ACCIDENT and emergency departments can no longer cope with all the patients referred to them.
Waiting time in A&E has steadily increased, and patients who require admission cannot be placed in an appropriate ward because a half to a third of beds in the NHS have been closed. The nurses who ran these wards are no longer employed and so there is a massive shortage of nurses.
The hospital managers are now looking for nurses in Spain and Portugal. The solution is fairly straightforward.
1. General practitioners should return to seeing and treating their patients again at nights and at weekends. This can be organised on a rota basis in a multi-practitioner medical centre. Mid Yorkshire Hospitals have a catchment of 500,000 patients. There are 71 GP practices with about 350 GPs. That is 1,600 patients each.
2. A&E for accidents and dire emergencies only. It is in the name. In A&E the initial diagnosis must made by the Consultant, some urgent treatment can then be started. The patient must then be referred to the appropriate ward as soon as possible and not left in an ambulance or a hospital corridor. All the closed wards in hospitals must be reopened for patients. This means the nurses and the medical staff who ran these wards must be reemployed.
3. Triage in A&E must be done by a Consultant and not by an admissions clerk a nurse or a junior doctor.
4. All the above can be costed by removing most of the management staff who have run the NHS into the ground.
The hospital managers are now saying there are too many old people with multiple illnesses.
That is what happens as you get older. Also, as you get old, you become less able to care for yourself, therefore you have to be admitted until you recover or die.
Maybe the hospital management are thinking of an assisted suicide ward! This will be debated in the House of Lords in the near future.
I am a retired Consultant Surgeon and part of my training was as a Casualty Officer under Sir Frank Houldsworth in Sheffield. The opinions I give above are not just my own but also from many of my colleagues and many patients.
From: Hilary Andrews, Nursery Lane, Leeds.
I TOTALLY agree with Andrew Vine (The Yorkshire Post, January 6) that most of the unprecedented use of the NHS emergency departments is due to unnecessary visits by people who do not have an emergency medical condition, and should really be treated elsewhere or not at all in the case of self limiting illness.
I qualified in 1963 and at that time it was quite acceptable for a person attending A&E unnecessarily to be told to go away. Indeed I did it many times myself.
I don’t think that today’s doctors would be confident to do this as there is always the constant threat of being sued for negligence,
The NHS problem will never be solved until people learn to take some responsibility for themselves. Otherwise the country will not be able to afford to bring in the newer treatments for cancer, heart disease, diabetes etc which are highly effective but costly.
From: Wendy Abbott, Boulsowrth Avenue, Hull.
AS the Labour Party intends to make the NHS the priority of their general election campaign (The Yorkshire Post, January 5), I thought it would be interesting to go back and recall Tony Blair’s speech on the eve of the 1997 general election when he told voters “they had 24 hours to save the NHS”.
Presumably he believed he was the man who would achieve this, and yet the NHS budget tripled under his administration. Recent reports tell us the NHS is seriously underfunded, so it seems reasonable to ask where did all the money go during their 13 years in office? It would appear we are no worse off now than when the Labour government was in control of the purse strings.
At least David Cameron is trying his best to clear the deficit which I hasten to add he inherited.
From: Coun Colin Challen (Lab), St Sepulchre Street, Scarborough.
I WONDER if the closure of Scarborough’s walk-in health centre last October (The Yorkshire Post, January 6) had anything to do with the winter A&E crisis at Scarborough hospital? No, of course not! Silly me!
From: Brian H Sheridan, Redmires Road, Sheffield.
I READ with great interest Andrew Vine’s experience of an A&E when accompanying a friend who had taken a nasty fall (The Yorkshire Post, January 6). Some of the selfish idiots he observed shouldn’t even have gone to a GP, never mind hospital.
It’s not just A&E departments. The NHS is abused from top to bottom by patients who waste doctors’ time and taxpayers’ money. I would stick my neck out and guess that 75 per cent of a GP’s time is taken up by a minority of the people on their books who routinely show up whether they have worrying symptoms or not.
The National Health Service was not intended for hypochondriacs and lonely hearts. And perhaps it was conceived at a time when people were not obsessed by their rights at the expense of their responsibilities.