Theresa May declared this week that the NHS is ‘better prepared for the winter than ever before’. Meanwhile, in the real world, doctors up and down the country have been taking to Twitter to catalogue the absolute chaos and despair that’s been caused in the NHS thanks to the Tories.
Emergency medicine consultant Dr Richard Fawcett tweeted about the ‘third world conditions’ of the A&E department:
— Dr Richard Fawcett (@docfawcett) January 2, 2018
Emergency medicine consultant Dr Anu Mitra described what he called ‘corridor medicine’ and went on to suggest that:
Tomorrow I think we should just get Estates to take the swing doors off resus, they’re superfluous. This is battlefield medicine.
Like everyone else we’ve been practicing corridor Medicine on a brutal shift today. Moreover,we have two triages: normal triage and resus triage. Our 5-bed has been running with 7-8 patients. Each blue-light ambulance – and there have been MANY…(cont.) #corridorEM #NHSCrisis
— Anu Mitra (@AcmeDR) January 2, 2018
Dr Mitra might in fact be lucky: in other places, they’ve even run out of corridors.
But it’s okay, folks, the government feels your pain. Yesterday, Jeremy Hunt apologised to the estimated 55,000 people whose ‘routine’ operations have been cancelled because of the current crisis. The cancelled operations were ‘absolutely not what I want’, he said. He probably should have stopped there rather than going on to essentially say that ‘look on the bright side, it’s better to have your operation cancelled in advance than on the day’. A sentiment which is of little comfort to those waiting in terrible pain for their operations.
Hunt’s apology cut no ice with Junior Doctor Aislinn Macklin, who tweeted:
— Aislinn M-D (@aislinnmacklin) January 3, 2018
Jeremy Hunt should probably have learnt by now that if in doubt, keep your mouth shut. He recently made the mistake of suggesting that half of A&E departments were performing better than last year.
Paediatrician Dr Rod Kelly wasted no time in responding:
BREAKING: Jeremy Hunt responds to the #NHSCrisis “50% of A&Es are coping”
About as reassuring as:
1. 50% of your house is not on fire
2. 50% of this plane is functioning well
3. The scorpion infestation is 50% resolved
4. 50% of your children returned from the school trip pic.twitter.com/3YZklblToN
— Rod Kelly (@rodkelly50) January 3, 2018
I know it is difficult, I know it is frustrating, I know it is disappointing for people and I apologise.
But wasn’t there something a bit odd about the photo that accompanied the report of her visit? David Schneider certainly thought so.
You can tell this is a staged photo as the patient is in the hospital rather than sitting for hours in the back of an ambulance. pic.twitter.com/U5Yhqsniap
— David Schneider (@davidschneider) January 4, 2018
Last week, Labour MP and doctor Rosena Allin-Khan went to see for herself what conditions were like, working a shift in A&E at a London hospital. The answer was that they were the worst she’d seen in her whole career as a doctor:
Spoke with @KateProctorES about my shift on NYE at my local hospital. The NHS is at breaking point. Staff are doing their best in absolutely appalling conditions, the Government must act by giving the NHS the resources it needs. pic.twitter.com/volm7pwP3b
— Dr Rosena Allin-Khan (@DrRosena) January 3, 2018
Jeremy Hunt is, of course, falling over himself to praise NHS staff, in a vain bid to curry favour. Recently he said they ‘could not be working any harder’, and the response from one of those on the frontline was immediate:
So if we can’t work any harder perhaps we could have the 100,000 extra staff we need, the £20b extra funds we need and less of the platitudes which we don’t? https://t.co/lGvOI6DcYM
— Dr Dominic Pimenta (@juniordrblog) January 1, 2018
It’s a nice idea, but platitudes come cheap, and the Tories need to spend all the spare money on tax breaks for their rich friends – not something pointless like saving the lives of commoners.
Yes, despite overwhelming evidence from those on the frontline that the NHS is being driven over a cliff by the Tories, don’t expect to see Hunt and May loosening the purse strings any time soon.
Austerity must continue, apparently whatever the cost.
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