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Friday, August 14, 2009

Another visit

I spent an interesting afternoon yesterday with the Royal College of Nursing having a tour of the Accident and Emergency Department in the Heath Hospital in Cardiff. It is not a facility I am familiar with, being based in Swansea, so it was interesting to get a different perspective.

When I arrived the A and E was reasonably quiet but it can get much busier at weekends and in the winter. There is a booking system for patients brought in by ambulances but at busy times it is not always possible to receive all the patients and ambulances can be seen queueing outside with patients waiting on trolleys in the corridor. That is not a good picture and clearly some thought has to be given to how we can minimise those occurrences.

The overall impression I came away with was of a dedicated and hard-working staff doing their best to deliver the best possible service for patients. I was particularly impressed with the paediatric A&E and with the two assessment units and marvelled at the feat of engineering involved in installing the new helicopter pad. Apparently, whenever it is used all the traffic has to be stopped around the hospital for half an hour, causing tailbacks on nearby roads.

There are a number of issues I have taken away with me for further thought not least the GP-led service adjacent to A&E which seems to be under-resourced and the various issues that continue to arise all over the NHS by the present shortage in middle grade doctors. There is also the fact that wherever I go there appears to be unanimity on the value of walk-in centres as a means of taking pressure off accident and emergency facilities. Why progress is so slow on introducing these in Wales so far I do not know.
Pretty much all NHS staff have the interest of the patients foremost in their minds.

I would agree with you about GP lead services, and the role of Out of Hours services holding up ambulance services
As I am sure you now Peter - the default value for change, in the establishment, is 'inertia' . Do you think the whole system needs a root and branch review - so that the dedicated staff can deliver a service they can be proud of?
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