NHS close to meltdown, says Brighton A&E consultant

Posted On 25 Dec 2017 at 4:19 pm

The NHS is close to meltdown, according to Brighton accident and emergency (A&E) consultant Rob Galloway.

Dr Galloway, who works at the Royal Sussex County Hospital, acts as an adviser to the NHS Support Federation.

In a Facebook post he made a public appeal to journalists up and down the country to ask more questions about key official statistics.

He suggested that they did not show the true picture of an NHS close to breaking point.

Dr Galloway, a Fellow of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine and medical school lecturer, wrote …

Dear Journalists, as an A&E consultant I am writing to ask for your help.

Up and down the country our A&E departments are in meltdown, our staff are at breaking point and we need your help.

Patients are being left in corridors because there are no ward beds for them to go to, staff are leaving shifts demoralised and exhausted and most importantly our patients are not getting the care they deserve.

We need the public to know about this, not to scaremonger, but for the truth to be out there – as the only way to get politicans to change is by voters knowing the reality and prioritising the NHS at the ballot box.

But without the public understanding what is going on, we will continue to have this crisis year after year after year. This is where we need your help. We need you to report the reality and not peddle the propaganda from our politicians.

The crisis is much worse than what you report. We all talk about the four-hour target and that we get around 90 per cent. But that includes all the patients who don’t need admission. But for the ones who need admission, the percentage who get admitted within four hours is so so so much lower than that. And for those patients, it is crucial for their wellbeing that they get admitted within four hours.

Why are you not asking for these figures? That would help reveal the truth.

Rob Galloway

Then you report 12-hour breaches. But in England (but not the rest of the UK) the clock starts ticking when a specialist senior has seen them. So they can be in A&E for 18 hours and not be a 12-hour breach.

Why are you not asking for the figures of patients who stay in A&E for more than 12 hours? That would help reveal the truth.

And what about asking how many patients are spending time in corridors?

Because if you did reveal these figures, you would soon see the real extent of the crisis. And it is a crisis. One which will lead to a breaking point soon unless something changes.

The fault does not lie with the patients. Yes a few inappropriately attend – but they are not the problem. They can be quickly turned around and discharged.

The fault is not with the staff. They are working tirelessly and doing an amazing job despite the conditions they are working in.

The fault does not lie wth managers and hospital executives. They are working relentlessly to make things work as well as they can.

And despite what the government peddle, it certainly is not the fault of the GPs. Although there is falling numbers of GP surgeries, they are doing an amazing job at reducing the number of A&E attendances.

Most importantly, the fault does not lie with the “system” of the NHS – a model of care which utilities its resources to maximal effect.

The fault lies with the government. Years of failed austerity depriving the NHS and councils of vital monies and investment is taking its toll.

A&Es are struggling because of the frail elderly who need a ward bed but can’t get one. They can’t get one because there are not enough beds within our hospitals (we have one of the smallest numbers of bed per capita in the whole of Europe) and because those who need to get out of hospital can’t because of a lack of social care.

In addition some money which has been spent on the NHS had been wasted on pointless reorganisations designed to start the process of NHS privatisation.

Please start reporting that. Please start reporting the truth. Please start reporting how close we are to meltdown and please help get the public worked up about what is going on.

Because sadly our government don’t seem that bothered. They and their friends can afford private health care and therefore don’t rely on it. Even worse, many would be happy to see our NHS privatised.

But for everyone else we need the NHS. The staff will battle on (and it is a battle at the moment). We will continue to do everything we can. We will continue to adapt, modernise and reform. We will continue to provide the most amazing possible care despite the conditions. But there is only so much our staff can take. And if we lose our staff, we lose the NHS.

Journalists – we need your help. Please help.

And if you are not a journalist reading this, please share (publicly), or tweet it or send on to your friends in the hope that journalists will pick this up and start reporting the truth.

  1. Marianne Nicoll Reply

    This is so spot on, needing alot of treatment right now, and having been regularly caught up in the nhs system over the past 6weeks its very scary knowing you are not getting the care you need

  2. Nicole Jackson Reply

    Now that’s the truth! I work for the NHS and can backup everything that’s been said by this consultant. I have felt from a few years back that the powers that be are making it impossible for staff to work under such pressure due to cuts in funding and staff. I feel they want workers to quit the NHS for it to collapse then they can privatise it. I am exhausted from working and feel I can’t sustain the pace I am compelled to work at. I would lpay to see someone from government try and work in these conditions and not get a pay rise for years and years despite the outrageous rise in food and energy bills. I have to say working for the NHS makes you sick !

  3. Sbt Reply

    I agree with all they say… I have worked for the NHS for nearly 22 years, but they should also look into the bullying culture that is rife within the NHS, this leads to sickness and non attendance… I should know, I tried to take my own life because of bullying and how inept the matter has been dealt with. The so called NHS values seem to only apply to a certain group of staff. Staff are so stretched, worn and so so unhappy. People might say leave then…. If only it was that easy.

  4. Amira Reply

    True true true and sad !

  5. Kate Prudence Reply

    Think this situation in the nhs is shocking when the government sends billions a year abroard leaving the british and all what it stands for an underclass .hence the nhs is being starved of essential money needed to run efficiently .its the worst situation for the staff to face these kind of conditions this should not be happening n this day and age.i feel they are deliberately running it down in order to privatise the nhs they know what they are doing .im so grateful to the staff who battle on in these conditions the best kind of people .

  6. Steven Goddard Reply

    And please journalists, ask why consultants are earning so much money

    • Chaz Reply

      Spot on Steven.
      More so when they are Labour consultants.
      It just taints the image and belies the message.

  7. Rebecca Vallance Reply

    Listen to the amazing people who are working so hard to keep patients alive in the nhs…. without it the whole fabric of our fragile and vulnerable society will be lost. Help the NHS and our society. WHY is it okay for the wealthy to get healthy and the majority to be treated as they are self perpetuating in wrong life style choices and don’t therefore deserve treatment. leads to the conclusion in future we only treat the humans beings with money!!!!!. Please listen to the consultant…he is risking everything. Its time to take action and for the average person to fight for our basic human rights…..lets think, take action and trigger a change for the higher good.

  8. sd Reply

    As a student nurse who has just finished a placement in A&E, I agree completely with what this consultant has said. And…look at what this government has done to student nurses – no bursary anymore. We work full shifts alongside the nursing and medical teams. Who are our future nurses going to be if no one can afford to train to become one?

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