I've never used this blog to talk about the NHS before, but today I feel I need to:
Yesterday our 8yo was very, very wheezy. After following our inhaler escalation plan he was still wheezy. On a Sunday evening at 6pm. We rang the out-of-hours GP service and a doctor rang us back within 15 minutes. She felt he needed to go to A&E and that ideally it would be in an ambulance. We explained we were 4 minutes from our local hospital by car, so she advised we drive him straight there rather than waiting for an ambulance, so he could be treated quicker.
A&E was incredibly busy, but we were triaged by a nurse within 3 minutes of arriving and saw a doctor (a "junior" doctor) within 10 minutes. After more treatment the 8yo was still wheezy, so he was given some steroids and more of his inhalers, with a plan for him to be reviewed and re-examined by a doctor within an hour.
Despite the fact that the department was so busy we had to sit in the waiting room rather than a hospital bed we were reviewed on time by both a lovely nurse and a very kind and polite "junior" doctor.
After 4 hours in A&E his wheezing had improved enough that we were able to go home. We were given a comprehensive treatment plan and very concrete advice as to what to do if he did not continue to improve.
Everyone we saw was kind and considerate, and no one complained about how busy it was. They apologised for the lack of a bed for the 8yo to rest on while waiting to be reviewed, but his treatment was not in any way compromised.
This, by the way was in an A&E department that our health secretary tried to shut down, but which remained open after a vociferous local campaign.
By the time we got home it was midnight. The department was still busy when we left, and the staff were working together to look after all the sick children still waiting to be seen.
So when you see a "junior" doctor on a picket line tomorrow remember these things:
- We already have a 24-hour health service.
- It is one of the best in the world.
- It is already operating at more than capacity.
What we need is more doctors, more nurses, more radiographers, more pharmacist, more physiotherapists, more midwives and more support staff.
We do not need more cuts, or less pay for more hours worked, or a further demoralised workforce.
We should all be working together to fight for our NHS. Please join me in supporting our junior doctors when they take action tomorrow.