Doctor will be with you in a moment!


For someone lying on a stretcher, that “moment” could feel like hours. I know I wasn’t prepared to wait many “moments” when I broke my heel bone (called the ‘Os Calcis’ for those who want this column to be precise and correct).

Now imagine what it is like to wait 35 hours to be seen. All I hope is that someone gave the poor devil some anesthetic during that day and a half wait. That figure of 35 hours was revealed at an investigation into a hospital in Kent in the UK.

British Health watchdogs are about to issue a damning report warning of major failings by Medway NHS foundation trust, in Kent – now branded the worst hospital in the country – as it admitted to repeated cases of patients waiting more than 24 hours in Accident and Emergency (EMS in Thailand).

In recent weeks, at least nine hospitals in Britain have closed their A&E units to only the most urgent cases. The pressures came as hundreds of thousands of NHS workers went on a four hour strike, in protest over their pay. Having worked in the UK hospital system myself, albeit many years ago now, it would, however, seem as if the same old problems of public hospitals overcrowding, under-staffed, under-paid and generally just not up to the job, has continued.

Inspectors have said that the Kent hospital is in a “state of crisis” with patients “stacked” waiting to be treated, including children left without assessment, and patients with potentially dangerous heart conditions left unmonitored.

It follows national statistics showing a doubling in the number of patients forced to endure long trolley waits since last year, which triggered warnings that the NHS is entering a crisis, even before the expected increases during the cold season.

The hospital’s death rates were 17 percent higher than would be expected in 2013/14.

The new report follows a catalogue of failings, which in September was responsible for almost one quarter of England’s long trolley waits.

In the same month, five patients suffered from “serious incidents,” trust documents reveal, including a patient left with a needle in them for two months after undergoing surgery.

Such lapses are so basic they are defined by the NHS as “never events”.

In another case, a female patient placed in a side-room without a call bell, broke her hip after falling when she was unable to get help to go to the toilet.

The nursing side gets the flak in these sorts of situations, but I can assure you that the nurses are not slacking. When questioned, staff were saying they felt “under siege” as 16 ambulances queued outside. These kinds of work loads just cannot be endured.

But the patients are also suffering, as well as waiting in silence, one presumes. Like all enterprises there are targets to be met. Try this one for size – Latest figures show the Kent hospital is also missing national targets to treat urgent referrals for suspected cancer within two weeks.

So just what can be done? The government approach has always been the same – throw money at it, but even though figures of around an extra £1.5bn in funding are being mooted, it will be nowhere near enough.

A most senior doctor in the UK has urged patients to turn to pharmacies, to relieve strain on the country’s A&E units.

The simple truth is that the socialist health care model just does not work financially. In saying that, you have to compare it with the private hospital system. While it may sound like I am just blowing a horn for my hospital’s healthcare system, you will never hear of patients left on stretchers for 35 hours at any private hospital in Thailand.

The times between referral and being seen for cancer patients can be measured in hours, not weeks!

The majority of your blood test results are available in 45 minutes, though some can take an hour.

The time between having your X-Ray and it being reviewed by the referring doctor is measured in seconds.

So you pay for it, but if you are from the UK, you never had it so good!