There has been a lot talk of the NHS being in trouble.  Of course, this is old news because it’s been in trouble for a long time now, but it’s apparent that the situation is getting worse.  I’m probably going to have a bit of rant now and voice my opinion on the matter – that doesn’t mean you should agree with me!

I read an article last week about the reasons that some people in the north-east of England visited A&E (accident and emergency) over the festive period and I was astounded.  We are lucky enough here in the UK to have free health care and yes, it isn’t perfect but there are some countries without this luxury and our National Health Service is precious.  In the article, you had your usual festive excuse; alcohol.  As well as this, other reasons included toothache, coughs, colds, flu, oh, and the reason that left me aghast, a broken nail!

Yes, that’s right, if you have a broken nail you no longer need a nail technician or a simple nail file. you need to simply make a visit and wait hours on end to see an emergency doctor! I once jammed my fingers in the door and lost two nails and still didn’t visit a doctor, never mind accident and emergency. From my own point of view, I could not block spaces in A&E due to those excuses, I mean what if someone died as a result of having to wait longer because I was blocking up a bed with my torn fingernail? I could not be that person, it’s really outrageous!

I started thinking to myself, people in the UK can be prosecuted or fined for wasting police time so why is this allowed to happen in A&E?

This might sound harsh to some but a vital service is being abused!

I’m far from perfect and I have visited A&E with my children when I was scared or worried that something was really wrong, but I would always say don’t take any chances, especially with children, someone with health issues, and the elderly.  I would go as far as to say that I took the service for granted until our A&E was taken away.  Our urgent care centre deals with broken bones so even when my son broke his foot, I took him to the minor injury clinic for an Xray rather than A&E.  This took a lot less time to be seen and as it was actually broken, we were sent to the fracture clinic at our local hospital the next day (as that department is still open).

All I’m suggesting is that people should be aware of the choices that they have and sometimes this even saves them time and in our case, travelling.  Visiting a hospital can be expensive as our parking charges are extortionate!

This article really hit home for me, in fact, it annoyed me.  Last Wednesday my Grandfather, who is in his nineties, was taken to the hospital via ambulance.  We have already lost our town hospital A&E so he had to travel out of town to a neighbouring town to our closest A&E.  My mum is almost sixty-eight and she accompanied him.  He could put no weight on his feet whatsoever as he had no strength.  The previous year he had a stroke and although he used a walking trolley for safety, he could walk but he couldn’t stand and his chest was poorly.  He looked really pale and felt terrible.

The ambulance staff took him and my Mum to the hospital and they assessed him.  The hospital was over-stretched and nurses commented that they were struggling for beds so there was a chance he would have to be transported to a hospital further away.  They decided he could be discharged.  So he was and it was left to my elderly mother to sort out care but as this was now into the evening and too late to arrange, she had to lift him herself until she could make arrangements.  It turned out he was weak due to a UTI and he also had a chest infection. His own doctor came out the next day and said he thought he should be in the hospital.  He said he could arrange the admittance himself but after being messed around the day before, my Grandfather refused.  He was ill and he couldn’t be bothered to go through all of that again.  If something had happened to my Grandfather, maybe

If something had happened to my Grandfather, maybe we would have felt it was the fault of the NHS, but what if someone who didn’t need to be had been admitted?

I realise that we have a crisis in the UK and sometimes people phone an ambulance because they are alone, need a hot meal, or have other issues but maybe we need to try and deal with those issues.  There are a lot of people in poverty and a lot of people alone.  If we just took notice or if we were just that little kinder and called on our neighbours, could we make a difference?

There are lots of charities out there to help, but I get it, people are embarrassed sometimes by their situation in life. Others feel that they have a right to use the NHS as much as they like, and actually, they do, but the NHS is a privilege and we should nourish it.  If we don’t, it could be taken away from us! Whatever the reason, phoning an ambulance or visiting A&E unnecessarily is something we should think more about because it’s a life-saving service.  It’s struggling because of the pressures, so why make it harder? I will admit that I’m not always happy with the service they provide, but nothing is perfect.  Without them, my husband might not be alive today because they performed brain surgery on him almost 2 years ago and I can’t thank them enough.

If anyone is unsure as to whether you need to visit A&E just ask yourself is it an accident, or is it an emergency and no, if you accidentally break a nail, that doesn’t count!

Or you could review the guidance here, to find out when it’s appropriate to call 111, dial 999, visit A&E, visit an urgent care centre, visit a pharmacy, or see your GP by clicking here! 

Be smart and know what choices you have.  The health service needs to make undoubtedly improve in certain areas so let’s do our part!

Do you have a positive or negative experience of the A&E (I think the American equivalent is ER) department that you would like

to share?  Feel free to comment – maybe you agree with me or maybe you think I’m too harsh?

would like to share?  Feel free to comment – maybe you agree with me or maybe you think I’m too harsh?

Would you go to A&E with a broken fingernail or toothache? Is wasting the time of the NHS as bad as wasting police time? 


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