"A&E handovers a 'complete mess'" ; also "Patient Safety Must be at the forefront" and "Injured driver's 40 minute wait for ambulance" [ South Wales echo 22nd and 30th January 2014]
It is utterly disgraceful that blame for patient deaths or ambulance targets being missed, should imply blame on these hardworking, valuable staff. Responsibility for these failures lies squarely on the shoulders of our incompetent government, who have systematically reduced services to well below a level where they even begin to meet public need. One of the ambulances that responded to my chest pains referral was sent from Merthyr Tydfil all the way to Penarth. All the ambulances from this area were tied up at Llandough hospital or the University Hospital of Wales, waiting to be unloaded. This was NOT because of any failings on the part of hospital staff but solely on the fact that there were not enough beds in which to place patients from assessment.
The facts are that neither the Ambulance Service nor the A&E staff had any say in the reduction of bed numbers, nor did they have any say about reductions in staff levels or the reductions of patient waiting areas.
The ambulance staff and the triage staff are excellent and have to work under impossible conditions where no patient can receive the proper treatment in time. By this I mean that patients are generally turned around in Assessment ( on orders from Health Board ) or are placed in a bed overnight, then discharged without any proper examination or treatment being made available. Again, this is on the instructions of the Health Board which completely changed the way and manner in which patients who are referred by their G.P.s to hospital for urgently required treatment.
The protocol has changed dramatically in the last ten years in order to suggest that; a) Hospital referrals should not have been made, b) Those patients held up in assessment are 'stabilised' quickly and sent home. or c) Patients are given a bed overnight, then discharged the following day and told to get a referral from their G.P. to see the appropriate consultant ( 6 months wait if your lucky ).
This new system makes a complete mockery of the proper system of diagnosing the problem and giving full treatment while the patient is in the hospital. Beyond this , patients were treated holistically and not discharged until all their health problems had been identified and, if possible treated
Unfortunately ( for us ), the people managing our health service have gone completely against the purpose that the NHS was created - to treat patients as, and when, needed, within reach of their own homes. The health services should not be a target-driven, money saving service, run by incompetent politicians who have no training whatsoever to do their jobs. And, of course, it;s NEVER THEIR FAULT if ANYTHING GOES WRONG ! - it's the patients and their lifestyles or parts of the service that fail to meet their budgets and targets. R.W.