Now it’s just the sort of television that makes the Tory party think the BBC is full of lefties determined to bring down the government but my god, the current BBC documentary series following the London Ambulance Service – ‘Ambulance’- made for powerful and uncomfortable viewing last night
We know that the NHS is under threat but you realise that cuts to all sections of public sector have only made their job harder. Those with drink, drug and mental problems, the old, infirm and demented as well as timewasters and attention seekers are all in a night and days work.
A man who overdoses on heroin is bought back to life only to throw abuse at the paramedics and leave as soon as he is able to stagger, a woman fakes serious medical conditions, ending up in hospital four times in one day and an old lady with dementia constantly phones 999 for an ambulance despite having been visited by two crew, a district nurse and her daughter already that night. The phone centre operators have the patience of several saints as they try to reassure her only for her to phone again as soon as she thinks they have hung up. Another operator stays on the line with an apparently suicidal man until an ambulance crew can get to him. The few ambulances that are available have to go to the unconscious and unresponsive patient calls first which can lead to people waiting hours in pain.
“The Big Society” of course was a wizard wheeze to get family and friends to care for people because the councils and healthcare centres no longer could afford to. Vulnerable people are being left to their own devices and the emergency services are trying to or rather having to take the strain.
Watching programmes like this not just make you marvel and the care, dedication and resilience of those working at the sharpest end of the medical profession but also how much we take them for granted, how much they are abused by drunks and idiots phoning when they have broken a nail and how much you wish you did a job that was worthwhile. God help us if they get cut back further cos it will all come tumbling down