As you will know it is my lot to have dealings with the Ambridge and District General Hospital and its mother institution the Borchester Royal infirmary on a regular basis as part of my day job. In this repeated exposure it has been all too easy to become accustomed to their working practices and assume that these are "industry standard" throughout our fractured and beleaguered "National Health Service".
In short I've become used to an attitude of expedient management-- a "sort and shift" mentality if you will, that does as much (well, little) as is needed to "stabilize" a patient in the "Assessment Unit" or if absolutely unavoidable, the ward, then boot them home to be sorted out from home either through Out Patients, or, increasingly often, by the practice team, doing what would normally have been done by the admitting medical, surgical or other specialist team as appropriate.
In part it's been our fault for accepting that this is the status quo, but it's also a mark of a prevailing attitude in our cash strapped area the patients are the enemy, to be kept out of hospital at all costs (or more accurately on the flawed assumption that being kept out "saves" the cost of a bed). Of course these savings never truly accrue since an empty bed is just a bed available for somebody else to occupy, which they pretty much inevitably do.
Over the past year we have had occasion, as a family, to have dealings with the Dreaming Spires University Hospitals Trust on a couple of occasions. Sadly the latest had the unhappiest of outcomes, but the prevailing attitude of the hospitals we have had to deal with, the care lavished on us and the expectation that a patient remains the centre of attention, the recipient of genuine care and attention and not an inconvenience, has been startling.
It has been all too easy to accept that the traditional virtues of caring have been ground out of the system by relentless “make-work” target setting and an obsession with counting things, but looking, as I have had to, further afield, whilst those targets still apply elsewhere, the bunker mentality does not and patients are still that, namely “sufferers” deserving of support through adversity, and not either commercial transactions to be shifted in bulk to maximize income, or threats by their mere presence to the meeting of targets for maximum trolley waits or other nonsensical metrics.
It is probably no coincidence that the DSUHT is well funded where the A&DGH and BRI are financial basket cases, so I can't help wishing that, with the same expedience with which I relocated the "surgery" to Ambridge all those years ago when this blog was a mere babe in arms, I could wave a wand and relocate again to the Dreaming Spires. But until I can the poor Ambridge & District can expect me to be on their case on a weekly basis to remind them of what they used to be about and should be again.
It saddens me greatly to have to say this, but I fervently hope that in the event that I or those closest to me have the misfortune to be ill and in need of hospital care, we can contrive to do so in the land of the Dreaming Spires and not here in apparently idyllic Borchester.