A Sunday night that opened my eyes to this country's most pressing crisis
This is so very upsetting to read. I’m so scared of anything happening to me and my loved ones as I don’t believe we’d get treated well or in a timely manner.
I totally resent the Conservative government for getting things in to such a mess.
I haven't had any experiences in A&E recently but I just want to acknowledge the importance of your report Sophie.
I have had indirect experience ,collecting someone from an A&E in Worcester and was extremely concerned about the hordes of ambulances lined up outside the A&E dept. God help anyone needing an ambulance these days. Not the fault of the paramedics obviously and seems to be countrywide .
It is so depressing that it has made us all inert to the horror , like everyone looking at the floor in your piece Sophie. We have to look away, it's too painful to engage in what's going on.
Our NHS struggles on amidst this awful government flinging out tax cuts ,then backtracking, flailing about.
We only become zealous about conditions in A&E when it affects us , for the most part we try and ignore the news reports , but as I get older ,the liklihood of needing a visit looms large and it is frightening.
Another brilliantly article from The Mill, thank you Sophie
Recently I had an accident late evening at home. Thankfully I wasn’t on my own. We rang 111 for advice and was told to go straight to the nearest A&E
It was a disturbing sight. A full waiting room of pale, tired, silent people needing medical attention
A sympathetic triage nurse saw me within an hour and temporarily bandaged my wound. She warned me I’d have a 6 hour wait in the queue as I needed treatment and medication
The boy next to me sat with a badly broken arm waiting patiently for the same 6 hours as me . Cold, shocked, hungry and in pain. The only visible comfort was a drinks machine if you were lucky enough to have some loose change
The hours went by very slowly. Everyone was trying to stay awake so we didn’t miss our name being called
The medical staff looked exhausted
Occasionally someone would try to protest at the wait, which was dealt with tersely : “your son is not having a heart attack, he’s having a panic attack...” This was uncomfortable for all of us to hear, but clearly correct
An injured criminal was wheeled in attached to a policeman by a chain
I looked at my bloodstained bandage and thought about my late father who was in the medical corps in Korea. It felt like we were the walking wounded fresh from the battlefield
Like you, I found the A&E experience shocking and very sad - it was painful to witness on many levels
I’m quite intrigued by your comment “People with enough money will be okay”....
Surely if you’re a millionaire or a homeless person you will most likely have the same experience and the same wait for medical attention if you ever need to go to A&E ?
Just an additional comment.
9 years ago my daughter ,31 at the time had blood cancer. 6 months of brutal chemotherapy with frequent infections of the line in her chest as she couldn't tolerate it in her hand. Paramedics attended ,off to hospital. Would she even be able to get an ambulance if it had happened now?? She is in remission, cured I suppose but during that 6 months I was a frequent visitor to our main hospital and she had nothing but exemplary care. I doubt the experience would be as good now but the fear never goes away . Our poor NHS needs all the help it can get .
Thank you Sophie for this excellent insight into the state of our NHS under the Conservatives. After 12 years of austerity and a pandemic, to be prioritising tax cuts for the wealthy over spending on the NHS and social care is appalling. Liz Truss and her Tory acolytes are a disgrace to our country. Best wishes to your partner for his speedy recovery.
April 2021 ambulance to a&e north Manchester gallstones home after 24 hours appointment in July saying on waiting list January another episode July took taxi to a&e after 14 hours admitted with pancreatitis discharged after 5 days told you will be back 4 to 6 weeks.finally going in 18/10/22 if not cancelled which has been happening recently. Here’s hoping I get it done
This is appalling. And I’m afraid the disinterest of the receptionist and the security staff to a patient in need is inexcusable. There should be free wheelchairs and free water available.
What an excellent article, Sophie.
I saw something similar in Stepping Hill A&E. Key staff need to be so professional and focused to maximise their effectiveness that they appear to the distressed attendees to lack compassion.
What a terrible state we are in.
I knew the A&E crisis was bad but I'm shocked at the callousness displayed towards patients on top of this. I guess it's a coping mechanism in a dire situation - if you cared about how patients were treated then you would end up with a moral injury - but still.
A friend of mine injured her ankle while playing sport in August. It swelled immediately, she was in a lot of pain and she couldn't feel her toes. Although ankle injuries aren't life threatening they're one of those things where unfortunately you need to go to A&E to get an x-ray. She got to Wythenshawe at 9pm and was told after triage that it would probably be an overnight wait. They stayed for a while but in the end headed home and went to an urgent care the next morning, faced another long wait and finally got x-rayed in the afternoon. Amazingly it wasn't broken but the whole ordeal was terrible for her, she was in so much pain the whole time and also has medical trauma from past experiences in hospitals so it made her especially anxious. It used to be a quick job that they'd tick off in a few hours because it only needs an x-ray and maybe a cast if it's broken, but not any more.
The fact that things like chest pain aren't being seen any quicker is incredibly worrying
Cornwall is even worse as every summer our population triples!!
In covid times stuff happened quite quickly ..time for EMERGENCY measures! How many NEW hospitals did Boris promise..action building , action staffing! Action action action should be the new chant!!
Had persistent hiccups so that I couldn't breathe properly, GP on the phone sent me to A&E for a 'quick x-ray' of my throat & oesophagus, in case there was a trapped irritant. Don't know why he couldn't book me in for one the next day. Chose to go to the nearest - MRI - a mistake.
Got there at 2030 on a Weds, was triaged by a nurse at 2140. Spent all night waiting, often gasping for breath during fits of multiple hiccups. The water jugs were refilled three times.
I wandered to the 24hr canteen at St Marys to get a sandwich at 0300 - cashless. Found a nurse who took my cash and paid with her card.
People kept arriving throughout the night - many victims of a 'city centre' night out i.e. mugging head injuries, drunken falls, etc. Also some elderly people - usually accompanied by a worried partner or family member. Chatted to people. Avoided chatting to some.
One girl had fainted, fallen off her chair and banged her head on a concrete floor, also needed an x-ray. Very very slow queue as hardly anyone on duty - on a weekday night. Got faster by 0800 as doctors turned up.
At 1100 we were summoned to x-ray, got it done and sent home by 1200. Hope she and all the rest are OK.
When I got home, I contacted the GP practice again - online again - and finally got a prescription to soothe inflammation in my throat and oesophagus. Was better in a few days.
Great report and so heartbreakingly true. More people need to realise where our precious NHS is heading.
Having cared for older relatives, and many frequent visits to both Wythenshawe and Stepping Hill opened my eyes to the immense pressure our NHS staff are under.
Some visits I witnessed the wards being understaffed, but nurses and healthcare staff doing everything they could under the circumstances. Do we wonder why some suffer burnout.
We all need to realise just how much this matters, and this is something we all need to fight for.
We have an appalling bunch of corrupt but inept politicians, whose only interest are their wealthy donors and the powerful corporates, hence these games of distraction they play whilst achieving nothing which helps us ordinary people. They do not serve us as a nation anymore and the current opposition are just as inept and self serving!
Our taxes prop up these pretenders!
We need to fight for our NHS, or yes as mentioned in this report, I believe a two tier system is the plan. Realistically, that would be suicide!
Recent experience in the summer phoning 111 at 10.00am. (Given up with GP.)For advice really. was told I would receive a call back from clinician.
This took 12 hours. At 10.00 pm Was then referred by said clinician to A and E due to high BP readings.( no wonder!) Friend drove me to Wythenshawe Four hour wait - illuminated display relayed waiting times..
Seen at 2am and all care given- suitable tests etc and referred back to GP. All seemed calm at the hospital and not frantically busy ( 10 people in waiting area maybe more backstage, but feel sure they could do with more staff.) Thank goodness for taxi service.
Just had the feeling had I been able to speak to a GP in the first place it would have saved much time and effort all round.
i think you need to distinguish between management issues- the lack of water/door/poor information/lack of wheel chairs form the clinical issues- lack of sufficient doctors. The first shows that the managers of the hospital are not very good. the second is a more difficult national issue. however poor managers tend to get both parts wrong.
You have highlighted an appalling situation that is acknowledged by senior NHS staff and government but never improves. Whilst other hospital depts are modernised, the A&E at MRI is in a terrible state - depressing and unwelcoming. The waiting times may have increased but the service has been terrible for many years. The previously open doors to our health service are fast closing with a battle to see doctors in community and hospital services.
An excellent if upsetting article- and as you wrote, an issue across the U.K. in A&E depts. on an October Wednesday morning last year, I awoke at 4 am with violent pains in my stomach which then began to spread across my sternum and into my ribs/chest. Called 111 who advised me to get to Wythenshawe A&E as fast as possible but an ambulance would be 7 hours. My wife drove me and we got there at 6.30 am to a very busy A&E. The waiting time for non-urgent cases at that point was 11 hours. I was on the verge of passing out and was bundled into a wheelchair and whizzed into a cubicle fairly quickly and got treated - the staff were all fantastic but it was clear that they just were not enough of them and they were over-stretched and over-worked. It did occur to me that if things were that bad at 630 on a Wednesday morning, then what would it be like at a weekend?