Not There

It was rather stupidly busy last night, not helped by the fact that there were only four ambulances available on our complex after 3am – instead of the nine we should have running. It also wasn't helped by there being (London-wide) 800 calls between midnight and 7am. You know it's getting bad when a job that has been categorised as a 'Cat A – Choking' isn't sent down to an ambulance for an hour. Not to worry though, it wasn't really a choking, it was a sore throat – and thankfully Control realised this and didn't send us flying down there when there were more serious cases to be dealt with. We personally dealt with 14 calls during our 12 hour shift, and were bleedin' knackered by the end of the shift, but none of our calls were too serious – mainly babies vomiting and maternataxis with an occasional side dish of alcoholics and drunken fights.
We did get the occasional comment that I love, “Don't take me to Newham hospital, it's crap!”.

For some reason people only seem to remember the bad stories that they read in the local newspapers (which are, as personal experience can attest to, often wildly inaccurate). Patients (but more often their relatives) also seem to think that they will be waiting longer at Newham than they will at the Royal London. I take great pleasure in telling these people that the government has set a four hour limit from admission to either treatment and discharge, or to being admitted to a hospital bed.

Newham gets more than 96% of patients seen and sorted out by this time limit, and those that go over this limit rarely take longer than an extra hour.

The care for the patient, with the exception of serious head trauma, is essentially the same regardless of which hospital they go to – and should I ever need A&E treatment, I'd be more than happy to attend Newham.

The Royal London is a good hospital, but it's not the be-all and end-all, your local hospitals are also often very good.

And the receptionists at Newham let me give them hugs…

5 thoughts on “Not There

  1. We heard bad things about Newham General too, but our second baby was delivered there, and we had great care throughout my wife's pregnancy including a very worrying amneocentisis test and the drama of having to deliver our own baby in the corridor – nobody's fault she just came quicker than expected. Our son was also an outpatient with the eye specialist and I was very impressed with the patience and care with which he was treated. So we have no worries about being taken there.

  2. Round our patch – there are two local hospitals: Edgware and Northwick Park. A few years ago (before the closure threat controversies of Edgware – which has since become known as a “community” hospital) it was Northwick Park that was referred to as “crap” compared to Edgware. Since Northwick Park is one of London's “uber” hospitals – I wonder if you hear anything about it nowadays in your network of chit-chat?

  3. But you can't blame people for believing what they hear. After all we don't all have inside knowledge. All we know is all the stories about the girl given the laughing gas or when Newham General was on the regional news for having the longest waiting times in London.And okay maybe all that isn't true after all (?) but most people only know what they see in the news.


  4. Oh dear, you don't actually believe the propaganda do you? 96% seen within 4 hours? The vast majority of trusts will fiddle this in any way they can just to strive for the meaningless 3 star rating, as so graphically illustrated on BBC's drama “Bodies” last night. They drag every hand in they can, waste money on expensive extra agency staff, cancel electives so there's no waiting for a bed, have senior managers maintaining a presence – all to meet the target on the week when the pre-arranged audit is due. After that, it all goes back to normal: people stacking up in corridors on trollies etc. A recent BMA study exposed these shifty practices. Evereyone knows it goes on – all the figures are “massaged” in whatever way they can be. That's why there's such a discrepancy between what the government is saying and people's actual experience.


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