A socialized-medicine-global-warming-nonsense story all in one!
NHS staff have been coming into work voluntarily and unpaid to help their hospitals cope with extreme winter pressures, MPs were told today, as the country’s top emergency doctor warned over a dramatic increase in A&E visits.
Dr Clifford Mann, president of the College of Emergency Medicine, said that the additional patients coming to A&E this year could fill “eight or nine extra emergency departments”. MPs on the Health Select Committee were taking evidence yesterday on accident and emergency services in England, in response to a string of major incidents declared at hospitals throughout the country last week, as A&E waiting times rose to their highest levels in a decade.
Winter happens every year, and they were unprepared? Either winter is colder, or the NHS had its head up its ass. Still, typical British grit for the staff to work without pay.
This is a more typical NHS story:
The head of a special NHS fund for cancer medicines in England has said there will need to be further cuts to the treatments it funds.
This week it was announced 25 different cancer treatments would no longer be paid for by the Cancer Drugs Fund.
But Prof Peter Clark, an oncologist who runs the fund, said the rising cost of drugs was a problem.
He added that the system for chemotherapy drugs was “broken”.
This is also typical:
Sitting in the casualty department of one of the best-known hospitals in Britain, I can’t help but notice it’s packed to the rafters.
Yet it’s not a hectic Saturday night, but a Monday lunchtime at the beginning of December and everyone seems sober.
Despite this, I struggle to find a seat, even though it is obvious I’m in deep shock and on the point of passing out in agony. This is by far the worst pain I’ve ever suffered.
I know my upper arm is broken — I fell off a step and heard the crack — and fully expect at least a four-hour wait.
A woman having a cigarette outside warned me as I arrived: ‘Hope you’ve set aside the whole day. I’ve been waiting ages!’
As I look around the crowd, I see little evidence of painful injury. I ask the woman next to me what she’s come for — a headache, no less. ‘No point calling the GP. You can never get seen,’ she says.
It’s the same story with the worried-looking father a few rows back. With a feverish young son lying listlessly on his lap, he explains he came straight to the hospital. He didn’t even think to start with his GP.
It’s clear evidence that casualty is becoming the first port of call whether it’s an accident, emergency or just feeling a bit poorly. No wonder the staff at the Royal Free Hospital in North London look so strained.
Her broken arm put her at the top of the waiting list. (Don’t know how long the dad waited with his kid.) But her travails were only beginning:
The consultant recommended surgery.
I was to be admitted on the Wednesday evening and was told to get my necessary blood tests done in advance. And that’s when the trouble started. The blood test queue filled a large waiting room and stretched, snake-like, along the corridor.
My number was 365 — and 210 had just been called. It was two-and-a half hours before they got to me. Just as well I’d set the whole day aside.
Wednesday came and I still had no information about when and where, or indeed if, I should turn up that evening.
I called admissions. They hadn’t a clue. I emailed the surgeon’s secretary, and at 5pm I finally had a call. I was to arrive at the orthopaedic ward around 7.30pm. They’d finally found me a bed.
I’ll leave it to you to get the rest of the story. Suffice it to say, in medicine as in so much else, you get what you pay for.
And another kick in the teeth for global warming:
The prospects of a January thaw are dropping right off the map. Even the chances that the U.S. East Coast will hold on to some above-normal temperatures into the last week of the month are fading like cheap paint in the bright sun.
Instead of displaying the gold and orange of milder weather, the maps have turned blue across the Midwest, which may be the same color your lips will be when the temperature drops. For the East, the outlook is for seasonal readings, and given that it’s January, you can color those cold, too.
“The big story this week is that our expected January thaw next week has been obliterated, and that the models keep getting colder and colder in general, starting next week through the end of January,” said Todd Crawford, a meteorologist with WSI in Andover, Massachusetts.
One more on one of my favorite subjects:
January’s shivering start has led to a rapid expansion of ice cover on the Great Lakes during the first half of January.
Combined, 34.2 percent of the five Great Lakes are covered in ice as of Jan. 14, 2015, according to data from the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory. This is up from just 5.65 percent on New Year’s Day.
Last year, the Great Lakes were 21.2 percent ice-covered on Jan. 14, making this year’s ice cover 13 percent higher to date.
That’s it, you’re free to go!