After recently spending some time in the Royal Blackburn Hospital, I couldn’t help but notice some of the characters who turn up at their Accident & Emergency Department.
Even before entering the hospital I was forced to wait a few minutes. Unbelievably, this was due to a thoughtless visitor blocking one of the ambulance bays by parking his car there! Luckily, the sheepish driver was quickly found and parked his vehicle somewhere else.
Sadly, ambulances having to wait in queues at RBH isn’t unusual. This is down to the sheer weight of numbers of people requiring the service. Over 600 patients were seen in one 24 hour period at Blackburn’s A&E recently. In my case, it meant a six hour wait in a bed on the corridor before my ward was able to accept me.
My bed was parked right next to the reception desk. It was a hive of activity and as busy as I’d heard. One bloke had a couple of coppers with him, as well as his girlfriend. They took him to the toilet a few yards from me where he spent ages inside, to such a point where these police officers were considering breaking the door down in case he’d injured himself.
For some reason, the police disappeared later, leaving the bloke and his girlfriend to go on walks around A&E while he whinged about having to wait to be seen. He looked as if he was high on drugs when he came in, or drunk as a skunk. At least he was quiet later, unlike a noisy teenager who was brought in. She kept shouting and screaming for help, despite having family and friends with her and yapping with them in between her shrieks.
It was clear many people attending A&E were under the influence of drugs and alcohol. There were also large numbers of people there who had problems which didn’t really merit assistance from A&E. Examples included minor falls, upset stomachs, scalds and even midge bites.
Perhaps Blackburn A&E’s biggest problem is the run-down of hospital services in other neighbouring towns. These include those at Accrington Victoria and Burnley. Even the situation at Chorley is having a knock-on effect on our Trust. But maybe people should think twice before heading for A&E with minor ailments. Thankfully, the staff coped with the situation in their usual professional way – the one we all take for granted.