18th May, 2015
When confronted with bad news governments can often be guilty of quickly drawing up a short-term fix to avert any criticism and hope it will all go away.
Over two years ago in response to the growing pressures on A&E departments the Scottish Government hastily announced funding and an action plan that they said would relieve the problem.
However, last week new figures were released which show that things haven’t got any better.
At Inverclyde Royal Hospital the A&E target that 95% of patients are seen within 4 hours was breached on over 5,000 occasions since the government made its announcement.
In one instance an elderly patient had to wait over 17 hours before being treated.
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde has been surprisingly frank as to the reasons for the huge number of breaches.
They said that our hospitals are busy and getting busier. Doctors are performing more surgical procedures than before. Record numbers of patients are being admitted to hospital as emergency cases.
And at the other end, many patients are waiting too long in hospital beds for an appropriate care setting.
It’s clear in light of these developments that sticking plasters simply won’t do.
We need a whole system approach that not only addresses the pressures on our hospitals but also ensures there are more places in the community so that people can be cared for in or close to their own homes.
We can’t simply announce funding for our hospitals and leave out the social care sector.
As the Royal College of Emergency Nursing recently said we must allow for real planning and not simply the handling of short-term pressures.
It’s through a whole system approach we can prevent people from going into hospital unnecessarily or being there a minute longer than they need be.