I think most people are aware to certain degree the strain the NHS are under. For just under 2 years, I worked in the Radiology department of a very busy hospital in Sussex. I witnessed such a change in not only the physical area I worked in, but the difference in staff around me.
The very first point I want to reiterate is that if you have been waiting in A&E for longer than you would have liked, that means that either a) there is a shortage of staff or b) there are other people with more serious issues that are taking up the doctors and nurses time. So please, don’t sit there and moan at me about your wait for an x-ray, because I will be giving you zero sympathy. I understand that people want to be seen, but just be grateful its potentially just a broken wrist, and not more.
Secondly, a change that happened very quickly after I started, was how office space got so much smaller. The reality was that we needed more Consultants, because we had so many more people coming in for MRI’s, CT’s and Ultrasounds, that we just didn’t have enough consultants. However, they need office space. So this meant that more of the secretaries and office staff, were being put into offices together. When I started in my department, there were 6 of us in the office. When I left, there were 11.
Thirdly. People genuinely think it is okay to turn up 30 minutes late to a 10 minute appointment. An area in which I found it very hard to bite my tongue. Hospitals have allocated slots, so if it was just an ultrasound of the abdomen, it would be a 10 minute slot. If someone turns up 30 minutes late, that is 3 appointments late. Unfortunately, all appointments are crammed in, to try and ensure that as many people are being fitted in as possible. I would also like to state that staff need to have a lunch break, and the amount of times I would see Sonographers work through their lunch because they have ended up with a backlog of patients because 5 appointments in a row turned up 5 minutes late.
I know I sound like I am ranting, and I know there are people who have had awful experiences with the NHS, but I can only speak from my perspective. Everyone that works for the NHS plays a key part in its running. If we didn’t have Porters, patients wouldn’t get from one place to another. If we didn’t have clerical assistants, appointments wouldn’t be booked. If we didn’t have Sonographer’s, who would ultrasound our bits and bobs?
The NHS will not be here forever, so here are the little things we can do to help:
- Hospitals need funding. So if you you can spare change, nip into your local hospital and donate some pennies. Most hospitals will have a lottery running, whereby you pay £2 per month and you are entered into a lottery to win a small cash sum.
- Turn up to appointments on time. Its such a simple but effective thing to do.
- PLEASE, only attend A&E for an accident or an emergency. A toothache may be unbearable, but not really serious enough for A&E!
Let’s all be extremely grateful for this beautiful free service that everyone has access to.
Ciao for now,