DR RICHARD Fawcett, a Royal Stoke Hospital consultant, has apologised for ‘third world’ conditions in the hospital’s A&E, saying that he was ‘heartbroken’ to see frail and elderly patients waiting in corridors ‘for hours’ due to overcrowding.
Waits of more than ten hours have been reported over the Christmas period at the Royal Stoke!
In an earlier tweet sent shortly after 2am on Wednesday morning, he had said, ‘Still in A&E as TTL (Trauma Team Leader), it breaks my heart to see so many frail and elderly patients on the corridor for hours and hours due to exit block.’
Dr John Oxtoby, Medical Director at UHNM (University Hospitals of North Midlands) said: ‘The health system in the North Midlands was under severe and sustained pressure over the Christmas period and this challenging situation has continued into the New Year. During this time the emergency departments will continue to see the sickest patients first, which is unfortunately leading to long waits for other patients.’
The truth of the matter is that the NHS is being collapsed by savage Tory cuts and savage cuts of NHS facilities that have seen scores of A&Es and maternity units closed all over the country and over 100,000 beds slashed out of the NHS.
The crisis of the NHS has now reached the stage where firefighters with just six days basic first aid training are being sent to medical emergencies instead of ambulances! This happened on over 44,000 occasions last year and included patients suffering from heart attacks and strokes.
Crews dealt with 44,121 call-outs last year that would normally have gone to paramedics – a rate of 120 a day and four times as many as in 2010. They have treated patients who have suffered cardiac arrests, strokes, fits and heavy bleeding.
Not only does this put the patient at risk, but if a fire breaks out while the firefighters have already been deployed for a medical emergency, it puts those trapped in the burning buildings at risk. Remember the Grenfell Inferno! Nobody, man, woman or child is safe under the Tories. Now the annual winter crisis is being used to shut down the NHS to the millions who need it!
NHS senior managers said yesterday that plans are in place to deal with the ‘pressures’ in England. These plans include the cancelling of all ‘non-urgent treatments’, and surgery such as hip and knee replacements until the end of January, and perhaps beyond that depending on the weather and the critical nature of the NHS, that has been looted by the Tories, with its land now being sold off!
Hospitals have also been given the green light to put patients in mixed sex wards. NHS England director for acute care, Prof Keith Willett, said he had not seen such pressures in the NHS since the 1990s. He however denied the service was in crisis.
Professor Suzanne Mason, from the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, described this situation as a ‘huge tragedy’. However, this is a man-made crisis of a free-at-the-point-of-need health care system that is admired all over the world, but which the Tories are determined to crash and privatise.
The truth is that the NHS, whose land is now being sold off to raise billions to bring in privatising STPs, is being readied for privatisation. Professor Mason said the measures that had been taken for the winter crisis were ‘too little too late’ as hospitals simply had no beds free and treatments would now have had to be cancelled.
She added: ‘Patient safety is being compromised – there’s no doubt about that. When patients are in crowded emergency departments and staff cannot actually move between patients and provide the basic level of care that’s required, then safety is compromised.’
There is only one remedy for this crisis of the NHS, and that is for the trade unions to take strike action to bring down the Tories and bring in a workers government. This will raise the cash to finance the NHS by nationalising the banks, the big drug companies and the major industries, putting them under workers management.
The truth is that it is capitalism that is killing the NHS and it is capitalism that has to go and be replaced by socialism and a planned socialist economy that will have the NHS at its centre!