Yesterday I visited the emergency department of my local NHS hospital as a ‘walking wounded’. Now I know the NHS gets a lot of stick, I myself have given them some stick in the past and some of it is genuinely deserved – but to be honest in this instance the staff were amazing, the treatment I received was first rate, I was offered food and tea and kept updated regarding my treatment the whole time.
Now I started to write this blog with the intention of outlining the process I went through from reception to discharge, to show good it was. However, on reading it back it was ‘dull as ditch water’ and I gave up reading it quite early on. Didn’t really bode well for a blog!
So I started again and thought I would highlight two or three things that I feel could be improved upon. (Please nobody say it is still dull as ditch water – it’s the best I can do, ok)!
The urine bottles. I had to use one of these bottles which is fine and understandable. However, after using the bottle, there was no way to wash my hands. With all the signs around asking people to use the hand pumps provided on the way in and out of the wards it does seem a bit strange that no option is made for the patients.
Maybe the risk is low but with magazines being removed from doctors waiting rooms due to the risk of infection spread, I would have thought this is an area that could be looked at.
The paper sick bowls and urine bottles themselves. Now I am sure these receptacles are perfectly serviceable for the job they are designed for and I guess cost effective. However, when full, they are carried through a ward to be disposed of, passing many patients many of whom have weakened immune systems, staff and visitors.
Would it not be better for them to have lids? These could be hinged fold over lids like a takeaway box or a seperate disposable paper lid to fit over the top. I’m sure it would be nicer for the staff to carry, keep the smell in and reduce the risk of spreading infection. In fact even an aeroplane sick bag might be better.
Firstly the reason I was at the emergency department was because my GP was not allowed to refer me directly to orthopaedics, it had to be done through the emergency department.
If this process is being repeated across the NHS and GPs are unable to refer patients directly then it is not surprising that the emergency departments are feeling the strain. Many patients could bypass the emergency department completely.
Then in a strange twist, I have to be referred to the spinal unit at another hospital, but the orthopaedic department were unable to do this, it has to be done by my GP. So although my scan had been sent to the other hospital looked at by the spinal team and agreed a referral should be made, the scan and all my details have to be sent to my GP, who then has to contact the spinal team, make a referral and await a reply. I then need to make an appointment to see my GP to find out about the referral!
Surely if the orthopaedic department, who were already in communication with the spinal unit were able to register the request for a referral. The spinal team could contact me direct with an appointment. Cutting out the necessity to take up a GPs time to communicate with the spinal team and to lose an appointment slot just to give me the details.
Each unnecessary process is wasting valuable time and money. All staff are very busy and cutting out unnecessary processes would free up time (and money) which could be used more productively.
Obviously there must be a reason the processes are arranged like this and I would be happy for someone to explain them to me, because to me they just seem unnecessarily complicated.
What do you think? Do you understand the processes involved? Do you think the potential infection control measure I mentioned are unnecessary?
I would love to hear your thoughts so please comment below.
Thanks for reading
Justin – founder of twitway.com