Thursday, March 08, 2007

NHS, Yet more chaos

This time concerning maternity services in Sussex. Apparently on Friday night Emma Mackrory-Jamieson went into labour. She got in touch with the local hospital's maternity unit at the Princess Royal to be told there were not enough beds. Brighton and Worthing also had no space so the Mackrory-Jamieson's had to drive to Eastbourne, some 45 minutes away.

Clearly this is ridiculous. The maternity unit at the Princess Royal is under threat as is the one in Eastbourne, (See here). If either or both close this will cause capacity problems in the county. If then someone had to go to Brighton and it turned out to be full, and Worthing also a pregnant woman could be faced with an uncomfortable hours drive to Hastings (assuming it to had space) in good driving conditions or much longer during rush hour.

Sometimes labour is quick. Very quick. It can be over in an hour or two. Clearly you would not want to spend most or all of that time chasing beds across the roads in Sussex.

This story follows hot on the heals of other stories of chaos in the NHS, like this one from Wales about Ambulances queuing (as has also happened at Redhill Hospital), an 8 year old boy having 3 ambulance transfers to get a broken arm treated here, and a rise of 21% in the maternity mortality rate (see here)

We arrive at this chaos after the most colossal amount of money has been spent on the NHS. Where has all the money gone?

For more articles on the NHS see here.

13 comments:

Mr Natural said...

As promised!

Benedict, I’m not sure what you want me to say re the case in Sussex. I’ve looked at the links and it looks like the clinicians think they’re wasting money by having two consultant led maternity services, when they could have one specialist one and one more general one. I can see why people are concerned by this, but I’m not an obstetrician, so I can’t evaluate the suggestion.

I can however find evidence that spending on the NHS in Hastings is up 32 million to 262 million this year, and lots of evidence that there are more staff, lower waiting times and better patient care.

I’m sure you’ll want to respond, so lets agree to take this off here. I’ll check your blog for your response if you want to make one and reply on mine, no point cluttering up PB with our debate!

by Brit Spin March 8th, 2007 at 4:38 pm

Benedict White said...

Mr Natural, Treatment times may be better, but better than when? You would certainly hope that was the case after all the money that has been spent.

It may be true that some clinicians feel one consultant led unit is appropriate, but I suspect that is a clinician in a unit likely to stay open rather than closed.

The issue is less whether the units are consultant or midwife led, but whether they are there at all and if so have they the capacity to cope?

Shutting more units down will reduce capacity and make people travel much further in uncomfortable circumstances. In a county like Sussex, the distances between hospitals can be large and what is more time consuming.

It is very easy to sit in an office somewhere and think we can save costs by amalgamating units, but it does not take account of the costs in terms of ambulance time etc. that is then spent making up for that.

Mr Natural said...

benedict,

I've got to head off - will reply tmw..

Marquee Mark said...

Glancing at your blog, I thought I read that Labour could be over in an hour or two. Oh, if only....!

Ellee said...

This is a worst nightmare scenario for a woman going into labour, what a terrible mess.

Ellee said...

Judging the public mood following the Levy scandal, what other decision could there be?

Benedict White said...

Marquee Mark, :)

Ellee, yes it would be a nightmare. In fact for the woman concerned I suspect it was. Must confess I am having a little trouble understanding your last remark though!

Mr natural, when you get the time :)

fr said...

Benedict,your first paragraph in answer to Mr. Natural is basically what DC should be saying to the usual Blair scree on the NHS at PMQs. Why doesn't he ?

Benedict White said...

Fr, I don't know. Perhaps someone should ask him?

Ellee said...

Bendict, I was referring to your opening paragraph - what if the baby had arrived before 45 mins and there were complications, it was a breach birth, the cord was wrapped around the baby's neck, it is a real nightmare scenario:

"Apparently on Friday night Emma Mackrory-Jamieson went into labour. She got in touch with the local hospital's maternity unit at the Princess Royal to be told there were not enough beds. Brighton and Worthing also had no space so the Mackrory-Jamieson's had to drive to Eastbourne, some 45 minutes away".

Benedict White said...

Ellee, I was referring to this one:
Judging the public mood following the Levy scandal, what other decision could there be?

:)

Anonymous said...

Who is Emma Mackrory-Jamieson ? Is it anyone we should know ? Sorry, but am I missing something here ? Has the story been in the news ?

Benedict White said...

Anonymous, Who is Emma? Just a voter. It has been in my local press but at the time of writing the article I could not find it online.