As if an accident isn’t bad enough, the actual A+E experience is absolutely dire. Do hospitals deliberately make the experience dire, so we’re not too attracted to going.
My daughter burnt herself on her leg with an electric lamp last night. It didn’t look like your average burn and was a biggish oval. Yes, we could have treated it ourselves but it looked serious, so off to Clayton Hospital at 9pm. Firstly, if something is urgent, where do you park? There are a few 10min parking bays. Does that mean we’ll be seen to in 10mins and someone will look after my distressed daughter whilst I move the car? Dream On. So she hobbled from the carpark to the Emergency desk.
When we arrived at the Emergency desk, three women behind the windowed desk are gassing to each other, no exaggeration, for over 5 mins, and didn’t even turn to acknowledge us. I was patient, but in the end, rudely caught their attention. Another 5-10min standing at the desk to wait for the triage nurse. Now they know they’re admin staff and it needs a triage nurse to attend to us, but when patients show up in distress they don’t know that, and the signage isn’t clear until after you’ve been attended to and sit down. If no triage nurse is at the window, you have no context for what a triage nurse is, especially as it’s an emergency.
Next, the triage nurse has a look and they tell you to sit down and wait, but without telling you her assessment. Maybe they’re scared to tell you in case you kick stink at not being top of the queue. People are really suffering in the waiting area, but only the most urgent (or those who kick stink) are treated quickly. Why must the rest suffer because the experience of the staff is that most presenting cases aren’t that serious. We’re encouraged to go to the doctor or hospital just to be on the safe side, but are then made to wait for hours on end in terrible conditions.
So here’s the thing. If you don’t think my daughter is that urgent and you make us wait for over 2 hours, I trust your assessment, therefore I’d like to take her home and use Google to treat her! Is that ok. It’s not as though we don’t know what the problem is, she’s burnt her leg with an electric lamp. We are then capable of reading up a few treatments and see which ones look like best groupings. The only issue is finding a late night pharmacy and not being able to use anything that needs a prescription.
Why do we have to wait for over two hours to have a burn treated? Doctors hate it when we self diagnose and use the internet, but you try waiting for a few hours with many suffering people, and a feeling that the hospital really doesn’t care, until they each apologise in turn for keeping us waiting for so long!!