A personal view of the hospital bed crisis – by Rachel Varnsverry

I start my shift at 2pm

It’s always the same, the bed manager hanging around waiting to hear if there is a free bed.  Any discharges today, tomorrow? People waiting in A&E to come up onto the ward.

People are rushed up, sometimes not with all the right information and all of a sudden this lady needs a side room because she is contagious, the flu or just diarrhoea. Is there a side room available? No …looks like we’re playing musical beds again. People get moved about a lot from ward to ward or just bay to bay. It’s frustrating for the staff who have other duties to perform as well. It doesn’t help that most of the time the ward is working on a skeletal crew so staff are strained as it is, trying to get the observations done and so on.

I am the domestic on the ward, so along with hydration I do the cleaning and I deep clean side rooms and bays when they need doing. It’s often a rush when I’m told to clean a side room as someone has just left the room. A patient is coming up so I have to get the room clean but it’s a deep clean so it can take up to 30 minutes to do it properly. If the patient comes up too early they have to wait in the corridor. Working on the ward I see the strain on the NHS daily when it comes to the beds. Code black is bad – it means they’re in the black and they’re really struggling.

The struggle daily in the NHS is very real. Everyone is affected. I see the cuts all the time. From reduced staff to poorer quality products that have been cut and changed to cheaper brands. Nurses and Heath Care Assistants having to borrow equipment from other wards as there isn’t another blood glucose monitoring machine. Why don’t we have the money for it?  So many broken beds and machines left in the basement.

Homelessness has also had an effect on the NHS, with an increasing number of people, families being made homeless. More people are coming in being malnourished and unable to look after themselves. We have people off the streets who have diabetes. They’ll come in again I suspect if they go into another hypo. We get the Red Cross coming in to help the homeless so that they have a place to go. But as a charity organisation they can only do so much. That’s what this government is doing. Forcing people out of their homes as they can’t pay the bills.

It’s obvious that the NHS needs an injection of cash urgently! But not under this government. All we have is more cuts and people like Virgin Care sniffing about wanting to buy up the NHS. IT ISN’T FOR SALE. The NHS and healthcare should be free for everyone. That’s why it was launched by Nye Bevan under a Labour government and that where it will be protected and thrive with the investment and cash injection it vitally needs. For all departments. We are all struggling and the stress levels are terrible. The only thing that gets us through is each other and the patients, and the lovely relatives who are also very patient and understanding. Occasionally we will get a card or a cake. That’s lovely. The kindness of people keep us all going. That’s what we want isn’t it? A kinder place, a kinder government. That is Jeremy Corbyn’s vision for the future. It will be an end to the privatisation of the NHS and an end to austerity whose cuts have put us in this position to start with.



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  1. Pingback: The NHS bed crisis – Collective Voice

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