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It’s getting really hard to persuade people to go into hospital these days.
They want to go in about as much as they’re wanted when they get there. Some days the hospital can barely cope, and they know it. They’re on the sharp end of not being coped with.
I had a chap the other day, home visit; bloody diarrhoea, exhausted, dehydrated, in pain. Frail, old. Absolutely refusing admission. Even when I played the risk-of-death card. He’d been in a few months ago and he had no intention of going back, ever. Much nicer at home with a clean en-suite within sprinting distance and his wife and family doing their best.
He had to go in in the end but he was sicker by then and I’m not sure how he’ll do.
We don’t send them in just for the sheer hell of it. We don’t think, well, not much else to do today, the waiting room seems unusually quiet, I’m totally bored with twiddling my thumbs and painting my nails, so – I’ll tell you what, why don’t I spend the next 20 minutes arranging an admission for you so you can go and lie on a trolley in the corridor for the next few hours, contemplating what the S in STP stands for?
Meanwhile the bed manager re-designates the linen cupboard as a new emergency ward, and Jeremy Hunt notices that GPs are ‘knackered’. Who knew? He also mentions ‘magic’, which is nice. Presumably we all went to the Hogwarts School of Medicine; but the problem is we’re fresh out of white rabbits and the hat is empty, although that’s sounding less Hermione Granger and more Paul Daniels.
I devised a new slogan in one of my luxurious three second gaps between patients the other day: The NHS – Doing More With Less.
Fewer beds – more admissions. Fewer GPs – more consultations. Less money – more litigation. Yay, what fun.
Half the time now, you get a group of doctors talking at a meeting it’s like a scene from The Great Escape, only instead of Tom, Dick and Harry the tunnels are called Early Retirement, Going to Australia, and Long Term Sick Leave.
Please take me with you. I can see. I can see perfectly.
Felicitas Woodhouse is a GP, who writes under a pseudonym. She was the winner of the 2016 BMA writing competition
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