Saturday 24 December 2022

Taken hostage by the NHS

The sentiment applies

Our National Health Service (NHS) is a national treasure sacred cow, many of us owe our lives and health to the amazing professionals who in their qualifications and humanity go the extra mile to attend to ills and ailments that afflict us in life.

Personally, the NHS has served me well from the moment I took my first breath with the alacrity that impressed upon them to immediately find means for me to survive and thrive when I was born just around the end of the second trimester.

Besides, where I meet the NHS for acute health services from the annual influenza vaccinations to the biannual consultations for long-term care, the NHS is an efficiently run outfit with appointments made, patients promptly seen to, and activities executed with despatch.

Another place in time

Much as that selfless service remains, at Accident and Emergency (A&E), the accident of having to visit the hospital is not met with the emergency that one would somewhat expect. The NHS becomes a Never Hurried Situation (NHS) of the immediacy of triage but the interminable wait for consultation with a doctor.

We are kept in the waiting room suffering to varying degrees on seating that should never be used for more than a few minutes for hours on end, expectant and hoping for one’s name to be called to see the doctor just as the system works the clock to ensure that the statistical waiting time is at least 6 hours after arrival, though waiting for over 9 hours was the reality.

You are caught in a Necessitated Hostage Setting (NHS) because your need for the service provided by the A&E compels you to exercise patience as a patient, you cannot leave before you are seen to and if you leave you lose your place and are left unsure of the reason why you sought the service in the first place.

Invariably, you are a hostage of circumstances beyond your control as the medical review you require is not one acquired through self-help even if you were a medical practitioner.

Help is needed

Is there any wonder that when I looked at the board of operational efficiency figures of the said hospital, only one out of the 12 or so indicators met the required standard and yet, someone with a great sense of humour had posters put up in the waiting room asking for our feedback. How likely are you to recommend our services to friends and family if they needed similar care or treatment? Surely, you are kidding me.

Poster in the A&E waiting room at Manchester Royal Infirmary 

Yet, we should be grateful for small and great mercies, we left assured that all is well. A few adjustments are required but nothing to fear, our NHS creaks, yet still delivers. It could be way better, it is the kind of experience you rarely ever want to relive, if you could help it.

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