Friday, May 19, 2006

Gale's View - Health Matters

Prime Minister Blair has, we are told, taken personal charge of the Health Service.  Not quite enough charge to personally face the nurses, of course but enough charge to be held responsible for the financial shambles that the "Nation’s Nanny", Patricia Hewitt, has allowed to evolve.

So perhaps Mr. Blair would like to come to East Kent and to visit Fordwich Ward at the QEQM hospital in Margate.  He will find that it is shut.

This has not been the "best year ever" for our Accident and Emergency Services.

I met, recently, with an A&E Registrar from one of the County's major hospitals.  He confirmed my understanding that about 80% of the patients that visit A&E have no need of those services whatsoever and can and should be seen in casualty units, cottage hospitals or, in most cases, by General Practitioners.

Setting aside the after-school "morning after pill" sessions when, apparently, schoolgirls find it convenient to use A&E units as convenient and inconspicuous birth control clinics, many callers are either from overseas and with no culture of the use of General Practice or, more significantly, patients who choose not to wait days for GP appointments or to use the on-call services.

There is, though, a darker side still to A&E known as the "Four-hour breach".

Under Government "targets" A&E patients are required to be seen within four hours and any "breach" of this timescale has to be reported.  Young Senior House Officers, frightened to stand up to the system and relatively inexperienced are prone to make bad decisions in haste.  The more senior Registrars find themselves having to rush or offer inadequate treatment in order to avoid the "breach.

The way round this is, it  seems, is to dispatch patients to wards without appropriate tests having been taken and it is not uncommon for a ward Sister to receive a phone call saying "we are about to breach - will you take this patient within the next 20 minutes".  The half-way measure is to transfer the patient to a CDU unit within the four hours. In this way, technically, they have left A&E even though there is much work still to be done and a logjam further down the line.

All of this information has been given to me by NHS nursing and medical staff who have had enough and are concerned to speak out before patient-care is further compromised.

Is any Minister out there listening?

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

The receptionist at GP surgery at Garlinge told me to go to A and E at QEQM recently as she was unable to offer me an appointment for 5 days.
I didn't think it appropriate to do so and just waited the 5 days until I could see my Dr.
I also didn't fancy waiting around in A and E for hours, last time I went I waited 7 hours, got totally fed up, and limped out and got stitched up by a retired nurse, nice neat job too.

James Maskell said...

I work near to the hospital and I meet nurses who work there from time to time. They seem rather depressed about the changes being forced upon them. Morale is starting to fall I think. People are starting to worry how long their jobs may last.

Im curious as to what the former Minister for Health, Stephen Ladyman, thinks. Unless hes too busy to comment to his constituents on his views about these changes. The QEQM Hospital affects everyone in Thanet, not just the Northern half

Anonymous said...

The former Minister of Health was another incompetent who failed to meet targets concerning review of payments for 'nursing care' being paid by the elderly in homes.

Doesn't this 'must meet the latest policy target' resulting in madness in the NHS have resonance with the Home Office debacle where 'must shift asylum seekers targets' resulted in 1000 convicted criminals being released back on to our streets instead of being deported?
Lets face the fact that incompetence by this Govt is now its trade-mark.

James Maskell said...

I spoke too soon about a former Minister for Health appearing. Caroline Flint, a current Minister for Health came down here this week about sexual health and supporting allotment projects. The Gazette reports this on page 9. I remember it was also mentioned on the radio earlier this week.

Anonymous said...

James, rumour in Westgate is that TDC has covetous eyes on Lymington Road allotments for houses. How does this sit with allotment projects. I note that in Millmead taxpayers money is sponsoring an allotments officer at a ridiculous salary to encourage the poor to grow their own healthy organic food on allotments!

Anonymous said...

James, rumour in Westgate is that TDC has covetous eyes on Lymington Road allotments for houses. How does this sit with allotment projects. I note that in Millmead taxpayers money is sponsoring an allotments officer at a ridiculous salary to encourage the poor to grow their own healthy organic food on allotments!

Anonymous said...

What a shame that veteran local MP, Gale, cannot make a point about any subject without resorting to the cheap tabloid behaviour of his past. If he thinks that gratuitously insulting remarks like "Nation's Nanny" aid his case, then he is undervaluing the intelligence of the people he claims to serve. And the Health Service that he alleges is in such a parlous state did all right for his wife when she was wheeled into the QEQM after deciding to ram a crash barrier in her car a few weeks ago.