Wednesday 11 April 2012

I want, does get

"21 year old female, vomiting"

This was the second time in as many hours we were sent to the same job; an 82 year old on the floor, post falling, and unable to get up. The call was now almost 3 hours old and considering we had previously been cancelled to go to a 40 year old bloke with a 2 week history of tummy ache we were looking forward to picking up an old dear off the floor. She was bound to be grateful and polite at the very least! Alas, that not meant to be: 

"Cancelled for higher priority event"

Again!! What really annoyed me was that the so called higher priority was a 21 year old vomiting. What do I know though? I'm just a bum on a seat. We trundled round to the address and looked in amazement at the size of the place. It was obscene. We grabbed our stuff and edged up the driveway, being careful not to hit our bags onto 1 of the 2 Porches, the Land Rover and the Mini Cooper convertible. The door was ajar so we entered into the marble floored foyer. Oh how the other half live! We were ushered into the living room where our patient was sat with a plastic bowl in front of her. The mother gave us a handover of recent events:

"She woke up this morning and didn't fell well. She started vomiting about 3 hours ago and is now feeling very weak. I want her taken to hospital to have a full work up"

Without being rude I tried to explain that perhaps hospital wasn't the best place for her. Having only a 3 hour history of vomiting, she may be best suited to being treated at home with water and rest. I also offered to refer her on to the out of hours GP so that they could call back and give some further advise:

"That won't be necessary, I'm a GP and I want her to go to hospital"

Well that told us. We finished checking her over, everything was absolutely fine, she didn't even have a temperature. We walked her outside, past the 4 cars and onto the ambulance. I sat her on one seat and offered the other one to her mother. 

"Oh, I'm not coming in the ambulance, I'll follow in the car, it'll be a pain to get home otherwise won't it?"

With that, she got in the Land Rover and left her not so ill daughter with an irate ambulance crew. Seriously, what chance do we have when the ambulance service is abused by the very people the government are putting in charge. What chance does the ambulance service have of meeting needless targets when people who know what to say to get a quick response, cause the people who need us most to be stuck on the floor for hours? What chance do the hospitals have of meeting their patients needs, when they have to waste valuable time assessing and discharging the daughter of GP who probably ate some dodgy Fois Gras.

As frustrating as this job was, there is nothing we can do about it. Until we are able to make decisions for ourselves, until we have the right to refuse transportation to hospital, until we can refuse to send an ambulance or until there is a suitable deterrent for abusing the service nothing will change at all. We are of course, bottom of the food chain. I was also always told as a kid 'I want, doesn't get'. It's a good ideal, you can't go through life thinking you can have everything you want. Well, that isn't entirely true. If you have money are a complete ass you can do anything you want to. This was a case in point. I want does indeed get. Gotta love the patient charter! And GPs.......


  1. And the 82 year old gets left on the floor to develop a grade 2 (at least!!) pressure sore which will cost the NHS thousands to fix if it doesn't kill them. If the mum was a GP why not get them to do their job and admit to a ward?? See how far that goes. ;-)

  2. Hi Ella. On our patch, that would have been refused by the crew as an emergency ambulance is not required due to the fact she does not require monitoring or intervention en route. Does your service not support this approach?

  3. these calls irk my begonias!!!!!

  4. If the mother was a GP why did she not take her daughter straight to the hospital herself?


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