For most, the New Year has heralded a chance to hit the reset button, to start afresh from whatever 2022 provided. Perhaps you have made resolutions, or are making the first steps towards a bold endeavour. It should be the chance to move forward positively but for those caught in the midst of an NHS crisis the story is very different.
Critical incidents have been declared across the South West and that has left many people in a situation that can be described as nothing other than nightmarish. A combination of anomalous levels of staff absences and a high amount of flu and Covid has left hospitals in disarray. And while there have been some improvements, on the whole, the picture still appears bleak and it’s leaving many wondering what the future holds.
Read more: Bristol tops list of hospital patients waiting more than an hour to be handed over by ambulance staff
Gloucestershire Hospital chiefs have urged people not to visit A&E unless they have a life-threatening condition. This comes amidst claims that the hospital is under ‘unprecedented pressure’ and that patients are facing waits of up to 15 hours just to be admitted or sent home. The president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, Dr. Adrian Boyle, claimed on New Year’s Day that between 300 and 500 people are dying each week because of delays in emergency care.
Gloucester MP, Geoffrey Clifton-Brown has also suggested that the NHS is facing ‘some of the biggest demand that it has ever seen.’ These comments came alongside concerns about the health service’s ability to cope through the winter.
Read more: NHS trusts in Bristol urge people to only call 999 or go to A&E if it is a life-threatening emergency
The story doesn’t seem much better in Swindon. A critical incident was declared again at the Great Western Hospital, with the Chief Executive saying that there was ‘sustained demand’ in their urgent, emergency and assessment areas, with one patient reportedly waiting ’99 hours’ for a bed. This comes alongside more postponements of non-urgent operations to help ease the crisis.
Despite all of this, there are some signs of improvement. As previously mentioned, the critical incident declared by the South West Ambulance Service has been stood down, which must come as a welcome relief to many.
This situation with the NHS is a profound and desperate one. I genuinely think that it is important for us to share our experiences, if we have them. Turning the tide may be a little beyond us but being able to understand and empathise with each other has never been more important.
Now, I would like to offer you the chance to have your voice heard. Share your experiences, thoughts and well wishes amid the tragic situation we are currently in. If the poll fails to load above, please view it here.
If you have anything else to you would like to contribute, please drop it in the comments section below.
I feel obligated to end this with the NHS advice regarding the ED and the current situation: “If you need advice or medical treatment quickly and can’t wait to see your GP call 111 or visit 111 online. If you need to be seen by a minor injuries or emergency department, they can book you in.
“If you do attend ED and it isn’t a life threatening emergency, you may be directed to another service. Please understand that this is because there are other people who are in much more urgent need of our care.”
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