Queen's Hospital in Romford is closed
King Georges Hospital, a bit closer to my station is closed.
Whipps Cross hospital remains open for more of the day, but then closes.
Newham, Homerton and the Royal London are now the only hospitals in East London accepting patients.
Queen's and King Georges being closed in the east means that ambulances local to them are bringing patients to Newham.
Crews local to Newham (i.e. me) are being told to take patients to either the Homerton or to the Royal London.
I don't know what crews local to the Homerton or Royal London are being to to do.
I pick up a patient a stone's throw from Newham hospital, he has chest pain that could be cardiac in nature. I have a bit of job persuading him to come to hospital, but he finally agrees that the only definitive test is some blood tests.
As directed I contact Control to see where I should take him. They tell me to go to the Royal London hospital.
I tell the patient – he gets off the trolley and walks out of the ambulance, he doesn't want to go to that hospital and I had a hard enough time getting him to agree to go to the local hospital.
I complete my paperwork and then fill out a clinical incident form. If he drops dead it'll be me in front o the coroner, not my bosses.
I spoke to one of the crews that is local to Queens hospital, they tell me that the A&E department is full of patients from last night. They are still waiting to go up to the wards to get the treatment that they need.
But there aren't enough beds.
Queen's hospital was only built in the last two years – you'd assume that it would have been designed and funded to meet the needs of the local people.
I can understand why the A&E closes, it's a clinical risk to be so overcrowded.
But it's also a clinical risk to be driving patients across London, it's a clinical risk to have patients decide that they want to stay at work rather than be driven miles to a strange hospital.
It's a clinical risk that I can't take a patient who has multiple problems that the local hospital knows all about to that hospital (although in that case I successfully argue my case with Control, at least I think I do, they don't reply after I tell them why I'm going to the local hospital instead of one unfamiliar with my patient).
I'd say that it's a clinical risk that ambulances are tied up with longer than normal transports – this means it takes us longer to go clear at hospital to get to our next patient. And it's normal for us to be holding calls for ambulances to come clear – how many more calls were we holding today?
Once more, a lack of capacity means that those of us on the bottom of the pile get the most crap – and in this case it's not the ambulance service, it's the patients.
The answer is simple, but it costs money. Money 'better' spent on keeping bankers in jobs and fighting wars that don't concern us.
But of course, I'm just a stretcher monkey, what do I know?