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NHS nurse strike UK: I’ve just been in A&E. What I saw horrified me

by Ozva Admin
NHS nurse strike UK: I’ve just been in A&E. What I saw horrified me

“Nurse, nurse, I need fresh air because my feet are swollen.” I am sitting in what I will call a waiting area, on a drip, waiting for a bed in a big city hospital. I won’t bother to describe the first few hours in the A&E waiting room. You’ve heard it all before. And it’s not even Saturday night.

The place is packed to the brim.. Opposite, a well-dressed old man, on his hands and knees, searches for an imaginary piece of junk, which he tries to put in his pocket. He has already stepped on his glasses.

In the small section next to him is a group of men. The language is mature. A patient assumes the role of a speaker, diagnosing fellow patients and periodically asking for help. A nurse stops by to convince the old man to sit down. She has been on duty for 11 hours, hot, tired, no lunch, just coffee.

An overweight man in a nebulizer joins the fray, out of breath. He goes out. Back after a few minutes, he had been outside for a quick smoke. He apparently has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, emphysema and a hole in his lung.

Some patients have three family members with them, despite ads that say one per patient. That adds to the crowd and noise. Good job, Covid not rife.

My daughter still doesn’t have a seat. There is a crying girl in a tartan scarf. A woman Googles her symptoms in case she has multiple sclerosis. An old man, asleep through all the constant coming and going, is blocking the hallway. How do the staff do this job, day in and day out?

Hours later, I am moved to a small temporary room. Without sleep, the dementia patient next to me has been crying and screaming most of the night. Another old woman says that she is worried about her nine children… in fact, she is referring to her cats. The young lady across the street wears wax strips on her eyebrows and tries to persuade us to give it a try. Light relief.

Two days later, I arrive at my living room, where I will spend almost three weeks. The staff is excellent. I undergo tests, almost every day. I can’t fault the care they show me.

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I see everything that is good about the NHS and everything that is bad. Spotless rooms thanks to underpaid cleaners, who often function as a warning system. Staff looking for pillows or sheets in the hospital. Meals are affected due to supply issues – a sandwich dinner instead of bangers and mash. The food man is embarrassed.

Nurses should not have to treat someone whose head is jumping with lice, nor should they be abused because they need “more medicine”. That is solved with a whispered phone call and a meeting outside.

None of the staff (nurses, doctors, health care assistants) want to go on strike, but are afraid they will have to. One or two are thinking of getting into the world of private health, for better shifts, more money. There is a supermarket jobs mention. Early retirement is another option.

Where is humanity? Where is the planning? Where is the parity? And where is the money? Aneurin Bevan must be turning in his grave.

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