As a retired health professional it causes me great sorrow to write this letter. In the past three months I have taken three elderly patients with genuine medical conditions to the A&E department at Scarborough Hospital.
This has resulted in me sitting in the waiting room for a total of 14 hours. During these periods I have observed the comings and goings of patients, medical and nursing staff and ambulance personnel. In such a crowded small space one cannot but fail to overhear snippets of conversations, telephone calls etc. I don’t think I happened to pick three abnormal periods but my observations lead me to the conclusion that the situation there is an absolute shambles and the department not fit for purpose.
The decision to relocate the walk-in service from York Place was a disaster and this exacerbated a situation already under strain. Two of the patients I took to A&E could have been managed by a domiciliary visit by a general practitioner with the back up of a district nurse. When help was sought for the three patients they were all directed to A&E.
I have no criticism of the A&E staff who work in intolerable conditions and I feel sorry that they have to work in this gulag. My experience has only been that of an observer but as I approach 80 years of age I realise that, by the law of averages, I could end up in A&E as a patient. The thought of waiting to be seen for three to four hours while feeling unwell fills me with a deep foreboding. Managers and politicians would do as well to remember that one day they too may find themselves in A&E as a patient.