I read with great interest the article in the Courier on March 14, 2014 regarding the proposed reorganisation/restructuring of Halifax/Huddersfield Hospitals.
I, like many other readers, also read about the behaviour of the three doctors concerned, all members of the Calderdale Clinical Commissioning Group for Calderdale.
We are not running a circus here, we are talking about people’s lives and well being, yet we appear to have three people sat in the driving seat, potentially making decisions behind the scenes without consultation with the people of Calderdale and ignoring their views. Dr Cleasby is concerned about the response time in getting people to hospital, you better believe it, so am I. On March 2 my brother-in-law collapsed at home at approximately 6.30pm. A call was made to the NHS Helpline by his daughter for help in panic and concern, something you cannot legislate for.
Many irrelevant questions were asked by the non-qualified staff following a check list, such as “who are you?”, “what relation to the casualty are you?”, etc.
Does it matter? No. What does matter is that you get your backside in gear and determine quickly what help is required and a collapse means ambulance, so request one. At approximately 6.50pm a second call was made to ask where the ambulance was, “it’s on its way with blue lights” was the answer.
At approximately 7.05pm a responder arrived having just started on shift at 7pm, did what was required, also chased up the ambulance which we were still waiting for and also issued a Red 2 situation (potentially life threatening). At this point I would like to state that I have no axe to grind with the paramedic who attended this incident, as a family we are very grateful to him.
This situation ticked all the boxes statistically as the responder arrived within the Government’s criteria of 8 minutes response time, the question is 8 minutes from when? Eight minutes from when he received the call, or 8 minutes from when the first call was made? Factually, it did not arrive on time, the ambulance which the paramedic requested himself for the second time arrived at approximately 9.10pm. Again you can see that strategically the ambulance still ticked all the boxes, factually it did not. The ambulance arrived at Calderdale Royal Hospital at approx 9.23pm, that’s without having to travel to Huddersfield. So where was the ambulance and why did it take so long? Simple, there wasn’t one available. How do I know? Because it came through on the paramedic’s radio from control, just like he was asked to leave the casualty even though the casualty was wired to a monitor and given a drug. Needless to say he didn’t leave, very professional. I ask you - three hours to get an Emergency Red 2 call to hospital, but the ambulance crew did their best with the resources that were available to them at the time and we are very grateful to all concerned. People of Calderdale take this on board, stand up and be counted to oppose these cuts to your hospital and the panel of doctors who want to close your A&E, reduce beds and carry out some procedures at a ‘planned site’ all behind your backs. This is not about effectiveness or efficiency for the patient, it’s about money.
After all the shift patterns for ambulance crews have been changed to make them more effective and efficient. Would you say that a 3 hour wait for an Emergency Red 2 call is being effective or efficient? No, it’s not. The Chief Executive won’t even be aware, because it ticks all the boxes in theory. Of course there is another way to raise fare more money for the real NHS - it’s not to pay ridiculous salaries to those run these places , who yet again are out of touch with real people and their needs.