This open letter has been written by an A&E Consultant:
‘Dear Mrs May,
The NHS needs a backstop not just the people of Northern Ireland.
Whilst you are playing Russian Roulette with our country’s future, with your desperate Brexit negotiations, you seemed to have forgotten the people you are meant to be serving.
The press are complicit in this, by ignoring all other news other than Brexit. The general public are only getting brief bits of other news and are not being clearly told about the scope of the A&E and NHS crisis that is happening up and down the country.
Yesterday, NHS England published the worst ever performance data for A&E -showing that only 76.1% of patients attending type 1 A&Es get seen and discharged or admitted to a ward within 4 hours. Data means nothing; it is the real story of our patients, behind the figures, that mean everything.
Throughout the country, patients are lying on trolleys in corridors unable to get to the ward beds they need. Undignified and dangerous for patients; demoralising and depressing for staff.
And it’s these patients who need your attention, help and a backstop.
When an elderly patient comes in with pneumonia, they need the backstop of a hospital bed to get their treatment on.
When a suicidal young woman comes in with an overdose, she needs the backstop of counselling to help her once we have treated the medical issues.
When a homeless man comes in with an infected leg, he needs the backstop of a home to be discharged to after he has had his hospital care.
And when our frail patients have the hospital care they need, they need the backstop of care in the community to keep them well.
Its all well and good just worrying about Brexit backstops. Our NHS (and all other public services) needs a backstop too. Eight years of austerity and budget cuts have taken their toll and it feels like the wheels are close to falling off the NHS.
No longer can you blame patients for coming to hospitals or the staff for the problems.
Its only because of herculean efforts from all (including our managers and executives) have we managed to keep things as safe as they are. No, the fault and responsibility lies with you and your colleagues.
Our patients’ need the attention and resources they deserve. But as the press is not talking about the crisis in the NHS (as shown by the lack of coverage for the release of the worst ever A&E performance figures), we need different tactics to bring it to light.
So maybe sharing (on public profile), tweeting and posting social media posts like this may help the public realise what is happening and then force you to get out a backstop for our patients too.
Rob Galloway, an A&E Consultant (one of many NHS workers trying to provide a backstop for their patients.)
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