Patients left on trolleys in a corridor

Experiencing the NHS crisis is a sombering affair

The NHS is broken

On Sunday I witnessed first hand the pressure the NHS and its staff are under.

It was nothing short of shocking to see patients lined up on trolleys, left in corridors because there were either no beds or not enough staff to help.

This is not an attack on the staff, they were fantastic, their dedication and professionalism is beyond reproach.

They should not have to work in a system like this.  It’s unfair on them, it’s unfair on the patients.  The doctors, nurses and patients deserve better, the situation is a national disgrace.

About a year ago I spoke to some NHS staff and they told me this was happening.  I never thought I would get to witness for myself.

A long night ahead

It was just short of 14 hours from when we called the NHS 111 service until our relative was admitted to a ward, of those 14 hours just short of the last 4 they were left waiting on a trolley in the corridor for a bed.

Earlier in the day we called NHS 111 for advice and a paramedic was dispatched and arrived within 20 minutes, they assessed our relative and decided that they needed to be admitted to hospital.

We then waited for an ambulance to arrive and when it did there were three crew members, one Paramedic, one Emergency Medical Technician and a trainee.

There was then a discussion between one of the paramedics and the control room.  It was then decided that our relative would not be taken to hospital, the paramedic on the ground was overruled by a colleague in the control room and instead it was decided a GP would be called for.

This made no sense to us and we queried the decision.

It was explained to us that is how the system works so we went along with it only to be told that in all likelihood, when the GP arrives they would send the patient to hospital anyway based on the medical assessment already made.

So far a huge amount of resource had been deployed and the patient was no closer to be treated.  The paramedic was brilliant, he was professional and caring but hamstrung by a service under immense pressure.

Waiting

About six hours after the initial NHS 111 call the GP arrived.  Just as the paramedic predicted they sent my relative to hospital and called for an ambulance to transport them.

So far, for one patient we had been seen by three Paramedics, two Emergency Medical Technician’s, one trainee and one GP, this tied up one Emergency Responder car, two ambulances and separate car for the GP.  It just seemed like an awful use of an already stretched service.

The whole process was distressing for them, they didn’t want to go into hospital.

Each time going into hospital was mentioned our relative was upset by this, it happened three times in total each time the medical staff did an amazing job of calming them down and putting everyone at ease.

I am not blaming the NHS staff, but in this case the system clearly didn’t work, it wasted time and valuable NHS resources.  It was safe to say that there would have been other people in greater need but there is only so much the NHS can with what it is given.

Treated in the corridor

Seeing patients being treated in a hospital corridor is awful.  I have seen pictures in the news but when you witness it for real the utter loss of dignity the patient suffers hits home.

One patient in full view of four families had to be sick in public, I have no idea how that person felt but for us it was truly shocking, you feel helpless, you want to help but short of offering a bed pan what else can you do.  It is a deeply uncomfortable experience.

Nobody should have to suffer that sort of public humiliation, the sixth richest country in the world and we can’t even preserve the dignity of people needing medical treatment.

My relative also had to be treated in the corridor.  You could sense the nurse didn’t really want to do it but there was no other option.  This is just the reality of a service being stretched to the limit.

Here they are on a trolley in the corridor.

The picture really doesn’t show the true reality of what is going on.  This was a busy corridor used by both staff and relatives.  It offered no privacy and abandoned patient dignity.

Patient being treated by a nurse in a corridor

This was in full view of other families and patients, it just shouldn’t happen, there is no need for people to be treated like this.

I can’t stress enough just how undignified this must be for a patient, you can’t help but hear what is being said, you can’t help but see what is happening.

Nobody should have to go through what we did, no family should have to see a loved one suffer more distress as a result of the NHS being starved of money and resources.

It’s time to listen to the doctors and nurses give them the resources they need.

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