I’m back at the Royal Free. Appendicitis back with me (well now not so much, as they’ve taken it out and sorted out the abscess that exists).
It’s been a humbling experience, new things learnt and a new starting point to work from.
Hospital is so hard for all of those involved, the patients, nurses, visiting families, doctors, surgeons, cleaners, porters, receptionists, and so on. And it is broken. Really broken.
It was the first time I was here and it is even worse now.
The pressure that the nurses have to work under is unacceptable. They are short staffed and under resourced, which acts as a viscous circle for the patient care.
A great and constant example is how they are constantly pulled from one patient to another. Something happens for a patient in distress, so they press their alarm to call a nurse. A nurse arrives, to then be called by a separate patient in another bed, for something else to resolve and this leads to stress for the initial patient who made the call. Alternatively the initial patient has to wait for 30 minutes to receive care as the nurse has so many different things to do. It just doesn’t work. The patients are stressed, anxious and this comes out towards the nurses. All who try to deal with everything that they can, calmly and compassionately. To see them work is wonderful and heartbreaking in equal measure as they cannot possibly manage to do everything that is being asked of them.
The reality of this is things get mixed up, and patients suffer. None of which is the fault of the nurses who can’t do the job under such conditions they are asked to.
I overheard one conversation between doctors when I arrived in A&E as to how they were being asked to have 1, 30 minute break during a 10 hour shift. 30 minutes in 10 hours! I cannot imagine how dangerous this is for patients to be examine by doctors exhausted from a lack of rest.
The NHS is constantly held up as a beacon, of something to be proud of. There is no doubt in my mind that there are thousands of people working in the NHS who are incredible people, working selflessly and showing amazing care. Yet the NHS is something we should be deeply ashamed of and something that we want to rebuild from the ground up. How have we come to take the health and care of society so poorly? How have we let, what should be first class health care slip to the level it currently it sits at. It kind of feels out of sight, out of mind for most people.
I’m incredibly grateful for all the care I received. I will now work to get better. I know I will be in full health far sooner than the NHS will be.