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…