The current situation at the hospital is desperate despite heroic efforts by the staff at all levels every day.
In my opinion it has been brought about over many years of deliberate policy from government.
Do I remember rightly that wards were shut all over the country in the name of economy to shed ‘spare capacity’? And didn’t we once have here St Thomas’ as a place of convalescence on the sea front, where today’s patients who are past hospital treatment, but not yet fit to go home, could have transferred? And was there not St Mary’s too?
We once used to turn up at the GP’s surgery if we felt treatment was needed, and they would see everyone who came, and now it’s often a week for an appointment. If you think you need a doctor, you will fear that a week’s delay could make your urgent condition serious.
The drop-in centre, a very useful facility, is removed. Towns nearby have their accident departments closed, which is an unacceptable backward step. There is no wonder that all these factors result in the overwhelmed A&E we now see.
I suggest the following - encourage more use of pharmacies directly, with more responsibility allowed for giving prescription medicines, discourage unnecessary waste of resources by charging for missed GP appointments when the next one is attempted, those who require treatment while intoxicated should be charged for it, and above all accept that the public want a well-funded health service and be prepared to collect enough tax to provide it.
Privatisation will only take the best bits, and cream off a profit leaving less for the actual service, leaving the state with the really expensive parts.
Finally, can I say that the four hours target shows that something is terribly wrong. To have that as a standard to aim at! Appalling! Imagine if it took that long at Sainsbury’s to be served! If the queue grows they put more people on the checkouts.
Hospitals should be funded on patients though the door and treated, and if an accident department had a high demand it would generate enough funding for the required number of doctors and nurses.