Friday evening and the first few hours of Saturday morning were spent by me and my partner at the local Accident and Emergency department of my local hospital. I had fallen quite well from an artistic point of view – with nonchalant grace and aplomb – but quite badly from any other point of view, given that the aplomb in question was the sound my head made when it hit the table.
So that covers the why I was there.
Believe me, I wasn’t going to post about my trip to hospital, because it was as essential as it was inherently boring. But earlier today I received a text, which I’ll share with you, so you can judge whether or not I think too much about things
I am posting about this is because it is an indictment of our times, the rather bizarre modern phenomena of people feeling the need to rate something,
“We would like you to rate your recent experience at xxxx A&E department. How likely are to you to recommend or A&E department to your Friends and Family if they needed similar care or treatment.” It then gave a rating out of 5, with 1 being extremely likely and 5 being extremely unlikely.
A few things immediatly sprang to mind.
First, the clue is in the name, front and centre ‘Accident and Emergency’ specifically the ‘Emergency’ part. Emergency suggests many things, but one thing it doesn’t is cause one to reflect upon irrelevanacies.
Perhaps yes, the staff could’ve been a tad more communicative but there weren’t that many of them – well not in the reception and initial assesment area anway – so much so that the area was frequently unstaffed, causing one of the patients waiting patiently to be seen to offer advice to the newcomers.
And perhaps yes, the seating could’ve been less industrial and more functional, given that after a while I was getting a numb bum. But I suppose when hospitals are expected to do even more with even less this is an inevitable consequence.
Related to that is the fact that possibly I could’ve been seen by the doctors sooner than the six hours after my arrival and intial assessment and four hours after my second blood pressure reading which was, the nurse taking it agreed, ‘abnormally high’. But then my local hospital is also a major trauma unit. Through frosted glass I could see blue lights arriving with alarming frequency, followed by hurried tannoy calls for ‘resuscitation staff to the trauma unit’ which were inevitably followed some time later by one for a ‘cleaner to the trauma unit for a deep clean’
Eventually I was seen. All of those earlier irritations faded instantly. Because whilst any organisation that is the third largest employer in the world is bound to have some area’s of improvement, the N.H.S, is still by some order of magnitude both the best healthcare system in the world and uniquely British. Only we have access to free healthcare paid for through general taxation. Only a Labour Government could’ve had the will to make it a reality.
Going to an Accident and Emergency isn’t on peoples ‘to do’ list. One shouldn’t in most cases compare hospitals with each other. It’s not like Trip Advisor. where you can read other peoples ratings. They’re an essential public good. People don’t just choose to go one. Well, not most people anyway, because I remembered an observation I shared with my partner as I was waiting to be seen. About how Prince Phillip,
“Was admitted to King Edward VII Hospital in London last night, as a precautionary measure, for treatment of an infection arising from a pre-existing condition.”
Namely how on earth would any other 96 year old man living on state benefits be treated by the media if he tried a similar stunt? I mean, we are funding his private healthcare whilst our own is underfunded? In what possible universe is that fair?