With media reports of long waiting times and targets for appointments , consultants and operations not being met, to say nothing of underfunding, the NHS is not always given the credit it deserves by the press.
Mistakes are, of course occasionally made, but my own recent experience has shown that when a genuine emergency arises, the NHS will come up trumps.
My story is not the most important but the journey through the care is. Briefly, an infection unluckily brought me down with a swelling of the airway and vocal chords. My first port of call was the Walk-In care centre by Hastings station (due to be moved to the Conquest, but, after protests, this decision is being reviewed – ed.). The following day (a Saturday), with the infection getting worse, I phoned 111. Two discussions later and a prescription was at boots.Too late though, as by Sunday I was in bad shape and drove to A and E at the Conquest. It was busy but once in the cubicle the team’s professionalism kicked in and recognised the danger I was in. Within 3 hours an ambulance had dropped me at ICU Eastbourne. I can’t thank them enough.
Everybody who is ill obviously feels anxious yet the multi cultural team in A and E as well as the ICU team were wonderful, supportive and encouraging. Here each person is supervised individually until moved to the ward. In all of the teams, however busy, I found there was a camaraderie that went beyond status of the staff. What was appalling talking to staff, nurses, Health Care assistance, charge nurse and sisters was that they do a 12 hour shift at night or during the day and only get 1-hour break, during which they are not being paid. Because of the work load they have decided to split this into two 1/2 hour breaks, morning and afternoon. The same goes for the Ambulance men.
While it is of course very sad when something goes wrong, we should remember just how many individuals go through each ward and get better through the marvellous care and commitment of the work force. Money is tight. we know, but the managers and those above them should not forget who is doing the real work on the floor.
Yes, the NHS does need more investment from Central Government as the population gets older and everyone has more expectations about being kept alive in a meaningful way. However, any cuts necessary should be across the the board not just at the point of patient care.
Congratulations are due to East Sussex Health Care NHS Trust for not only moving out of Special Measures but at the same time providing an excellent service.
Image Credits: Heidi Foster.