Monday, January 05, 2009

Tears Of A Clown

The year rolls on, with barely a backward glance.

Big teaching hospital is creaking at the seams righ now; and not even under the weight of Le Morse and his visitors trooping up to glare at the ENT wizards. He's gone home, hurrah, and speedy may his recovery be.

No, it is the winter, and the cold spell it brings. This year has been especially rife with 'viral infections' and the elderly, or infirm - mostly with chronic lung conditions - have fallen from their perches in droves.

Result: Full hospital.

Consequence: My ED now regularly resembles a battleground. It doesn't take a genius to foresee it, really. If we see between 200 and 300 a day, and even half of them are majors patients, that equals about 5 ambulances arriving every hour. We have 16 cubicles (count 'em) and 16 obs beds, give or take. If there's nowhere for throughput to go, we saturate by about midday. Before, sometimes, if the night's been busy.

We've been boarding 14 or 15 patients for admission regularly when I come on shift recently. Some needing level 2, or 3(!) care.

The scene is set for a disaster; sure we laugh, and joke, and get on. What else can we do?

It is, frankly, a bit embarrassing.

(The Shroom would like to remind his readers, for legal reasons, that his views are his own, and do not reflect those of any official NHS organisation. Also, the above description is not intended to imply that sub-standard care is being delivered in the corridors of any hospitals, anywhere. I probably made all this up anyway...)

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