Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - OPINION -

WHEN the House of Com­mons re­turned on Jan­uary 9, there were calls for a de­bate on ac­ci­dent and emer­gency pro­vi­sion. Not long be­fore then, I went to A&E in Sh­effield with my hus­band Jack – who is now much bet­ter – and thus want to thank the staff who as­sessed, treated and cared for him on that oc­ca­sion.

There have been some wor­ry­ing re­ports about peo­ple spend­ing time on trol­leys in A&E de­part­ments, and in­deed Jack was on a trolley, in a cor­ri­dor, but he was com­fort­able and prob­a­bly over­all he would have been far less com­fort­able sit­ting on a chair in the wait­ing area. We are all aware that when deal­ing with peo­ple in acute med­i­cal sit­u­a­tions prob­lems can oc­cur but we must also recog­nise the pos­i­tive out­comes.

Talk­ing to con­stituents, re­cently, I have also heard pos­i­tive sto­ries about those who had to at­tend A&E at Stoke Man­dev­ille. I un­der­stand that the staff, when they were cop­ing with high de­mand, could open a treat­ment area and move beds into it so that the pa­tients could be ac­com­mo­dated quickly. We should thank the staff who take these de­ci­sions and give good care to their pa­tients, be­cause they some­times do not re­ceive the ac­co­lades that they de­serve. They re­ally do merit many trib­utes, work­ing as they do in a branch of medicine where they re­spond to so many chal­lenges, through day and night.

Without ques­tion, the A&E ser­vice is car­ing for many more pa­tients and the fact that we have an age­ing pop­u­la­tion does mean that more peo­ple are end­ing up in A&E. There are also grow­ing num­bers of peo­ple with long-term med­i­cal con­di­tions which can be the re­sult of age­ing, such as de­men­tia. Pa­tients with de­men­tia can find be­ing in an un­fa­mil­iar en­vi­ron­ment such as a hos­pi­tal un­set­tling or even threat­en­ing, so they need ap­pro­pri­ate care to pro­vide re­as­sur­ance. The num­bers of doc­tors work­ing in A&E have in­creased.

There are ser­vices like 111 which of­fer as­sis­tance too, to share the load. Hav­ing vis­ited lo­cal phar­ma­cists I know that their trained staff are also pleased to give ad­vice. Many GP surg­eries are also em­ploy­ing staff like nurses who spe­cialise in look­ing after the older pa­tients and who can give ad­vice.

Un­for­tu­nately, there is a small mi­nor­ity who abuse the sys­tem but the ma­jor­ity are there be­cause of acute need and we should praise those that help us when we are most in need.

CH­ERYL GIL­LAN MP for Che­sham & Amer­sham

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