A big thank you to the staff at A&E for last night... honestly, I'm such a Klutz!
It's no biggy, before you start worrying... I cut my thumb on some glass and needed a stitch. Did it late and thought because it was small it would close up quite nicely... caught it just right it seems and it was one of those silly little cuts that was just a little too deep to stop bleeding easily... bugger!
So off we went at half ten (pm) to the A&E at Exeter... and feeling very silly I asked for a stitch. The receptionist, who was very sweet asked us to take a seat. They have a 'see you in 4 hours' policy and so D and I felt somewhat doomed to sit there for 4 hours, with a very minor injury... waiting our turn next to the broken arms and punched-broken noses (Really? That drunk on a Monday night? Gosh, I must be old!)
I guess it was an hour and a half before we saw the Triage Nurse (is that how you spell it? Ooops!)... Again a lovely Lady. She said that I would probably need glue and explained how sorry she was she couldn't do this herself. The rules are that I need to be attended by a Doctor. Double buggering red tape!
Another hour and a half, or maybe more later we were called to see the Doctor. Bless him he looked very tired and run off his feet. He cleaned me up and had me x-rayed for glass in the cut. I felt so incredibly wasteful of his time, for such a silly accident. I think he was surprised that I kept apologising and thanking him... I felt so embarrassed! He decided relooking at the cut, which was now going purple on my thumb with bruising… and this morning looks like I have been in a boxing match... that a stitch, or glue might not be appropriate. The reason being that the cut runs down the side of my thumb pad to the crease and so inevitably opens with the slightest movement... glue, or a stitch wouldn't hold. So I'm suitably taped and bandaged up... so silly!
Anyway I guess the upshot of this post about my butter-fingered reactions is that I was amazed to find out just how we treat our very rather unique NHS. I shall explain...
So whilst trying to avert my embarrassment away from my silly thumb, I asked the Doctor if they had had a busy night.
‘Yes’ he said. Over the last 3 months the over-night A&E staff had had to deal with 300 people a night… 300 people! Now I know the hospital serves a wide area, but that seems like a lot… especially as we are excluding the day’s head count. I asked him why… the response shocked me. It seems that while some are genuine cases, or accidents and actual emergencies, most cases are starting turning up as people find it increasingly difficult to book in to see their GPs. So where they have a cold (generalisation) or some other non-emergency and can’t book a same day appointment with their doctor, they have been turning up at A&E, as they know they must be seen within 4 hours! Are they insane? I’m stunned… why do they think it acceptable to abuse an important emergency service?!
It’s as bad as the story of the guy who called 999 and asked for the Fire Service… Engine came out and all he wanted was for someone to turn the TV channel as the remote had stopped working! My God man… you should have been fined every penny of the expense of the call out! I must confess, last night I might have been tempted to string you up!!
Honestly, we wonder why we are in such a mess… blaming bankers, governments and councils (which I agree with in part. There is definitely more work to be done to turn our current mess around and I’m not convinced we are going about it in entirely the right way), but when do we take responsibility for our own bad choices? Now please don’t misread that as a general rant… this is pointedly specific to the time wasters… The emergency services and the NHS needs our help… don’t drain money they cannot afford to spend. You’ll be the first to moan when they can’t get to you quickly, because they couldn’t afford a new ambulance! And probably the first to get compensation… but that’s another rant entirely!!
Apologies for the outburst… that really got me!
So anyway, that aside… I’m feeling suitably silly today… oh dear.
Please have a safe day friends,