I had first hand experience of our great health service yesterday.
Herself was brought in to the main [only?] hospital serving our area at around four in the afternoon. The ambulance lads were brilliant and advised me not to follow in for about an hour or so as Herself had to be “processed”.
I duly drove up to the hospital and parked in the multi-story spot. I eventually found where A&E was and entered the reception area. Chaos! A large room packed with people, a lot of whom were standing as there was not enough seating. I queued for the reception desk. They told me she was in Area 3 and said they would “buzz me in” as the doors are locked.
So I arrived in the main A&E area of the hospital.
I don’t quite know how to describe it. Total and utter chaos It’s a little maze of corridors, cubicles and rooms and every spare space seemed to be taken up with trolleys and all were occupied. Every now and then another would arrive from the ambulance bay and they would go off looking for a spare spot to leave it.
The staff were lovely, I have to say. The only problem was that they were rushing around all the time so it was difficult to find out what the fuck was going on. Any time I caught one they would say they would “find out” but would then dash off to another emergency.
There was nowhere to sit down as there was nowhere to put a chair, if there was a chair. And if there had been a chair it would have been removed to make way for another trolley. So I had to stand while Herself lay on a trolley literally shoulder to shoulder with the adjacent ones. Leaving the area meant I would be locked out and the only way was to queue at the reception desk and ask to be let in again.
Eventually Herself was discharged after eight hours. We arrived home well after midnight. At this stage Herself was grand but I was in agony [ever tried standing still for 8 hours?].
The problem as I see it is the idea of the “Centre of Excellence”. They closed down all the minor hospitals that had adequate facilities and concentrated on just one hospital. So that one got all the equipment and the staff but it meant that the catchment area is vast. It may be a “Centre of Excellence” and the care may be first rate but the place is just swamped by emergencies coming from all over south Dublin and Wicklow.
They are currently building the new Children’s Hospital. It is the world’s most expensive hospital, currently estimated to cost €1.4 billion.
The money is obviously there to throw around. The staff are overworked and underpaid. It’s just the people who are running the whole thing haven’t a fucking clue.