Time to put peo­ple be­fore num­bers

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Fundraiser -

Ash­ford’s “in­ad­e­quate” Wil­liam Harvey Hos­pi­tal has come un­der fire again, this time for can­celling ap­point­ments. A Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion re­quest re­vealed 120,746 ap­point­ments were axed in three years – that’s 13.34% of all those booked.

This rev­e­la­tion comes weeks af­ter a Care Qual­ity Com­mis­sion re­port slammed the hos­pi­tal, rat­ing A&E, surgery and chil­dren’s care as sub-stan­dard. Can­celled ap­point­ments are at the least frus­trat­ing, at worst life-threat­en­ing.

Having to ar­range and re-ar­range time off work, childcare and other com­mit­ments is an­noy­ing. But imag­ine if, like the pa­tient in our story on page 29, you are suf­fer­ing from a po­ten­tially fa­tal con­di­tion and those ap­point­ments are to mon­i­tor your con­di­tion, tweak your med­i­ca­tion and, ba­si­cally, keep you alive. But who is to blame for the poor ser­vice? Cer­tainly not the pro­fes­sional, car­ing front­line staff. Per­haps, like those high up in the ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem, man­age­ment is mak­ing it harder for those front­line staff to do their jobs by fo­cussing on num­bers rather than peo­ple.

Our fea­tured pa­tient, Stu­art Bar­ton, who has the lung con­di­tion chronic ob­struc­tive pul­monary dis­ease, says: “Mr X and Mrs Y are no longer in­di­vid­u­als, they are just data on a list.”

Per­haps he has a point.

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