LETTER: Gratitude for A&E staff, but...

There is no doubt that our frontline A&E staff deserve an untold amount of gratitude for their efforts time and time again during the winter woes.

Unfortunately for the rest, it’s a tale of waste and inefficiency. A recent story told of 45 extra beds being made available across the trust. Those allocated for A&E admissions finally arrived late on New Year’s Eve. Two weeks too late. Nurses working beyond their normal finishing times. Bearing in mind their shifts are already 12-hours, this meant a 14-hour shift for some and only because of their dedication.

The management should seriously look at this as it must surely break working time directives. And all in the name of ridiculous targets.

We were also asked to consider other means for treatment. Where was this exactly? Doctors surgeries were closed for seven out of ten days during the festive period. Pharmacies closed for five. The hospital pharmacy opens for two hours on a Saturday morning. This is woefully inadequate to support the A&E department, which then means a cost of £75 for every prescription they issue. Those responsible for then trying to recover thousands of £8.60s by letter are six months behind.

I have experienced a discharge process that took nine hours. During the morning consultant’s round at 8am I was told I could be discharged. I was up, dressed, phoned my wife to say she should be able to collect me around lunch time and sat in a chair in readiness.

It was not until 5pm that I could finally leave. My bed could have been made available mid-morning for those waiting after being seen by A&E. But no, nine hours to sign a discharge form and prescribe medication.

I have seen crutches thrown onto the tip and others advertised on the local freecycle website because there is no workable process to have walking aids returned. How many others are gathering dust in people’s homes?

Yes, more funding cannot come soon enough but there is still plenty of waste that needs to be eradicated.

Malcolm Mills

Mayfield Close, Findon Valley

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