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Wednesday, 20 February, 2002, 23:38 GMT
Accident and emergency services: Tell us your experiences
For many of us, our contact with the NHS comes when we sit in accident and emergency waiting for treatment.

Often, this can be a long wait in the modern health service.

There are also fears that lives are being lost because ambulances are struggling to get to seriously-ill patients in time.

What are your experiences of "casualty"? What will it take to improve these overstretched parts of the service?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.


Your comments:


People even put claims in for compensation for clothes that we have cut from patients suffering a cardiac arrest - unbelievable!

Sharon, Edinburgh
I am a nurse in the A&E and would like to appeal to members of the general public when you attend A&E (especially with a minor injury that your GP can deal with) that you are not a priority. There are many patients with more serious conditions that will always be seen first. There is a name for this it is called understanding and compassion. It is not the pay and conditions that worry me, it is people's lack of compassion and selfishness that appals me. People even put claims in for compensation for clothes that we have cut from patients suffering a cardiac arrest - unbelievable!
Sharon, Edinburgh

At 7am yesterday my 90-year-old mum fell and broke her hip. The paramedics were wonderful and they soon had her safe and sound at the A&E, a 15 mile trip in an ambulance. A surgeon was available but an aftercare bed was not. Several hours later a bed was found, so back into another ambulance and a 20 mile journey to the county hospital. They put her on the orthopaedic ward ready for a hip replacement operation at 9am today. I have visited her to be told that she was taken off the operating list because of emergencies. What bigger emergency is there than a 90-year-old with a broken hip and in serious pain? When I left her this evening she looked much, much worse than when I found her laying on the floor, cold and in pain. The word that I am searching for is appalled. If I were to treat my pet dog in such an appalling manner, I would be, and rightly so, prosecuted. I just feel so useless at not being able to help my dear old Mum in her hour of desperate need and the NHS not even bothering about her. It's just awful!
Brian Fenton, Newark, Nottinghamshire

A few years ago I came off my push-bike and dislocated my shoulder rather badly. A&E was very busy, but because of the severity of my injury I was hurried into the assessment bay and given gas and air. I was seen by a doctor about 45 minutes later and treated about 15 minutes after that. It was my birthday and the accident happened at around 5pm in Coventry. By 9pm I was enjoying a night out in Birmingham. If our A&E was not superb I would have missed that night out. I fully realise that my injury was severe enough to bump me up the queue and I would not deny the same privilege to anyone else - less severely injured people will see their waiting time increase as a result. They know when the busy times are and so should increase the numbers of staff at these times. I believe Dr Goodman is right about the NHS running on goodwill, this is wrong, but at least the service is superb.
Paul Carter, Lutterworth, UK


I work as a junior doctor in A&E. There are consistently no beds and not enough money

Dr Z Goodman, UK
I work as a junior doctor in A&E. There are consistently no beds and not enough money. The shifts are physically and mentally exhausting. The public don't realise the strain on doctors or nurses and the number of complaints goes up and up. The NHS has been run on the good will of its staff for too long - it is near breaking point and it cannot go on like this.
Dr Z Goodman, Leeds, UK

Unfortunately I have a condition that requires emergency admission to hospital on occasion. It really annoys me when I am waiting in agony to be triaged or waiting for a trolley, when there are people in front of me who could have gone to their GP.
Rachel, London

Yesterday I attended my GP surgery in town with symptoms of gastro-intestinal complaint. My GP fast-tracked me to the Medical Assessment Unit (MAU) at Broomfield Hospital Chelmsford where I underwent a full 'MOT' including heart monitor, X-rays and blood tests. All results were back by 4 p.m. and I was lucky to be discharged home by 6 p.m. with various outpatient appointments to follow up a more chronic complaint. My doctor acted immediately on the information as I gave it to him and because I was fast-tracked by him I bypassed the A&E consultation and went straight to the MAU.
This service has been in operation for the past 2 years at Broomfield Hospital and appears to be first class as I was assessed in a bed in a circular ward with all the nurses stationed in the middle. The A&E section was virtually empty when we went home although this does of course change throughout the week.
It seems to me that this is a brilliant way of dealing with the flow of patients via emergency services as medical emergencies are seen quickly and assessed fully with the full co-operation of the local GP. I know that Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford is a pioneer in lots of ground breaking units, are these centres more common now in intake hospitals? If not, then they should be!
Julie Jesse, Braintree, Essex

Unfortunately, I believe that users of the NHS have to be more informed about their problems in order to get a decent diagnosis as Doctors are less informed and updated on recent treatments.
Sabrina Clark, Aylesbury Bucks

I have had to use A&E on two or three occasions the last being a few weeks ago when my 2 year old son was suffering dangerously high temperatures. On this and previous occasions I was impressed with the level of care, service and attention received. I have never waited for longer than half an hour.
Kevin, Bedford


It would help to take some strain from the A&E if GP surgeries could have the facilities to deal with more minor injuries or if there were more of minor injuries units

Mrs I Wilson, Bucks
It would help to take some strain from the A&E if GP surgeries could have the facilities to deal with more minor injuries or if there were more of minor injuries units. Recently I cut my finger. Nothing much but it bled a lot and needed a couple of stitches. At my GP surgery I was told that there was no nurse until the afternoon and that they did not do stitching anyway and that driving to A&E was my only option. There I was seen by one non-medical staff, three nurses and one doctor. What a waste of their valuable time.
Mrs I Wilson, High Wycombe, Bucks

The biggest problem in my local A&E is the lack of doctors. While we have sufficient nurses on duty to cope with the number of exam rooms, there is only one doctor to cover the whole department of 6 rooms plus the Crash room. If that single doctor has to spend, say, an hour in the Crash room, no other patients can be seen. No wonder the waiting times build up.
Paul Rodgers, Greenock, Scotland

When in Salisbury recently my 20 month old daughter dislocated her elbow. We went to Salisbury A&E and a very experienced nurse popped the elbow back into place. Brilliant, quick service from an experienced triage nurse. My wife and I were expecting a 4 or 5 hour wait as we are used to in London. We were in and out in 20 minutes. It would have been shorter but the nurse wanted to watch my daughter play for 10 minutes to ensure the joint was OK. Brilliant nursing!
Sean, London, UK


Ambulance staff were lovely but I arrived at the A & E to be shouted at by a doctor for wasting resources

A Mullan, Dundrum, UK
I was taken by ambulance after rupturing a disc in my lower back. I was in unbelievable pain, and also very scared because I was losing sensation in my legs. Ambulance staff were lovely but I arrived at A & E to be shouted at by a doctor for wasting resources by coming in by ambulance with a 'touch of lumbago'. He snapped at a nurse to have me sent to a ward and sent home in the morning. Thankfully, another doctor examined me the next day and referred me to an ortho unit. I was scanned and the MRI showed that the disk had completely burst. So much for a 'touch of lumbago'. Incidentally, the same doctor shouted at my seven year old daughter to stop whining when he was pulling her arm about to examine it. After five hours of waiting to be X-rayed, it turned out that the child had broken her elbow. We once had a health service that would have been the envy of the rest of the world, now it seems that we are living in the dark ages. I have always been a Labour supporter, and blamed the Tories for running the NHS into the ground. However, New Labour are no longer newly elected. They have had time to put money into the NHS and try to turn it around. After all, this was promised during the election campaign that saw them into government. When will they start honouring their promises?
A Mullan, Dundrum, UK

We hear a great deal in the media criticising the NHS every time the system fails an individual. What is not taken into account is the amount of time staff in A & E depths spend dealing with problems which are not accidents or emergencies. Old accidents that occured over 24 hours beforehand should go to the GP and there should be a better system of dealing with the social problems. How about a media campaign highlighting when A & E departments should be used?
Helen Whapshott, Surrey

In this area we need more beds to cope with large population. We have many bed blockers. Nurses can't afford to live in this area - we should pay them a decent salary. Why do we criticise all the time? Let's emphasise all the good that's done - often under very difficult circumstances. Let's also have less government interference.
Pam Basinger, Reading, Berkshire, England


No help was given to my wife and I dread to think what may have happened if I had not been there

Andrew McCann, Hull

My wife was admitted to hospital in Hull at around 12 a.m. on Saturday with severe fever, pain and vomiting. At 9 pm she was moved to the acute assessment unit. In the end I had to phone the duty manager to inform him of the situation. The nurse who gave me the phone was only too pleased to do so as she informed me that there were only two of them looking after over 25 very ill patients. Within three minutes a posse of nurses and doctors arrived and my wife was diagnosed with septicaemia, a life threatening condition. Up until this time no help was given to my wife and I dread to think what may have happened if I had not been there. I believe that treatment of her condition requires intravenous antibiotics ASAP. She had had to wait over nine hours to get the necessary drugs. I cannot praise the nursing staff enough. They are working under severe pressure with what seems like no back up from management. More than one of them told us that they are leaving the N.H.S. .
Andrew McCann, Hull

Thank you NHS for putting emergencies before the routine. Thank you for operating brilliantly to save my son's hand even though this meant you had to cancel a routine patient scheduled for that day. Thank you for the biopsy on a lump that you gave my other son, just 13 days after I took him to our GP. Performance management in our schools has given us teachers who meet targets by excluding anyone with emergency needs. Please don't force our doctors and nurses onto the same immoral ground by reporting just the bad news.
Debbie , Oxford

Having worked in an A&E dept. for over 13 yrs, I have come to the conclusion that the general public have no idea what really happens in A&E departments all over the country. Hundreds of people attend A&E when really they should be seeing their GP. Nurses and doctors are constantly verbally abused, there are not enough beds for patients because too many wards have been shut down and lots of staff have left the NHS because of the appalling conditions. The NHS is dying, I hope it is not too late to save it....
Gill Salisbury, UK


I found the nurses on the wards to be superb, very caring and focused on patients in spite of all the other pressures

Anouska Biggin, UK
I am 26 years old and I have had brittle asthma for the last six years. Since diagnosis I have had to fight for my life on several occasions. I have been cared for by three hospitals in that time and the care has ranged from exceptional to the staff making your illness feel like a hassle. However on the majority of occasions that I was admitted I found the nurses on the wards to be superb, very caring and focused on patients in spite of all the other pressures. I think pressure on academic excellence and meeting targets puts pressure onto nursing staff that at times make them have to stop nursing to fill in paperwork.
Anouska Biggin, UK

A large number of people present themselves at A & E departments because GP surgeries are appointments only instead of first come first served, as it was when I was a child. I feel the need to see a doctor within 24 hours of becoming ill so the temptation is to go to the local hospital instead of making an appointment with the GP which may not be for two or three days. Could a partial solution to the problem be to employ GP doctors at A & E departments or even to attach a large GP practice to hospital grounds?
Steve Harry, UK

I also think that its silly that people have to go the A&E when they don't need to. Most people probably don't know who there GP is. People should be encouraged to go there instead. Also people should be grateful that they can see a doctor on the same day even if its not there own. A doctor is a doctor. People should get to know there surgeries better.
James Horner, UK

I worked as a Junior Doctor (Senior House Officer) in Leicester A&E three years ago. It was the hardest job I have ever had and it nearly destroyed my marriage. I did gain an awful lot professionally though and noticed that the staff work incredibly hard. In the 6 months I was there, we saw around 65-70,000 patients. Thanks for doing this report today. It is important that all sides of the NHS story.
Richard Try (Dr) GP Trainee, Peterborough

I am amazed by the number of people who complain about waiting four to five hours in A&E. Don't they realise that if they are waiting it is because there is someone with more urgent injuries being treated before them? I also wonder whether people would complain so much if they could remember what things were like before the NHS and the Welfare State was formed.
Phil , Stafford

I had a car accident two years ago. I can't remember much about the accident or the two days following an operation required to repair my injuries. However I do know I received the best care available both from the Lister Hospital where I was initially taken and then subsequently at Stanmore, NOH where I was operated on. This was followed up by excellent medical and rehabilitation care to get me back to good health. My injuries required a subsequent operation and again Stanmore provided the best medical care for me. My view is in time of crisis the NHS looked after me and provided the best service possible. I am very grateful for all the support I have received from the NHS.
Elizabeth Oxborough, Stowmarket, Suffolk


A&E departments are now run with agency nurses as there are no nurses to fill the posts.

Chris, UK
I have worked in A&E for 10 years. People wait on trollies because there are no beds on the wards. Trollies are taken up by people waiting to be admitted, there are no trollies left to take emergencies. Nurses have to look after these people as well as the A&E patients. This is why I and so many others are leaving this speciality. Wards/A&E departments are now run with agency nurses as there are no nurses to fill the posts. This increases the stress and responsibility of nurses. A familiar term "there are no beds" well, there are beds but they all have patients in them. One has to wait for one to go home and the beds are still warm for the next occupant! On one ward, a resident patient of 8 months was waiting social services to find money for a nursing home placement! Nurses work hard under increasing pressure of beds, agency staff who do not know the area they work in, increasing workload and poor remuneration. Apparently nurses earn £21,000. E and D Grade nurses who are the majority of staff on wards and A&E earn around £1,000 per month and thatżs if they work weekends !!! I know, I was one of them.
Chris, UK

I am amazed by the number of people who complain about waiting 4 - 5 hours in A&E . Don't they realise that if they are waiting it is because there is someone with more urgent injuries being treated before them. I also wonder if more people could remember what things were like before the NHS & the Welfare State was formed would they complain so much.
Phil, Stafford

A&E needs to be outsourced to our local health centres manned by doctor group practices Hospital A&E departments are being swamped with cases requiring urgent attention many of which are of a less serious nature. The hospital staffing levels are unable to cope with such an influx Pre-Screening is required before treatment is initiated. i.e. Proper First Aid needs to be applied.
Gerald Hooper, UK

In the last two years Iżve been to A+E at the William Harvey Hospital (Ashford) twice and Iżve waited no longer than 75 mines before going to a ward. Whilst I was in A+E I was seen by a doctor within 30 mins and given food and drink. The treatment I received in the Cambridge wards was excellent, the nurses dedicated and hard working, the choice and quality of food was VERY good, considering the amount of patients to cater for, and the wards were clean and warm. If I had to score out of 10 then I would give 10. WELL DONE NHS!
Ian Walsh. Folkestone.


The doctors and nurses get very frustrated that they are not able to give the standards of care they want to give.

Mrs Ursula Arnold. RGN DipN.
As a nurse in Accident and Emergency I want to give the best care I know to patients and their relatives but find that a lot of the time I am just unable to. Usually we are unable to send the patients to the wards as there are no beds there, so they have to stay on trolleys in the department until the wards can free-up beds. This means that drinks, food, personal care etc has to be done in very inappropriate places which are distressing for patients, relatives AND staff. Patients have to wait to be seen by doctors because there is literally no space for a patient to be examined. The nurses are so busy giving care to patients who should be on a ward in a bed, that the "true" A&E patients have to wait longer for dressings, plaster casts and stitches. The doctors and nurses get very frustrated that they are not able to give the standards of care they want to give and then we get shouted at by (rightly) frustrated relatives! This only makes us feel worse because we POWERLESS to correct the situation.
Mrs Ursula Arnold. RGN DipN.

I have worked for the London ambulance service since June 01 and would never have expected to be going on blue lights (which in it self can be dangerous for us and other road users) to patients with colds or who have had a headache. It is clear these calls could have been prevented had these people considered other forms of treatment rather then expecting a 999 service.

If these patients insist on having an ambulance, we have to respond. The sad thing with this is that it takes an ambulance off the road for one hour - meaning someone who needs an ambulance has to wait longer for a response. And if these patients insist on going to A&E this adds another person to the waiting room, causing longer delays for all waiting. (at least 40% of people waiting in A&E could have found alternative treatment rather then hospital)

When you try to suggest to these patients they could have got adequate treatment or advice from either a chemist, NHS Direct etc they seem to feel they are entitled to an ambulance regardless how minor their condition. Perhaps if the government were to get tough on this abuse of the service, those that need help will get it with less delays.
Andrew Windsor, UK

I have just had surgery in St. Mary's Hospital, London, W2, and separately was in their A&E after a car crash. I received the most wonderful attention and treatment at all times, by staff who were clearly extremely competent, caring and dedicated. The hospital ward was spotless.
Peter Clayton, London

Last November I called an ambulance (the first time ever) and they came within about ten mins and they were marvellous. I was taken to Old Church Hospital. I arrived about 10.15 in the evening. I eventually saw a doctor at 5am. He told me I could go home but as I was in so much pain and could not move I was unable to go home in a car as I had to lie flat. I had to wait for an ambulance to take me home which came about 10am in the morning. We was told that there was only one doctor and two nurses working that night (Wednesday 21 Nov 2001) and there were 200 patients waiting to be seen. Why can't we have more staff on in the A&E department at all times.
Carol Spendlove, UK


They were just badly organised and prioritised.

R Knight, UK
I've had two experiences of A&E which taught me it is a place you only go as a last resort or if you are very near death. In both cases the ambulance crews were excellent in every way but were totally let down on arrival at the hospital by the pitiful performance of the A&E dept. At hospitals in Kingston (1982), and Leicester (1999) I was met with waiting times longer than a full working day (though of course both were actually night time periods). In both cases it required only some simple checks by a qualified person to ensure no serious harm had been done and I was able to go home then see my doctor the next day. In both cases this could have been determined within 10 minutes of my arrival and saved me occupying a cubicle/trolley in the corridor for hours on end. I simply don't believe these places were that busy. They were just badly organised and prioritised.
R Knight, UK

About a year ago I a passenger on a bus that was involved in an accident and I received cuts all over my face from flying glass. While I waited for 3 1/2 hours in casualty waiting to be stitched up, holding a pad to my head to stop the blood, two people came in wearing football gear, with pulled muscles. Both of them were seen and were in and out within ten minutes. Is that really the priorities of A&E?
Martin, England, UK

I was recently involved in a car accident and the paramedics that attended me were extremely pleasant. They were friendly, compassionate and made me feel secure and comfortable. Nothing was too much trouble for them. This was followed by the same treatment from the nurses at the hospital. What I cannot understand is why people doing such a wonderful job should be exposed to abuses suffered from drunks and obnoxious patients.
Jones, United Kingdom


When Ministers make a surprise visit to an A+E department the powers that be gloss over the cracks.

Will Davies, London
I work for the London Ambulance Service, and have for the last five years. I have seen and heard big promises being made. However, non of them have ever come to anything other than empty promises. When Ministers make a surprise visit to an A+E department the powers that be gloss over the cracks that are in the system. Furthermore, we do on average between 3000 to 4000 Emergency calls a day, but sadly we are mostly used as a taxi service. This is very frustrating, and does not allow us to attended the calls were we are really need to administer life saving treatment to patients that really need us. Moreover, we are verbally abused or even physical abuse is a daily routine. We are being pushed to reach eight minute targets. Sadly we are never going to reach these targets unless we get more funding, and educate the public what an Ambulance is really for. People will not be seen quicker if they travel into Casualty by Ambulance. Tony Blair just give us better funding, and better pay to allow us to carry out our job. The Ambulance Services across the country are staffed by proud people who care about others. One day the goodwill will be gone for ever, and you are heading for a disaster.
Will Davies, London England

My husband was knocked off his motorcycle in January. He was taken to hospital by ambulance. He lie in casualty for five hours in a neck brace with a dislocated shoulder, a fractured shoulder and cut knee before the Orthopaedic surgeon saw him. Whilst he was waiting, he was shovelled full of morphine and other pain killers. My question would be - why was there no Orthopaedic surgeon available for 5 hours? He was taken to a ward about 10 hours after he arrived in A&E. The nurses treated the patients like prisoners. They did not respect their privacy or dignity. The nurses moaned about one patient who had badly broken both legs because he wanted to use the phone to contact his partner and couldn't get out to the payphone in the corridor. They let patients smoke in the ward instead of providing them with an area and helping them get there. They even complained about patients closing the curtains around the bed. My experience, which isn't just based on my husband's stay in hospitals that both patients and visitors lose all rights to behave like normal humans. People are expected to sit around on their bed all day waiting for a nurse or consultant that inevitably turns up 2 hours later than expected. I think a change in attitude is needed.
Nina Monckton, England

My mother is a nurse and within accident and emergency she has been verbally, and seen other nurses physically abused by drunk, ignorant, arrogant patients. I think that those who attack nurses or cause trouble within accident and emergency should be electronically tagged and lose their right to health care.
Mr Williams, England

About a year ago I was a passenger on a bus that was involved in an accident and I received cuts all over my face from flying glass. While I waited for 3 1/2 hours in casualty to be stitched up, holding a pad to my head to stop the blood, two people came in wearing football gear, with pulled muscles. Both of them were seen and were in and out within ten minutes. Is that really the priorities of A&E?
Martin, England


I was recently referred to the rapid access clinic at our local hospital. It took four weeks before I could be seen. Thankfully I am still alive to complain.

Geoff Palmer, Nottingham
I recently went to A&E with pain & bleeding at 8 weeks of pregnancy. I was seen promptly and the staff were kind, caring and thorough. I had to have an emergency op to remove my baby & tube. My stay in hospital was wonderful. All of the staff were brilliant - nothing was too much trouble. We should be grateful that there are people there willing to go through years of hard training to save our lives. LONG LIVE THE NHS!!!
Amanda Bowden, England

I was recently referred to the rapid access clinic at our local hospital due to severe chest pains. It took four weeks before I could be seen. My doctor thought I would be seen the following day but was unable to help any further once referred. Thankfully I am still alive to complain.
Geoff Palmer, Nottingham, UK

My little boy has difficulty controlling his seizures and has been admitted to A&E four times via emergency ambulance. He has always required urgent medical attention and to date has always received it. The staff have been generally kind and efficient. Unfortunately we have not received the same standard of care from the outpatients department.
Catherine Brown, England

I've had two experiences of A&E which taught me it is a place you only go as a last resort or if you are very near death. In both cases the ambulance crews were excellent in every way but were totally let down on arrival at the hospital by the pitiful performance of the A&E department. I simply don't believe these places were that busy. They were just badly organised and prioritised.
R Knight, UK

Children should be given separate waiting facilities from adults, particularly when the adults are under the influence of drugs or drink. It is distressing enough if you have to take a child to casualty without having to protect them from a situation that they otherwise would not encounter.
Lesley Casson, England

I have had first-hand experience of incompetent doctors in the NHS. Two years ago my husband had a rare disease that took three trips to the A+E department before he was admitted to the hospital for live-saving treatment. On each visit the doctors were more interested in the rugby results than seeing patients. How is this putting peoples' minds at rest that the hospitals are up to the standards defined by the government?
Lesley Reeson, England


Many people who go to A&E don't need to be there. We have an alternative in our town - a minor injuries unit at our local community hospital and it is a real success story

Kate Potter, UK
My husband was knocked off his motorcycle in January. He was taken to hospital by ambulance. He had to lie in casualty for five hours in a neck brace with a dislocated shoulder and a cut knee before the Orthopaedic surgeon saw him. He was taken to a ward about 10 hours after. The nurses treated the patients like prisoners. They did not respect their privacy or dignity. The nurses moaned about one patient who had badly broken both legs because he wanted to use the phone to contact his partner and couldn't get out to the payphone in the corridor. They even complained about patients closing the curtains around the bed. My experience is that both patients and visitors lose all rights to behave like normal humans.
Nina Monckton, England

I work for the London Ambulance Service, and have for the last five years. I have seen and heard big promises being made. However, none of them have ever come to anything other than empty promises. When ministers do a surprise visit to an A+E department, the powers that be gloss over the cracks in the system. Furthermore, we do on average of 3000 to 4000 emergency calls a day, but sadly we are mostly used as a taxi service. This is very frustrating, and does not allow us to attend the calls where patients really need us. Moreover, we are verbally abused or even physical abused as a daily routine. We are being pushed to reach eight minute targets. Sadly we are never going to reach these targets unless we get more funding, and educate the public what an ambulance is really for.
Will Davies, London England

On a visit to England last September, I was called upon to convey my 86-year-old aunt to Milton Keynes General Hospital emergency department, as she had broken her ankle. They left my Aunt waiting for four and a half hours with no painkillers and in great distress before they even X-rayed her foot. When finally they got around to putting it in a solid fibreglass cast and sending her home we'd been in the hospital a full six and a half hours. Is this disgusting and pathetically inadequate system what my Aunt fought the second world war to suffer?
Kevin B, Briton in USA


What I cannot understand is why people doing such a wonderful job should be exposed to abuse from drunks and obnoxious patients

Mr Jones, UK
Many people who go to A&E don't need to be there. We have an alternative in our town - a minor injuries unit at our local community hospital and it is a real success story. Rather than go to the big A&E department 15 miles away, many people go to the local facility where they don't have to wait, where they are seen by expert A&E nurses and where basic treatment and X-rays can be done. If a referral to the main hospital is needed then it is arranged. This takes a lot of pressure from the A&E department and, one hopes, allows them to concentrate on the real emergencies. I am sure the whole A&E system would be vastly improved if every town had at least one of these minor injuries units.
Kate Potter, UK

I was recently involved in a car accident and the paramedics that attended me were extremely pleasant. They were friendly, compassionate and made me feel secure and comfortable. This was followed by the same treatment from the nurses at the hospital. What I cannot understand is why people doing such a wonderful job should be exposed to abuse from drunks and obnoxious patients.
Mr Jones, UK

I was admitted to and A&E department in January with a fractured elbow and had excellent treatment there. I think perhaps a charge for visiting A&E services when it is clearly not an emergency may also be an idea - it stops people abusing the service. Basically, though, there needs to be more money invested in the NHS, from both public and private sectors, and as an NHS employee, I would appreciate more positive press from the media too!
Judy George, UK

I had to take my wife to A&E on a Saturday night. The staff were great, but we had to wait 2 hours for an ambulance, because they were all out bringing in drunks who had been involved in fights. The A&E soon filled up with drunks shouting at the nurses and causing trouble. The police had to be called to restore order. The nurses told me that this was a regular weekend occurrence, and that ambulances ended up being called out as it was a free ride to A&E. Why not charge £20 for calling out an ambulance? It would take the pressure off the ambulance service and it could be claimed back off insurance or paid for by the Benefits Agency if the person was unemployed or a pensioner.
Colin Hudson, England


It is a standing joke in the ambulance service that they are just taxis with blue lights

Michael, UK
I am married to an Ambulance Paramedic, and in her opinion at least 80% of the calls she attends are non-emergencies and even someone with no medical knowledge would be able to tell that an emergency ambulance is not required. It is a standing joke in the ambulance service that they are just taxis with blue lights.
Michael, UK

Children should be given separate waiting facilities to adults, particularly when the adults are under the influence of drugs or drink when they can be loud, abusive and even violent. It is distressing enough if you have to take a child to casualty without having to protect them from a situation that they otherwise would not encounter.
Lesley Casson, England

A&E units should be staffed by registrar grade doctors. Only pure accidents and emergencies should be seen in A&E.
Dr Mathew, UK

I have had several first hand experiences of A&E because I used to suffer from heart palpitations. I had to go to Wigan Royal Albert Infirmary, where the nursing staff had to assess my condition. They saw me straight away and nothing was too much trouble for them. The nursing staff were always busy and short staffed. More staff are needed and I have even e-mailed the government regarding this. Where is the money going? I think we should have a people's committee to say where we think money should be spent in the NHS. Luckily for me I now have a pacemaker, which has corrected my condition.
Susan Fazackerley, England

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