Today’s big huge political story is of course the triggering of Article 50 by the Westminster Government to leave our membership of the European Union. Some people still have doubts; a recent poll put the gap between staying in and leaving at 1% difference.
Today, rather than go with the triggering of Article 50, I want instead to do a story on the new super hospital in Govan, called the
but being old fashioned and lived in the Pollok constituency for 44 years, I
still call it the ‘The Southern General’. Queen Elizabeth
In 2014, I nearly died; I had been sick for some considerable time but kept hiding it from my family and friends. Illness as I used to say wasn’t as ‘much funny’ as it used to be. I was physically in a terrible state, my entire body was shutting down and I was being poisoned internally. Things got so bad that my doctor in 30 seconds of seeing me; ordered me immediately to get to hospital and printed out a letter for them. Previously, I was rejected for treatment as being a ‘time waster’, I was dying but the doctor and the triage nurse ignored my symptoms.
On my return visit, I was rushed straight by everyone within 10 minutes of handing my letter into reception. The time from initial first visit to the return was circa 55 hours, I spent 55 hours in incredible pain which was so bad that I felt like I was dying. What I didn’t know but found out later was the hospital staff were under such intense pressure that genuine cases such as myself were getting overlooked.
Once I got into treatment, the doctor who treated me was brilliant, she did her magic and the immediate danger was dealt with, then came the tricky bit, I was damaged internally, they didn’t tell me a lot but from what I gleamed they were really concerned by my kidneys. My next shock to the system was being told that I wasn’t going anywhere, they were admitting me as an inpatient, I was expecting a magic pill or something which I expected to fixed me.
Nothing that simple!
I was taken to a ward, scared, not know what was wrong with me, wondering is this it, am I going to die. Physically I was in a terrible state, to say I was drained was an understatement, I felt beyond tired. In the ward, I saw remarkably brave people coping, before patients and staff, lucky for me I was put next to a Mr. Stanley Ockrim. It turned out, all his sons and daughters are doctors, or to be more specific surgeons. Over the next few days, he kept my spirits up, telling me stories about himself and what it means to be Jewish. If there was ever someone in the right place at the right time, it was Stanley Ockrim for me.
When you are on a ward, you see everything and being bed ridden, I saw the NHS in action, doctors, nurses, auxiliary nurses, porters and cleaners. We all taken our NHS for granted, but the staff each day go above and beyond the call of duty. They are definitely underpaid and understaffed. The understaffing in the NHS in
is really a scandal, a scandal which I watched play out over the time I was
kept in hospital. If there was anything funny when I did get out, I was faced
with humiliation of seeing little old ladies with walking sticks blow right
pass me at speed which made me feel sorry for myself. After that I was in and
out of hospital like a yoyo as they put me through test after test to see what
was wrong with me, and every time I was in they kept asking for more blood.
My thoughts on the hospital speaking to staff and patients were the hospital had opened too soon and that they were attempting to do too much too soon and didn’t have an adequate plan to make for a smooth change over. The A&E department was too small to cope, people were being stacked up as waiting times weren’t being met, ambulances were also stacked up outside. The A&E department at the QEUH isn’t fit for purpose and needs a redesign, a design to make it bigger, and staff it more.
The pressure on the staff at the hospital is huge at all levels, health isn’t just a top priority with politicians; it is a top priority with ordinary people, even more so when a loved is in pain and suffering. When you face that scenario, you want the best doctors and the best treatment for them, lucky being in
Glasgow, you have the , their medical school is highly
rated and if anyone is qualified to comment on this, it is me. I spent 20 years
at University of Glasgow surrounded by medics, dentists
and vets in my various roles in the place. Over the years, I saw people start
off in first year, sail through to finals, then jog off to the local hospital
to get their first six months as a junior doctor. So, when you get a Glasgow University , you stand a great chance of
being someone pretty damn good. Glasgow University
One thing you cannot fault the staff of the NHS on is effort, they really do their best for you, but as you need their help, they also need yours. The Health Service in
Scotland is badly managed and under
funded, the reality is that health has become a political football, it is a
service which should be beyond party politics but it will never be.
It isn’t surprising that things at the super hospital are breaking down, it is a constant struggle for staff, and to be fair, it shouldn’t be, politicians in this case Shona Robison who is Nicola Sturgeon’s pal, aren’t carrying their share of the load. In the case of Robison, some people think she is totally out of her depth as Health Secretary; I am one of those people.
Unfit for the job at hand, and it shows.
We expect our hospitals to be ultra clean, dirt causes germs to spread, germs cause health problems, you don’t go to hospital to pick up an infection; you go to be cured. Patient trolleys at the QEUH have been found to be contaminated with blood and faeces.
Faeces are better commonly known as shit!
Inspectors are finding dirty equipment still in services, in one case they found two patient trolleys "heavily contaminated with blood and faeces". These trolleys were in cubicles ready for the next patient in the immediate assessment unit (IAU) at
Queen Elizabeth University Hospital
This raises question, is there a plan for a quick turn round by cleaning staff,
this isn’t their fault, it lies with the management of the hospital.
As well as trolleys being a problem, the Healthcare Environment Inspectorate (HEI) team also found two of the seven communal patient toilets in the unit "heavily contaminated with faeces" on the walls, mirrors and basins. When I was in Stobhill, in one patient toilet, there was someone who missed the bowl and had urinated all over the seat and the floor, the place was in such a bad state, I used another bathroom. It is only right that we have significant concerns about cleanliness in our hospitals, not just for patients but also for staff, illness is and always will be a dirty business.
Alastair McGown, senior inspector for Healthcare Improvement Scotland, said:
"At our first inspection we noted the standard of environmental cleanliness in the majority of wards and staff knowledge of standard infection control precautions was generally good. However, we had significant concerns in the emergency department and immediate assessment unit, and the systems in place for monitoring cleanliness. We formally escalated these concerns to NHS Greater Glasgow and
(NHSGGC) senior management team at the time of our inspection and asked them to
take remedial action without delay."
The QEUH is a huge facility, so it needs a huge staff, and there is no way round that fact, health care costs money, and it costs time to do jobs right, especially when infections can spread like wildfire. The QEUH is a 1,109-bed acute hospital, which opened in April 2015.
The Healthcare Environment Inspectorate finding a variety of patient equipment in the emergency department contaminated with dust, debris or body fluids is a real concern. They also found additional cause as the majority of patient trolleys and transport chairs ready for use by the emergency department and IAU were dirty. The majority of toilets in the atrium, mezzanine level one and the emergency department waiting area were contaminated with blood, faeces, urine or vomit. This reflects my experience of also being at Stobhill hospital; clearly the problem isn’t limited to a single hospital. One thing which happens when you get ill is that you are shipped to many different hospitals in
depending on what your medical condition is, I found myself at the QEUH,
Stobhill and the Victoria.
What is incredible about the QEUH is that there were no dedicated staff to clean the IAU when the HEI made their visit the first time round, this situation has now been address, but why did it take a Healthcare Environment Inspectorate visit, where was the proactive work? Surely someone must have spotted the continual problems?
NHSGGC's nurse director Margaret McGuire said:
"Recently an HEI inspection at the QEUH identified shortcomings in the cleanliness of equipment, general cleanliness in the emergency department and domestic record keeping. A more recent follow-up inspection identified that not all of the issues picked up on the first visit had been addressed. This is unacceptable and I want to publicly assure every one of our patients and their families that the issues raised are now being fully addressed and will be rigorously implemented and maintained going forward."
Dr Jennifer Armstrong, NHSGGC medical director, added:
"Our staff take these inspection reports very seriously and have been working extremely hard to address the requirements made by the inspection team."
When you read about stories like this, you have a right to be angry, but you should know where to place your anger, it isn’t the hard working staff you see in the front line, they are working in a system setup and led by others.
The responsibility of the NHS in Scotland lies solely with the SNP, the service has never recovered from the disastrous leadership of Nicola Sturgeon, when the SNP came to power, they said that health was their flagship policy, what we as the public didn’t know was how badly the service had been run down.
Nicola Sturgeon was in charge of the nation’s health service from 17 May 2007 – 5 September 2012, many mistakes and targets were missed, lots of issues were covered up and when everything was about to be exposed, Sturgeon bailed out to become Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Investment and Cities, from 5 September 2012 – 19 November 2014.
Nicola Sturgeon laid the ground work that all future failures in the Scottish NHS were to suffer; then others equally out of their depth were put in place such as Alex Neil and then Shona Robison. Robison is Sturgeon’s pal, but one thing she isn’t a step up for the NHS.
How much longer can
put up with inept and incompetent SNP government, with another four years of
independence campaigning being planned by the SNP, and their Ministers about to
abandon their desks again, Scotland
cannot afford the price.
Finally, I cannot thank the NHS staff enough for saving my life, I am never going to be the same as I used to be regarding my health, but that wasn’t for the want or effort on their part.
The Campaign for Human Rights at