I’m writing this at 1.30am in the waiting area of Middlemore Hospital’s accident and emergency department. We are here because since contracting Covid on May 1, my 18-year-old has endured a cacophony of painful symptoms that are just not resolving. They are not respiratory but are preventing her from returning to work and life in general. We got there at 4pm, in part because there was a 4 hour wait at the local emergency department and a 1 week wait to see her own GP. So far, we have clocked up two GP visits and one hospital admission. This is the second.
Yes, she is double jabbed and boosted, a statistic we have spouted to the eager statistical collective numerous times, but I can’t help but wonder that if she wasn’t, her own immune system would have done a hell of a better job of ridding her body of this virus by now. You don’t have to look far to find numerous experts who warned of such things.
Everyone has been amazing, but there just doesn’t seem to be enough of them to deal with what seems to be a growing number of sick people. One can only speculate the reason for the upsurge in patient numbers, but whatever it is, it is not going to improve with the annual upsurge that Winter brings.
There were 185 people wating to see a doctor when we arrived. People who had been admitted for overnight stays were sent back to the waiting area because there were no beds. My daughter sat slumped in the corridor as all the seats were full. We were told it was a 10 hour wait. Add to that the continual flow of Ambo’s and more people arriving by the minute with no let up and Middlemore is a powderkeg. The staff are amazing, they all do an incredible job in a trying situation. The Covid pandemic has seen the addition of an initial triage done outside in a marquee even if you are referred from a doctor. More paperwork, more waiting, more staff taken away from the things they do best.
I know there is no easy fix, the powers at be, all seem to be more than capable of pointing the finger at their opposing number blaming lack of funding and infrastructure from the past, but I am yet to see any real ideas or suggestions that indicate they are committed to making a difference. Ultimately it is the children of today and tomorrow who will suffer if we continue to abuse the sanctity of the calling that is health and treat our own health poorly with the expectation, others are there to fix us.