions and nearly always told to go.

Because it's near impossible to get a GP appointment in a timely fashion. Lack of GP services means minor issues becoming far more serious, or having the potential to become so, hence people turning up at A&E.

justasking111 Sat 13-Apr-19 14:40:50

My friend has worked in reception for a private clinic for a number of years. They now have a much longer waiting list to be seen because so many people who are retired with a downsized home cash pot have given up on the NHS. She says the reception is rammed every day with people waiting to see consultants.

Our GP`s now ask as a matter of course when referring to a consultant if a patient has private cover. They are happy to write a referral letter.

So to answer the OP yes in our area the NHS is in melt down.

Grumpbum123 Sat 13-Apr-19 14:43:50

Believe me I don’t tolerate students telling me that

Kolo Sat 13-Apr-19 14:46:47

Yes, the NHS is on its knees. The biggest reason for this is lack of funding, to the NHS and to other public services. The nhs is more and more frequently being forced into using resources to deal with problems that are down to cuts to MH services, social care etc. Beds are being kept full as social services don’t have the resources to care for a vulnerable elderly person, for example. Ambulances and a&e are using up time on people in MH crisis, because there’s nowhere else for that person to turn. People are turning up at a&e because they are scared and not able to get an appointment with their GP for 3 weeks.

It’s a despicable situation, and we should be furious at the gvt for all these cuts to nhs, police, social services, mh services.

For what it’s worth, I’ve had some very differing experiences in a&e. Last year, when my son was very seriously ill, the staff noticed immediately and all the resources were directed straight to us to enable my son to eventually recover. A couple of weeks ago I took the same son to the same a&e on a Friday evening with a bump on his head, and we had to wait for hours and hours, because we weren’t priority. I think it should be better, but in the current climate, I’m happy to wait in a place where I trust that there’s lots of care and skill and who will notice and take action if my child deteriorates. If they’re busy with priority cases, I’ll just wait our turn knowing we’ve been the priority before.

NaturatintGoldenChestnut Sat 13-Apr-19 14:47:20

The NHS went into red when the Tories came into power. Yet people keep voting them in.

This. 100%.

justasking111 Sat 13-Apr-19 14:53:04

Everyone blaming the tories, they are not in charge in Scotland, Wales or N. Ireland, yet it is still in such a mess in those places. I was following a story of a pregnant mum in Scotland in here recently, her ongoing fight with the NHS and a high risk pregnancy was frightening.

It is much bigger than this imo.

Jayblue Sat 13-Apr-19 14:57:31

I do agree the NHS is really struggling right now, and there has been a lot of short-sightedness in terms of staff recruitment (both doctors and nurses). A lot of out of hours services have been shut down or are not 24 hours, which doesn't help reduce the strain on A and E. The lack of GP appointments also doesn't help as people's complaints may get worse before they can be seen, or they may feel they can't wait for an appointment to be available.

I will admit to having recently gone to A and E for something probably not A and E worthy, but despite living in a major city, there were no out of hours services available and I was in a huge amount of pain on a Sunday and really felt unable to wait 24 hours to see a doctor (assuming I could even get an appointment on the Monday). I expected to have a long wait, but was actually in and out within 3 hours.

IMO, we could easily fund a proper NHS still, if that was our priority as a country. If health and social care was also properly funded, that would help massively, as it would take the strain away from hospitals and mean that less people got into crisis in the first place. There might also be some places for bringing in charges such as charges for missed appointments or fines for violence against staff.

I do think that the tories have been very successful in making the narrative one of "we can't possibly pay for X, Y or Z", but I don't think that's true. If we weren't wasting billions of pounds on Brexit, for example, and if we decided on our priorities as a country, we absolutely could still fund the NHS, especially if there was more joined up thinking, rather than just slashing everything to the bone and leaving the NHS to pick up the pieces.

adayatthebeach Sat 13-Apr-19 15:05:34

PlainspeakingStraightTalking I guess you’d of told Natasha Richardson “oh it’s just a bump”. hmm

KissingInTheRain Sat 13-Apr-19 15:11:01

There’s a good argument for taking money out of the NHS and spending it elsewhere: legal aid, the prison service, childcare, schools etc. A lot of the social problems we have, that lead to physical and psychiatric problems, are caused by a dearth of general social support.

But while the gaping maw of the NHS is open we’ll keep shovelling money into it.

But then things like the parole service, anti-drugs programmes, day centres for the elderly and legal aid in the family courts aren’t as catchy topics as A&E waiting times.

Polarbearflavour Sat 13-Apr-19 15:11:51

I’ve been a student nurse (degree) and I would never had dreamed of saying no to bed making etc. Most of my time on placement was spent being an unpaid HCA.

A student who refuses to clean vomit and deal with bedpans won’t pass training. My student placement book was filled with tasks like helping patients with essential care which had to be ticked off my by mentor. And signed.

As far as a know, students aren’t allowed to canulate. We weren’t!

GregoryPeckingDuck Sat 13-Apr-19 15:14:45

This has been the case for years. Too many users not enough funding. People either need to pay more or accept that the NHS can’t offer comprehensive treatment. A&E is absolutely the last area where these kinds of cuts should be made because there is no private alternative. There might be money in starting one though. Anyone want to go splitsies on find a private minor injuries with me? We’ll make a fortune.

Grumpbum123 Sat 13-Apr-19 15:16:49

I find it even scarier the suggestion that some students could come out as prescribers something that shouldn’t be undertook until you’ve a huge amount of experience. For instance I work as a nurse specialist and it took 7 years before I could be sponsored to do my independent prescriber course which was eventually sponsored by a drug company the idea that students may be able to prescribe independently (remember this means everything except anabolic steroids) is truly frightening

Thelovecats85 Sat 13-Apr-19 15:17:55

It depends on the hospital and the time. My ds has had few A&E admissions and they have always been very good. But he is a vulnerable child and is always seen as a priority.

I've also attended A&E after falls and always been treated well and seen in a decent time frame.

We have had major problems with operation waiting times, joined up care and different hospitals communicating with each other though.

BasilBrushes Sat 13-Apr-19 15:18:37

As far as a know, students aren’t allowed to canulate. We weren’t!

The new students will, look at the how student training is changing along with the nursing associates and the new NMC standards. They will be qualifying with new skill sets.

LesLavandes Sat 13-Apr-19 15:38:19

I think children get seen quicker

Polarbearflavour Sat 13-Apr-19 16:24:23

I’ve heard numerous times that nursing associates / assistant practitioners will be the bulk of nursing staff going forward. Supported by healthcare assistants with a band 5 staff nurse on each shift to co-ordinate. I wonder if they will have band 4s doing medication next!

After all, cheaper to pay band 4s and with the growing shortage of registered nurses maybe that will be the next plan.

Grumpbum123 Sat 13-Apr-19 17:57:33

When I qualified we were just getting rid of the enrolled nurse, those who did everything except drugs..... oh look we are back there again with nursing associates

BasilBrushes Sat 13-Apr-19 20:19:39

That’s exactly what it’s going back to. You’ll have one or two qualified nurses on shift and the rest will be NAs and HCAs.

PlainSpeakingStraightTalking Sat 13-Apr-19 20:35:18

The NHS went into red when the Tories came into power. Yet people keep voting them in.

Bollox. Sorry but bollox. you get what you vote for and apparently some fuckwits voted for Tony Blair and his magic PFI schemes - which caused this poxy mess (and in schools too). My local trust pays back 50% of its government funding in PFI interest. This IS NOT a conservative driven issue.

Typical Labour, borrow borrow borrow until bankrupt, then complain that the belts have to be tightened.

Tony Blair is following in the footsteps of John Prescott and Gordon Brown, who have already insisted PFI is speeding up the construction of new schools and hospitals.

It is time to acknowledge that the 1945 settlement was a product of its time and we must not be a prisoner of it

Tony Blair
The persuasion effort comes as unions demand a temporary halt to all new PFI projects while an independent review is carried out.
Mr Blair is launching a pamphlet on Friday to trumpet the merits of using private money to fund new hospitals and schools and stresses that unions will not be allowed a veto on public service reform.
Even more must be done to encourage private companies to become involved in providing public services, he argues.
Trapped warning
Mr Blair insists that hospitals and schools being built under PFI are being delivered on time and within budget.
His pamphlet has been published in the Guardian newspaper.
In it, Mr Blair warns: "Only if we make the necessary changes to our public services will we be able to say this Labour government lived up to the high ideals and practical achievements of the government of 1945.

bananasandwicheseveryday Sat 13-Apr-19 20:54:12


I think children get seen quicker

I'm not sure they do. At least, not at our local a&e.

A little while back DIL took dgs to the gp who was sufficiently worried about him to give DIL a letter to take him straight to a&e to be seen by a paediatrician. We arrived at a&e and joined the queue for triage. We waited in that queue for an hour and a half. As did the week old twins immediately in front of us, along with their mother who was seven days post caesarian. After being triaged, we were sent through to children's a&e, where there were two people in front of us. We waited another hour and forty five minutes to be triaged by that department. And then the long wait to be seen by a doctor. So, another hour or so. And when the doctor finally arrived, she got arsey with DIL about the gp letter. And to cap it all, because this eight month old baby could not produce a urine sample on demand (dehydration and not eating or drinking was the reason he was there), the doctor eventually (at 3:30 am) told DIL and DS to take dgs home and if no improvement the next day, to bring him back! So they had been there nine hours by the time they left. And during this whole time, one of the two patients who had been waiting ahead of us, was still waiting. He had been waiting since 3pm for someone to put a cast on the arm he had broken that afternoon.

I sincerely hope that this was just a one-off poor experience, but I fear it is all too commonplace.

Sedona123 Sat 13-Apr-19 22:59:24

PlainSpeakingPlainTalking - great post. Labour's PFI deals are killing the NHS.

Our local hospital has a new PFI wing which opened in 2010. Cost £148 million to build, but will have cost taxpayers £766 million when the contact finally ends in 2043. That's about £23 million per year that the hospital has to pay before budgeting for anything else.

The hospital is completely crap too. Massive problem finding a parking space, then inside the most enormous wide corridors (about 8 metres wide!), and the tiniest waiting rooms and toilets. How on earth anyone looked at the plans and thought they were a good idea, I have no idea. Clinics tend to run at least 2 hours behind too.

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