"Polite efficient staff at the excellent QEH, Greenwich"

About: Queen Elizabeth Hospital (London)

(as the patient),

Very recently I went to my local hospital the Queen Elizabeth in Greenwich. I was inspired to write and shout about it. I think we sometimes forget or take for granted a service which offers so much for so little.

I went with forms to book for a Scan and a blood test. I had been led to think that the scan, would be months away and I would need all afternoon for the blood test…. ’Better take a book’ was the last word as I shut the front door. So what happened? I went to Imaging at QEH and was offered an appointment the following Monday. I had to apologise that I could not make that day. I was then offered the next day!! Feeling rather stunned I went to the blood tests section and was out in under 10mins, there were 4 nurses working their way through the patients with ease. It felt so very efficient with polite and happy staff too. So, no waiting at all.

I then reflected on my experience of QEH over the last year. During 2006 my very dear mother was in the MacMillan Cancer unit as a day patient and in-patient over a 4 month period. I can only describe her care there as Gold standard. She did comment on how disrespectful some of the visitors were to the nurses who were doing amazing work. Her view was that if you show respect for those caring for you, you will receive it in return. We could all do well to listen to that advice.

The worst experience she had was in the medical ward where there were patients in over night due to excessive drinking. They really were wasting the NHS resources. My mother had to go through A&E 3 times at the weekends. While it was an efficient system and all the staff were calm and careful it was very obvious that the delays there were made worse by those coming in following fights, alcohol or drug misuse. Doctors and nurses will still treat them, that is their job and they do it well but is there a case for a separate A&E for drunks and fighters? If the cause of their visit is simply over indulgence down the local bar, should the NHS be charging these ‘patients’ for their services especially if they stay overnight? A private hospital certainly would do. The money could be reinvested in the parts of the service that help those who are ill through no fault of their own.

In the early 90s when my mother was anxious as to whether the NHS would be there for her as she got older she joined a private scheme. The cost of her new knee and two cataract operations cost the insurance company more than the entire amount she had paid into the National Insurance system in her whole life. She began to look at the NHS differently and think what good value it is for what it gives us. While it is not perfect could we perhaps use a few more column inches shouting about what it does well including QEH

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