On Monday, I spent several hours with someone in an A & E department . By the way, why can’t we call it casualty again? – far simpler. Perhaps it would evoke nostalgic memories of Saturday nights in front of the television with a bottle of red and a packet of crisps.
The wait time in the “stack” as it’s called was approx 4 hours. During this time patients were assessed, x-rays, ECGs and scans were carried out. They gave a man with a broken leg morphine while a regular turnover of ambulance crews brought in a consistent flow of fresh cases all with their unique medical needs.
The waiting time to see the doctor was a further six hours which meant the entire process was over ten hours.
Despite the volume, I didn’t witness any staff members panicking or physically rushing around.
I asked one doctor on duty, how he coped with the stress. His reply was “I’m on a shift and when it’s finished, I go home”
Perhaps for those of us who are not “on the clock”, maybe we can learn a lesson or two from those who do have a defined timescale in the workplace?
Next time, having had a few hours sleep I’ll get to my series on Burnout and other problems facing us all.