Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Misrepresentation of A & E news story on Daybreak this morning

One of the main stories on Daybreak this morning was the closure over the weekend of a number of A & E departments including Liverpool.

Their reporter, Cordelia Kretzchmar, was situated right outside the hospital/A & E entrance in Liverpool this morning explaining that only life threatening cases were being accepted on Monday, otherwise the department was closed and that this was because the NHS is under pressure, people using the service who don't need it. Which of course follows on from a report published by the society of A & E consultants a couple of weeks ago, highlighted in the media at the time and as I recall commented on in my blog.

This is complete and utter, uninformed nonsense and here's why.

If you've read my Twitter feed and recent posts you'll know I was in Liverpool over the whole Bank Holiday weekend and commented on several occasions that due to the war in the Atlantic event Liverpool was jam packed with additional people - 100,000's of them. I commented that I'd never in 42 years seen so many people in one place.

In addition it was very hot and sunny over the weekend (especially on Saturday and Sunday), although this was forecast I suspect many people wandering around the city centre and Albert Docks area were caught out - my red neck is testament to the fact I wasn't expecting it to be quite so warm myself !

So in addition to the usual demands on a city centre casualty department, there were also extra heart attacks, falls, accidents due to the sheer number of extra people in the city you also probably had massive number of dehydration and heat stroke cases too - many dozen I would imagine over the three days. This is not to even consider the massive volume of extra drink related injury - many of the people in the city will have stayed on during the three evenings over the weekend to eat drink and make merry. It is inevitable  then that extra revellers ended up in the A & E department. Again I can confirm that at 4.00pm there was a 30 minute wait to eat in one of the Italian restaurants at the Albert Docks - the pubs and eateries in Liverpool One and the Docks area were all heaving for most of the day.

In short, the A & E department was looking at certainly double and probably treble or more the usual call on its resources against a 'usual' weekend. It is impossible to staff an NHS unit in preparation for such an unusual even so had to pass run off cases to other hospitals (as mentioned in the Daybreak report) - apparently according to the Daybreak piece London was also affected similarly - again another tourist hotspot affected over a busy weekend so not a surprise and not 'news'.

This so called story is a non story that is in fact using a busy weekend to highlight non existent problems within the NHS.

It is a classic example of the media creating a lack of confidence in the ability of the NHS to cope and worrying people for no reason. It is a fact that life threatening injuries were still being accepted at the Liverpool A & E unit and non emergencies were being sent to a hospital 20 minutes travel away. I think if I had a minor injury I'd have preferred to go to a quieter A & E unit rather than sit in the packed one in Liverpool anyway.

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