9th April  2015

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Sir Robert Francis

In conversation with Roy Lilley

Whistle-Blowing, Complaints, the CQC and Local Guardians   

Health Chat at the King's Fund 18th May Details here

News and Comment from Roy Lilley

Vera had lain on the floor for just over three hours before the postman discovered her. The ambulance was called.  The paramedics were chatty and kind and examined her inch by inch. They wrapped the frail 80 year old in a cellular blanket, lifted her gently onto a wheelchair and whisked her off to the local A&E.


For just over an hour she waited in the ambulance. There were eight ambulances ahead of her. A&E was choc-a-bloc. When her turn came she was taken into the hospital and parked in the corridor for twenty minutes. The nurses were kind, the doctor seemed very concerned and shone a light into her eyes. Eventually they found her a cubicle.


She had some blood taken, a scan, told them her name, date of birth and address six times and wondered why they asked her the name of the Prime Minister. She thought they would have known?


For three days she was cared for, pampered and looked after on Princess Ward. The food was excellent. Much better than meals-on-wheels. As much as she enjoyed the easy access bath and shower, she wanted to go home. She was worried about Angus... the cat. Who was feeding him? Letting him out for his regular perambulation? She realised she didn't have her door key... how would she get in?


The doctor was worried about Vera, she was better but in no fit state to pick up where she had left off. The fall, the shock, the time in hospitals had combined to take its toll. Loss of acuity they called it.  Apparently it happens all the time.


The OTs found her a walking frame and helped her along the corridor to a room with a little kitchen. She couldn't lift the kettle to make a cuppa. The three or four stairs in the corner were beyond her; even with the hand rail.


They told Vera she would have to wait for a 'package'. Vera couldn't recall ordering anything. She didn't understand. The nurse explained they wanted to get her home safely.  It took 12 days for social services to sort out Vera's 'package'.


All along the NHS was kind and within its reach and the resources at its command did all it could. Vera would have no idea she was one of 133,026 patients delayed in ambulances in January.


Vera would not know she was part of the 2.9% increase in A&E admissions. Neither would she have had an inkling that she was part of the numbers that made up the 23% increase in delayed transfers of care.


I guess none of this matters because Sarah Pinto-Duschinsky, director of operations and delivery for NHS England, said;


"English A&E performance compared favourably

with other countries."


Well, that's alright then.  Gimmestrenght.


With acknowledgements to HSJs excellent infographics and analysis. 


Sir Robert Francis,

in conversation with Roy Lilley 

Details here 

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