In the last few days I have had some close connection to the health service in Wales. Welsh NHS as it calls itself, is under tremendous pressures. The response times are appalling. The banal nature of phone triage has caught me out on two occasions in the last month.
The first time was when NHS111 advised me to ring a GP surgery when the problem needed quick hospital assessment for a post natal problem, which turned out to be an infection needed immediate antibiotics. The second was for a lady who collapsed and needed full assessment to exclude serious conditions, but there was no transport for 4 hours. Both these patients were taken to hospital by relatives. They were lucky to have transportation. Delays in either case could have led to serious problems.
I have been told stories of GPs who have decided it is better to ask a lay person to ring the ambulance in any situation. This is because the services are so stretched that the telephone operators are advised to assume that a GP surgery is a safe place to be. The fact that GPs are never exposed to emergencies, and that emergencies are outside their contract ( and their competency in many cases ) does not occur to them.
The result of all this, all over the country, is that private services will take hold, and flourish. The health divide will get larger. The access to services (especially emergency ones) is getting worse, and worse, and worse….. and its going to get even worse. Don’t live in the wrong area.
Access is the most important point, and even this is failing.