Sunday, February 24, 2008


Emergency Patients Left in Ambulances Because Hospitals Aren't "Ready"

Alex in Essex left me a link to this story: "A&E patients left in ambulances for up to FIVE hours 'so trusts can meet government targets'."
Seriously ill patients are being kept in ambulances outside hospitals for hours so NHS trusts do not miss Government targets.

Thousands of people a year are having to wait outside accident and emergency departments because trusts will not let them in until they can treat them within four hours, in line with a Labour pledge.

The hold-ups mean ambulances are not available to answer fresh 999 calls.

Doctors warned last night that the practice of "patient-stacking" was putting patients' health at risk.

Figures obtained by the Liberal Democrats show that last year 43,576 patients waited longer than one hour before being let into emergency units.
Ah, yes, the equity of socialized medicine. We all get equally poor treatment.

Almost everyone who has worked in a government position or for an entity heavily dependent on government funds knows the importance of "standards" and paperwork. My first job out of college was as a state juvenile probation officer. It took me less than a year to realize that paperwork mattered more than anything. Recidivism didn't matter. Placing kids in the best foster homes, schools, job training possible didn't matter. What mattered was that you documented everything. I quit after 9 months.

More recently I worked in the nursing home industry as did my ex-wife. Tremendous amounts of time are put into documenting everything to keep Medicare, Medicaid bureaucrats happy and to satisfy state licensure. All these groups would do annual inspections which consisted primarily of examining, yes, paperwork. Actual low quality patient care was rarely detected, especially if it was documented properly.

However, one nursing home was penalized $20,000 for punching holes medication charts and partially obliterating initials showing who dispensed the medication on a particular day and time. Ironically, this nursing home was considered by us to easily be the best of those of which we were familiar. We had heard some refer to it as the best in the state. Paperwork uber alles.

Is our health care system as good as it could be? No. But we need to be very careful in our "improvements" and remember government is rarely concerned about the person. If you want a major overhaul, remember, fools rush in where angels fear to tread.

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