Under Pressure

Red at hospital.JPGRemember I was telling you about the new function on our display terminals in the vehicles, the one that counst how long you have been at hospital? This is a picture that my crewmate took while I was away playing on the FRU the other day. It shows that she was waiting to hand over their patient for two hours.

It's been crazy the last few days – we leave the station at the start of our shift to attend to a patient who has been waiting for us to start work. Then we spend the rest of the day out, running from patient to patient. While doing my paperwork at hospital or on the way to a patient all I've heard is our dispatchers doing 'general broadcasts' to see if there are any ambulances available to attend to the 'many emergency calls across the sector'.

It's not even your usual winter pressures – I'm yet to see much of the traditional winter illnesses. It's not like there is a sudden increase in 'flu' cases, there hasn't been an outbreak of Norovirus. It's been the usual run of people with chest pains, old people collapsed, drunks, abdominal pains – all the usual stuff, just much more of it.

I was speaking to a hospital site manager the other day, she agreed that there isn't any apparent reason for the increase in people coming to hospital. It's the normal stuff, just more of it.

So we have been waiting at the hospitals, which have been filling up with patients – this means that patients have been waiting for ambulances.

Which was why an lovely old fella was waiting for an ambulance for an hour on the floor of a shop with a broken hip.

Then he had to wait for two hours on an ambulance trolley in order to be handed over to the hospital.

I can't see a solution to this – there will always be periods where more people need emergency healthcare. While I think that we should have more ambulances – this isn't a solution to these short term increases in demand.

Hopefully it'll be better in a few days.

I was spoken to by a reporter from 'The People' newspaper in order to get my comments on the winter pressures. I explained that, as an organisation, we have a pretty good process in place to deal with the demand. As pressure increases we do various things to increase the number of ambulances on the road. Overtime also becomes available – which is nice for us poorly paid people.

The strange thing is that the day after the People article (by Tom Carlin) is published, an very similar article is front page news in the Daily Express. This article is by Mark Reynolds, and contains the same quotes (and a fair bit of the same sentences). Except that they misattribute comments from a nurse as comments from me.

Isn't this plagarism? Or just the 'echo chamber' that blogs are often accused of being.

Have a look and decide for yourself –

Original article in The People.

Second article in the Daily Express. (The comments to that article are both scary and hilarious)

Finally – I managed to persuade my brother to buy himself a Macbook Pro (better than my Macbook, the swine! The next person to say that teachers are paid rubbish will get a severe talking to from me). It was a right struggle to get him to open his wallet – but he's now really rather glad that he did. It especially made an impact as to how easy it was to set the Mac up with his home network as opposed to the swearing I was doing trying to get his Vista machine to work.

Does anyone have any 'killer apps' that they would like to suggest? He's impressed with the ease of Handbrake and iSquint to get video ready for his iPhone. I've already got him admitting that Quicksilver is 'greased loveliness' and he has Delicious library installed but I'd love to hear what other people are using.

21 thoughts on “Under Pressure”

  1. It would help a great deal if certain patients didn't insist on going to hospital, when they have no obvious need to. Also, some of the feedback I am getting from crews on my sector is that the staff on reception at certain hospitals are actively ignoring ambulance crews, and dealing with “self presenters” first. And the final insult: a week or so ago, one of “my” hospitals was having serious delays of up to two hours due to lack of staff and no beds. So what did the staff at the hospital do to alleviate the problem? Yup – they all stopped work and had a mass meeting to discuss the problem. That really helped!

  2. Ah, as a mac convert of three years (does that make me sound like I just stood up at an AA meeting, “Hi my name's… and I'm a mac convert”. Anyhoo… as a mac convert, I can name a few apps that vary from Uber cool to pretty cool:Toast – a must have for DVD / CD burning, it can do converts to Div x as well (it's not freeware, but cheap and well worth it)

    VLC – It's a video and audio player (free)

    DivX – Codec pack (a must have for people using quick time) get the free pack

    Flip for Mac – Windows media player for mac, freeware

    Witch – Allows you to do an alt + tab style feature that you get with Windows, only miles better (a draw back with the apple key + tab function is that it doesn't show each instance of the window, witch allows you to do that)

    Startup Sound – To mute the start up bong which can annoy people to death, mutes the sound but not your laptop

    Growl – a notification tool which is quite handy, but can be a little fiddly to set up

    Little Snitch – an additional firewall app, if you don't feel the inbuilt Mac tool is good enough (you have to pay for this)

    Adium – Chat client for all the fav chat formats (although I hear on the grapevine… i.e. their website… that Trillian are going to do a Mac client.. w00t!!) (Freeware)

    Coverscout – Plug in for iTunes that scouts Amazon and the web for all your missing album covers, not free but totally worth it.

    Chicken of the VNC – VNC application (for you lazy gits like me)

    Instant Shoot – Screen capture software (for screen shots, very cool little tool) Freeware (I think)

    PopChar – Like character map in Windows, very useful as I can never remember the control key to get a hash symbol

    Transmit – Best FTP tool for the mac by a long shot, not free but worth buying

    Speed Download – Useful download manager, but not free, I like it but it's a personal choice

    iView Media Pro – Not free but it's a step up from iPhoto, which is a great basic app, but it's missing some functionality I find.

    If you're a Safari user as opposed to a Firefox user, check out Pimp My Safari website, it's full of very handy plugins.

    Right, got to go do some packing, hope this helps.

  3. Mac killer apps.Most of it is in there already! The bundled stuff is good.

    Add Open Office (or pay for MSOffice for Mac)

    BUT, above all, get GraphicConverter from LemkeSoft. Its shareware (and works OK without paying a penny) it's wonderful when you pay the $25 odd to licence/ unlock. I (just as one e.g.) use GraphicConverter to download/ manage pictures direct from my Canon digicam, in prefernce to either iPhoto or the Canon software.

    GraphicConverter – get it, you'll not regret it.


  4. Quicksilver is indeed greased loveliness.The only thing to add to what's been mentioned above would be Shrook, if you're an RSS nut like myself – I'm subscribing to upwards of 20 feeds including this one, and it's an elegant and simple way of organising everything. And free.Quick note to say I'm greatly enjoying the blog – read part of the book on the recommendation of my best friend Richard (I understand you speak to him on occasion – erstwhile of Hampshire Ambulance and a Johnner). Certainly not regretting doing so. Keep it up.

  5. NeoOffice is a must – it's OpenOffice without the need for X11. Not the fastest loading app out there but it does the job…for free!By far the 'killer'est app I've seen for a while is Sailing Clicker (for Win & Mac). Unfortunately not free and doesn't work on all phones but basically lets you control your Mac over your phone via Bluetooth.

    Home Zone (google “home zone mac”) is a stripped down free version of this which runs specific actions when you're phone enters or leaves detection. Currently a beta but is working great for me – switches on screensaver and pauses iTunes when I leave/stops screensaver and resumes iTunes on my return.

  6. I thought Emergency Medical Practitioners and thier assistants were relieving the pressure on ambulance crews and A&E departments?

  7. As a University student i know a fair bit about plagarism (rules my bloomin' life… have to cite EVERYTHING) and that seems to me to be nicking and rearranging your words. So yep, would appear to be plagarism. Don't quote me on that, mind 😛 Love the blog Tom, have been reading this and your book for a while now. Keep up the good work, as ever! 😀

  8. Seems to be the same all over – Good Hope Hosp W.Mids (locally known as God help) had to close it's doors the other day as packed to the rafters.

  9. Heh – got to love the clipboard brigade.To be honest – if I was waiting two hours to hand over a 'walking wounded' I'd send them outside to book in themselves, it's probably quicker and frees me up a bit sooner.

    I hate waiting for handover, and while this action would leave me open for suing, at least it'd free me up for a decent call that bit quicker.

    The problem is when you have someone on your trolley.

  10. We had that situation up here in the Midlands too. Apparently there had been an outbreak of Norovirus and some wards are being shut in one hospital (Sutton Coldfield) as above mentioned. What actually happens then when a ward is shut? Do the nurses e.t.c stay to look after the patients but don't go to any other wards in the hospital so it doesn't spread?First time commenter, very long time reader o_o

  11. if he's a teacher i hope he bought it online and got the edukashunal discounterm…software

    Office – 2008 comes out soon, can get it cheap via the NHS, like for 20

    Journler – fab bit of software, diary, PIM, fileing , blog

    schoolhouse – good for students and teachers

    Reader Notifier – if he uses google Reader as RSS feed

    Google notifier for Gmail/Calender

  12. First comment but thought I'd say we have been somewhat busy in Berkshire this last couple of weeks as well. Generally and hour to an hour and a half bed wait and no meal breaks………I guess not as bad as you guys – and having done a blue light transfer from Ascot to St Thomas's on Wednesday – I don't know how you do it, how do you get anywhere in the traffic….???!!


  13. I think NewsFire is the king of RSS on the mac.BluePhoneElite does some pretty funky things with your mobile via BlueTooth.

    If you ever use FTP, CyberDuck is nice.

    Finally, anyone with a Mac should get themselves an external hard disk and make use of Time Machine (included in OS X 10.5/Leopard) if they don't already have a backup system in place. TM is idiot proof.

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