Hospital Costs

Hospital Costs

I see that the bosses at the Vic are appealing for people to stay away from A&E unless it is absolutely necessary. Emergencies only go there not, as a lot of people think that they can go to A&E at the drop of a hat to have anything treated. The place is somewhere you go when it is an emergency. Otherwise, go to your doctor or a chemist where they will give advice on most things. And people wonder why the NHS is always in trouble, and hospital costs are always rising.

Accident and Emergency – the clue’s in the name

The clue is in the name, Accident and Emergency so since when it’s OK to use the place as a doctors surgery is beyond me.  The need to make this statement (again) came last week after the usual Winter demands found more people than ever going to A&E. As a result, thousands of people were left waiting for more than four hours.

Our hospital had the tenth worst performing emergency department in the country for December, but it is an improvement on last December, so maybe the message is getting through. Did you know that more than 2,000 people, an average of 69 a day, were left longer than the four hour target time to be seen? In the last twelve months, 40% of patients waited less than four hours, but the hospital was told to not take it for granted and to maintain the levels.

Why would you go there unless you were desperate?

I don’t know about you, but I couldn’t think of anything more awful than sitting in a crowded A&E for hours on end, when my common sense told me I didn’t need to be there. I don’t like hospitals that much, or doctors for that matter! When you watch some of the medical programmes on TV it makes me wonder why on earth they have gone to their GP or hospital, for what is mostly something nor nothing.

Maybe it’s because I’m long in the tooth, but our generation wouldn’t go to the doctors unless they were on death’s door! Of course that wasn’t always the correct thing to do, but bear in mind that in those dark days people were very medically unaware, whereas nowadays they tell you too much and in some cases frighten you to death needlessly, when they don’t even know whether there is anything to panic about.

It ‘might’ be something…

I know of quite a few people who’ve been told that they have to have something checked out because it ‘might be cancer’ (or worse, that it was cancer) when in fact it wasn’t.

I think it’s wrong on so many levels to tell you so much, why does a patient need to know that a frog in the throat could turn out to be cancer in the voice box (or whatever). This causes a lot of distress to people when they are told to have tests done just in case it should turn out to be x, y, z. Why not wait until the results are in and see if there is any awful news before upsetting people. Luckily, the people I know turned out to not have cancer, but that was after worrying weeks of fear in case the diagnosis was right, mad I call it.

When we were young, even when someone had cancer, it was usually kept from the patient until it was necessary for them to know and you know what they say, what you don’t know won’t hurt you. How true! I think if push came to shove, I would prefer not to know if I had only a short time to live on this mortal coil and then I wouldn’t spend the rest of my life worrying about ‘when, where, how and if’ if you get my drift!

Cutting Down on Hospital Costs

While I’m talking hospitals, but to get off the A&E subject. Did you know that they are trying a new idea to cut down on the amount of food that is wasted during a hospital stay, and I don’t blame them. There’s going to be a new electronic system which will ensure that Joe public get nutritious food which will lead to healthier patients, hopefully, and reduce hospital costs.

A couple of years ago, 49,200 meals were returned uneaten which averages out at 135 per day, wow! To feed us costs £8 a day so obviously untouched food is costing a lot of money in thrown away meals. Most wards order a days meals the night before, so the new system will allow late night admissions to have a meal the next day and help dementia patients to choose a meal. As a result, lots of money saved that could be put to better use.

But I will say it again after about a thousand times, I think food should be charged for in hospitals. We all have to eat if we are at home and we don’t expect someone else to pay for us, so why not charge even a peppercorn amount for the food we eat while there. At £8 a day, I think it would be well worth it just not to have to cook looking on the bright side, but just think of the millions it would save for better things.

Even if people contributed half of the cost and paid £4 it would make an enormous difference to the running costs of the NHS. You’re not telling me that anyone could live on less than £4 worth of food a day at home, for everything you have to eat and drink in 24 hours.


When I was in hospital in my thirties I asked for fruit salad for dessert and got one orange, unpeeled on a saucer! Now people would have grounds to complain about that don’t you think, DIY fruit salad with just one fruit!

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One Comment
  1. Chrissie, when I worked in A&E in Ilford, Essex (over 40 years ago) anyone reporting to the department that hadn’t been in a road accident or similar, was sent away if they had been in an accident or had symptoms for more than 48 hours. The receptionist was a dragon lady, but anyone who wasn’t an immediate accident or emergency was told to go back to their GP. To be fair, at that time you could see a GP the same or the next day.

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