Saturday, 30 March 2013
There are Lies, Damn Lies and NHS 'Statistics'
"Patient Safety at Risk in A & E Crisis"
No less than 24 A & E consultants have signed a joint letter to Minister Mark Drakeford, reporting the risk to patients from overcrowded, under-staffed units and insufficient beds. This, they assert, is the direct result of A&E department closures with the reduction in acute beds. These brave consultants have stated that emergency units are "seriously overcrowded, on their knees and leaving patients at risk". Already, death rates are higher in Wales than in any other part of the UK, and further reductions to only 4 or 5 A & E units ( to cover ALL of Wales ) will inevitably increase these rates. The consultants rightly state that financial pressures on health boards, make them close acute beds in order to save money.
Will the contents of this letter force the Minister to rethink these closures and strengthen all A & E units with more ressources ? I very much doubt it - especially in view of the First Minister's recent statements that there will be no change to any of the proposed closures and/or relocation of services.
Yet, the pantomime of 'making services stable safe, and sustainable' continues to confound staff and patients equally, as there are no credible explanations of the need for change being offered, other than the obvious intention to cut costs by reducing all health services in Wales. This pantomime was laid before the public in a series of meetings ( inadequately advertised and poorly attended, as a result ) led by Dr Graham Shortland, over a period of two weeks in November. Indeed, the Medical Director, NHS Wales was very unconvincing with his half-hearted presentation that concluded on 27th November 2012, with questions about the future provision and accessibilityof Paediatric, Neo Natal, and A & E services pouring in from all attendees. The answers to all questions were woefully inadequate, predicting doom and gloom for everyone who failed to accept the changes. Needlesss to say, no one believed the preamble that claimed that these changes had been agreed by 300 consultants meeting on a regular basis ( yeah, right - you may see two or three together, but 300 ? - give me a break ! ).
Now we await the dates for the Public Consultation meetings that will be conducted by the Community Health Councils, with their usual incompetence that will produce complete support for all of the changes - and to hell with what the public have to say - as per ruddy usual ! Consequently, we will all be bullied into living ( or dying ) with these changes, by our autocratic government, who will continue to protest that it's all our own fault. Already, it is a long-established fact that most fatalities amongst victims of heart attacks ( Myocardial Infarctions, if you please ) occur before the poor patients reach hospital. Reducing the numbers of A & E units will, inevitably, cause these deaths to increase. Meanwhile, you may be sure that all of your elected officials and their bureaucrat subordinates will be treated in private hospitals at our cost . That's fair.....isn't it ??? R.W.