I was recently in the Conquest for a knee replacement and witnessed two diametrically opposite sides to our NHS.
The first was Cookson Devas Ward, where all staff (nursing, domestic and physio) were efficient and cheerful, and an uplifting atmosphere prevailed.
I encountered the other side when I was pronounced fit for discharge at 11am on a Saturday.
The old procedure was for the ambulance transfer system to be given in-house notification of who was going where.
Now, however, this work has been handed over to a private agency – who, having been told that a discharged patient needed to go to Brighton, sent the only ambulance transport on duty that day straight off, without enquiring how many others were being discharged.
Consequently, I waited for the transfer from 11am to 9pm even though, as the driver who finally collected me said, “We could have dropped you off home early afternoon on our way to Brighton.”
So, NHS service and Cookson Devas – excellent. Privatised agency – chaos.
And it’s only just beginning.
Pevensey Road, St Leonards
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