Further to the report in Saturday’s Chronicle, it is highly disturbing to find that three key North East Hospitals were forced to close their doors to ambulances this winter due to an unprecedented demand on emergency services. This resulted in ambulances being diverted to neighbouring A&E’s. When, however, we consider the bigger picture, the situation is a little more understandable.
Nothing happens in isolation. Health and social care services are interrelated, and where there is a cut back which results in reduced accessibility to one type of service (for example, a clinic being closed / amalgamated with another neighbouring Trust, or increased workload in primary care, or the closure / reduced hours at a walk-in centre), then there will undoubtedly be an increased incidence of undiagnosed or acute conditions, plus a bottleneck in that service and other associated services. This situation, when coupled with staff shortages at A&E and ever-increasing distances to travel for emergency treatment, creates a volatile mix.
Our doctors, nurses and ambulance staff in the North East undoubtedly rank amongst the most highly skilled and dedicated clinicians in the country, yet face intolerable operational pressures on a day-to-day basis. They need the practical resources so that they can get on and do their job.
High demand – Yes. But we also need to see the bigger picture. The recent ambulance diverts at Cramlington, South Tyneside and County Durham A&E’s are clearly a symptom of the chronic and systemic underfunding of health and social care.
If you believe that the NHS should remain fully funded so that the doors can remain open at all times to provide healthcare for all, then contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. or come along to our next meeting – details are here.