So now we know – it’s the NHS 111 service that’s caused 95 per cent of the rise in patients attending A&E.
Of the 450,000 extra people who went to A&E last year, 220,000 were told to go there by NHS 111 call handlers and another 220,000 went there in an ambulance sent to them by the 111 service.
So this A&E crisis was never about people panicking and rushing there for no good reason, it was down to a bunch of non-medics who’d had just six weeks training to make life or death decisions.
And the reason they send so many people to A&E is to cover their own backsides if someone dies.
But the real culprit here is whoever sanctioned this daft service in the first place.
How could it ever have worked when ill-informed laymen are being asked to decide in a matter of minutes what doctors spend seven years learning and the rest of their lives perfecting?
“The Cancer Drugs Fund use the term ‘‘insufficient value for money’ – would this appropriately describe the flagship NHS 111 service?”
Credits – Malone, C. Column. Sunday Mirror 18 January 2015. p. 25
One of the main reasons there is such a crisis in hospitals is that a large number of elderly people are occupying beds because they can’t be sent home.
And the reason they can’t is that the home care system is collapsing.
There is terrible pressure on carers which leads to them having almost no time to spend with people in desperate need.
Gillian Demet has turned whistleblower because she thinks what is happening to care needs to be exposed.
She tells how she had just 15 minutes to look after each of her clients – 15 minutes in which she might, typically, have to get someone out of bed, undress them, wash them, dress them, make their breakfast, give it to them – and then dash off to do it all over again. And she worked 14 hours some days for the minimum wage.
Yet Gillian’s main concern isn’t the pressure she was under but the impact on her clients.
Incredibly, her boss at private care firm Sevacare, Ravi Bains, agrees with her about the inadequacy of the service. He says such short visits are unfair on carers and those they are looking after.
Mr Bains is just as forthright in saying where the blame lies – with government cuts.
The amount spent on home care has plummeted by 25 per cent since the coalition came to power and will fall much lower if the Tories win the election.
David Cameron’s big campaign pitch is that we can’t afford to spend more. On the contrary, Prime Minister – we can’t afford to spend so little on some things, with home care at the top of the list.
This is an appalling way to treat the most vulnerable, needy pensioners.
“All of our health and care sectors are in crisis now – what on earth the future holds is anyone’s guess – but be prepared, it looks certain to get worse, if it ever gets better – ‘Care in the Community’, what was that?”
Sunday Mirror. 18/01/2015. P.14