Thursday, December 13, 2012

NHS Bed Shortage

About six weeks ago, I had to go into hospital to have an operation on my left eye, as I had suffered a slight retinal tear. Worry not, as the procedure went well and the next day I was told by the surgeon that I could go home.

"Hoorah!" I thought and paid no attention to the rest of his sentence: "- just as soon as your drops and tablets have been sent up from the hospital pharmacy."

Four and a half hours later, they duly arrived. According to the nurses, there was nothing unusual in this timescale and they assured me that it was much worse at weekends, or Bank Holidays.

"You can be waiting 8 hours then!" One of them added cheerfully.

Several times during my long wait, I thought of simply going home and picking them up later. However I couldn't drive, so would have had to scrounge a lift. It would have been an hour's round trip and no, the staff can't phone you when your medicines are ready. So I stayed put, wondering how much my bed cost per hour.

I finally received my bag of drugs, said goodbye to the others in my little ward and as I walked out I could hear the man in the bed opposite me asking the nurse how much longer his prescriptions would be (He had already waited over three hours).

Bear this story in mind the next time you hear on the news about a hospital beds shortage.


Anonymous said...

Why you can't be discharged and sent down to the dispensary with your prescription god alone knows?

Anonymous said...

Did you have local or general? Do you have to sleep sitting down or spend the next six weeks lying on ur stomach?

One thing they forgot to tell me was not to do anything that lifts your blood pressure. I tried to lift something and I thought my eye was going to explode even before I got it off the ground.

Don said...

Why on earth you cannot just collect what you've been prescribed from the dispensary on the way out, I have no idea. When my wife came to collect me, she hadn't paid for a whole afternoon in the hospital car park so I resorted to telling the ward staff if the stuff hadn't been sent up from the pharmacy in the next ten minutes I was discharging myself and they could put the prescription in the post. The bag appeared nine minutes later.

Anonymous said...

Glad you are better, when I last enjoyed the "Hospitality" of an overnight stay in a Patient Referral Unit, I actually left and agreed to come back later. Good job there was a Gideon's in the cupboard by the bed as I was going totally stir crazy. In fact I did not even know which hospital I was in! Made getting home rather fun, like the "Great Escape"!

Anonymous said...

I tried to collect a patient's discharge medication from the hospital pharmacy in an attempt to avoid the wait.
It was very easy to find the pharmacy, and the clearly written note on the door 'Closed for Lunch'.

The hospital was Ystrad Fawr Hospital, it's a big one, a new one, but why should management have to ensure that lunch hours are staggered so that patients interests are not compromised?

Rick said...

The last time I had a prescription after a visit to one of the clinics at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff, I was told that there was a three hour delay. I said "sod it" and went home.

Maybe that's what the want you to do?

Brian, follower of Deornoth said...

The good old National Health Service; free at point of use, provided your time is worth nothing.

cogidubnus said...

If they discharge you before you pick up your prescribed drugs, then in law they're supposed to charge you £7.50 prescription fee for each item (unless you're prepaid or exempt) so it could be they're doing you a favour, albeit very slowly!

Smylers said...

At an outpatient appointment my Dad was given a prescription; my sister trotted off to the pharmacy and collected it within a few minutes. Meanwhile, the doc decided to keep Dad in overnight, so he was given a bed.

He needed his medication ASAP, but the nurses couldn't administer it to him until the pharmacy had delivered it to them. Even though we already had the required drugs in the room, the nurses weren't allowed to use them: they counted as the patients' own medicine, brought in from outside — even though they were unopened, and issued only a few minutes previously from another room in the same building!

So we had to sit there, waiting for the pharmacy to dispense a second, identical, batch of the drugs, and deliver them to the room, while we gazed at the unopened first batch.