I deviate from my usual topic for good reason. The head of the Red Cross stated that a ‘Humanitarian Crisis’ is now facing our National Health Service. This has caused uproar and debate in press and media and dominates the news daily. Following an accident last May that resulted in serious injury I have personally witnessed the many facets of our health service and can see obvious flaws in the service and how huge sums are wasted.
After suffering multiple fractures one of them life threatening I was rushed into hospital by ambulance back in May of this year. An emergency operation was performed and I now sport a dazzling steel rod in place of my left femur. I spent nine days in an NHS hospital and then the following eight months recovering at home but housebound on one floor and only with sink washes, not pleasant I can tell you.
Here’s the first thing. On the ward after the operation I was quickly assessed by a physiotherapist because they wanted me out of the recovery room due to a shortage of beds. I was whizzed out on the same day as the operation and with drips dangling feeding my body with morphine and liquid paracetamol , I was wheeled away . When I eventually came round and could hazily take in my surroundings it was obvious that I was not on the orthopaedic ward. To my right was a rather aggressive alcoholic, in front of me was an elderly man suffering from Alzheimers who was constantly messing on the floor all around me. I had a fresh wound on my leg from an operation performed just hours before and described by the surgeon as being life threatening so what the hell was I doing in a crazy ward surrounded by human excrement???????
It took me 22 hours to convince the staff of carers, not nurses, that I should be moved to the appropriate ward and only when I threatened to remove my drips was I introduced to an administrative manager who decided that I should be in orthopaedics and not in admissions which is where I had been mistakenly placed.
I spent the next few days on the correct ward on a diet of drugs and cardboard food and whilst there along with my many fractures tried to convince the staff that my left wrist was also broken. I was called ‘dear’ and ‘love’ and after I had informed the staff that my name was Lloyd or Mr James not ‘Dear’ I was, after three days. taken to X-ray where it was confirmed that my wrist was indeed badly fractured and required a plaster cast.
On night number four at around 11.30pm I had all my belongings thrown on my bed on top of me and was wheeled out of the ward. I asked what was happening and was told they needed the bed and I was promptly dumped in another ward and left. My new neighbours consisted of a drug addict an alcoholic and a chap in his 40’s but with a mental age of a small boy who proceeded to scream at me and throw his teddy bears at me. You could not make this up could you, it was like a Dickensian nut house. The drug abuser was pleasant enough and as he left the ward every half hour to go to the car park for a cigarette and to administer whatever it was that kept his eyes on stalks, he spoke to me. ‘Hope they keep me in for the weekend, at least I get reasonable food and it’s a lot more comfortable than my flat!’ So basically it’s a hotel service then I was thinking.
Trying to get Occupational and Physiotherapists to my bedside for the next couple of days was more difficult than getting out of a maze, walking backwards through treacle, blindfolded… Eventually when they both came to see me they agreed that provided I had someone at home to take care of my basic needs I could go home. This was on a Thursday, it then took me another day to get a Doctor to agree to sign papers to release me with the warning from a carer (not a nurse) that if I didn’t get a Doctor to sign me out before 4pm on a Friday then forget it until Monday as they would be off for the weekend.
I was desperate not to have to stay in with the druggies and alcoholics a moment longer and I tried all day on Friday to get a Doctor to my bedside. It got to 3pm and fortunately I had a visitor, a family member. I pleaded with them to go and find me a Doctor and eventually with minutes to spare they found one and I was signed out. Of course there could be no transport arranged until the following morning but I was on my way.
I was due to leave the hospital by 10am Saturday, eventually I was placed in a wheel chair at 1pm and loaded into the back of a contracted ambulance. They strapped me in and then informed me that the journey to Hythe would take around 30 minutes. ‘Why are we going to Hythe?’ I asked…..
‘Because that’s where you live’ they replied….
‘No I don’t, I live nowhere near there’. They threatened that they would have to return me to the ward so that my correct address could be processed and I said that I was not going anywhere I was staying put until they got me to my front door.
The moral of this part of the fiasco is this. Put nurses not carers into the wards, bring back matrons and get rid of administrators and bed movers. Get rid of contracted ambulance services (the topic of the next part of this blog) and stop allowing abusers to use the beds and wards as weekend retreats………. it’s the administration that is wrong with the health service not the workers. It’s time for a change and when you read part two tomorrow you will be mortified at the next part of this saga….