50 Shades of Chaos

As Nick explained last week, I have recently been in hospital for a small operation and underwent what I can only describe as something I had not expected or previously experienced within the NHS in previous years.

Sadly, with all the drastic cuts and difficulties we constant read about in papers and hear about on the news, the conditions the staff are expected to work under are becoming ever more impossible and unpleasant for them and uncomfortable for us as patients, to say the least.

It appears whilst those running the NHS continue to remain in comfort, those clinicians working hard at trying to help save lives, carrying out operations and examinations, things for them are becoming impossible. It appears that more and more Consultants are leaving, so when newly trained doctors come in they have no one to turn to for guidance, what type of support is that for them?!?

Due to bed situation or the lack of them, of which we are all fully aware, my operation was carried out at the 3rd allocated date, having been postponed on the previous 2 occasions. I had been reassured this was the day I would have a bed; I was told to arrive at 12pm and 2pm was my theatre slot. As instructed I had changed my medication 1 week before each planned date so my body now was feeling a little messed around, but not to worry, one of those things.

We arrived at the designated ward only to be told there wasn’t a bed there I was now to go to the Ante Natal Ward where a bed might be. On arrival, I was greeted with the same thing, sorry, we don’t have a bed for you but you are a priority due to your health situation.

To cut a very long story short at 2.30pm I saw an Anaesthetist in a small office which needed to be unlocked as the person who normally occupied it had agreed to vacate briefly for our discussion. I later saw the Consultant who would be doing the operation in a smaller cubicle thing and he was forced to crouch on the floor while they found me a chair.  He explained that the theatre was booked for all those on his list but because the hospital had no beds he was not allowed to start until one became available.

So, there were Consultants, Doctors, Anaesthetists, Nurses etc. hanging around waiting for a bed, before they could start their work. At 2.50pm, I was told that, in a hospital which has 500 beds – ‘THEY HAVE FOUND ONE’ on the Orthopaedic Ward, you’re in theatre at 3pm, and that is what happened.

This is how these staff must work on a daily basis. They also had to have the horrible job of telling the poor girl who was behind me on the list, that after waiting all those hours, possibly having time off work she could not have her operation that day now, due to mine being late. Sadly, rather than being out of theatre at 4.30pm as planned, it was 7.30pm so it wasn’t possible to operate on anyone else.

Other problems created by these conditions are that, as patients, we are scattered to wherever a bed becomes available and the pressure is on to get us out of it as quickly as possible. Wards are specialised for a reason so when we are on the wrong ward for our situation, naturally problems will arise, we cannot blame the staff for this but we would not ask a blacksmith to make us a wooden bookcase, or a vet about our teeth, they may not be the best of examples but you get my meaning. So, when problems arise which they sometimes do, we cannot blame the staff but the conditions they are working under.

I was sent home with one area still bleeding, told, not sure if that looks right or not but keep changing the dressing until bleeding stops and keep injecting yourself to prevent clots. I wasn’t asked if I am alright with regards to injecting, which fortunately I am, so it doesn’t matter, but because I was in the wrong place I had no instructions or advice. The result is that the wound is infected, I have had to go back to the surgery for help and I am feeling quite unwell.

I am NOT blaming anyone but I am blaming the conditions that they are expected to work under.

Sadly, when I receive a date to return to for my consultant appointment he will have left. I won’t have seen him once since having pre operation meeting.

My idea is very simple and perhaps stupid, but we all use the NHS, if for every lottery ticket sold, £1 was paid into the NHS and the general public i.e. regular patient voices were heard by allowing them to be on NHS Trust panels, somehow I believe money and lives would be saved, staff would be happier and their work environment improved. what do you feel?

On to a brighter note, I will not be blogging over the Christmas weekend hoping you are all having a happy, fun and healthyChristmas and a wishing you the same for the New Year.

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