I have just been over to Southend to visit my poorly Dad who is having a kidney removed next week. He has been telling me how well the medics are looking after him I have been cynical, cross examining him on his medication/treatment. Here in North Somerset the elderly have strokes and wait for up to three weeks for a scan. They are sent home from A & E and told to ask their doctor to admit them the next day. They are given blood thinners before it has been established whether they have a bleed or a clot. When I visited my dying friend last autumn I found him scrunched in his bed in a side room, the bed having collapsed, dehydrated and ignored by the enormous nurses that must spend their entire salary on food.
Not so in Southend. Dad had an angiogram yesterday. I rang the cardiac day care to enquire as to what time I could collect him. The sister brightly answered the phone and with no hint of the what-is-it-now-why-are-you-bothering-me tone I have got used to with my local hospital, told me I could pick him up at 18.40. Gosh, that's precise I thought. Sure enough I found him mid banter with a nurse at 18.35 and I sprung him at 18.40.
Later that evening he began to spurt blood from his wound. Spectacular and worrying. I drove him to the hospital as fast as the speed cameras would allow. We both reasoned it would be faster than an ambulance. We walked in and he was seen immediately, which is something I have never experienced at any A & E, ever, for anything. The fastest I have ever encountered was an hour wait for a doc to look over Calfy when she fell on her head and she was the only patient waiting. It wasn't as if the waiting room was not full, it was. But they prioritised Dad and treated him and were sweet to him and we went home bandaged and fine.
Dad says that every department he has encountered in the hospital is like that. I couldn't believe it. I told him how lucky he is that his local hospital isn't Mid Staffs Morgue. I don't suppose the staff at Southend Hospital are paid any more than the staff in Bath. How is it that they can offer top notch care, when others fall so short of the minimum?