It bamboozles me that we don’t realise how lucky we are to have the NHS and how many of us are happy to sit back and watch it being dismantled. We should be mantling it. It needs more mantling, not less.
As new parents we’ve had a few scares with bumped heads and high temperatures (and the baby’s has had some issues too), so it’s amazing to have incredible professionals on hand to help out, day or night.
Late last Thursday, our daughter Phoebe developed a terrifying breathless cough and we took her to the Urgent Care Unit. Things were busy and we were seventh in the queue. It was frustrating, but the staff were not to blame. They worked hard, without breaks, dealing with impatient patients.
A man ahead of us was with his elderly father, who was in some discomfort (but you know, so was everyone, that’s why we were here). The son was stomping around, shouting that his father needed to be seen, haranguing the doctor every time he appeared and threatening to complain about this appalling (lack of) treatment. The stressed doctor who had done nothing wrong, apart from fail to emigrate to a country where they have enough money to have more staff, kept telling the man to report him if he wanted, but later, as he was just adding to the delay.
After two hours the doctor called the father’s name, just as the son was trying to get the number to ring hospital management (at 1am? Good luck with that – those lazy pricks were in bed a long time ago). Even now he didn’t shut up, still incensed that he had been made to wait his turn, causing further delay to his father’s treatment. They had a 5-minute argument about whether the door could be left open, the son concerned about his dad being hot, the doctor (correctly, as he was throughout) refusing to discuss a private matter with the door ajar.
I get it mate, it’s annoying to have to wait when someone you love is in pain. I know, because the same thing was happening to me. So don’t then make everyone else wait even longer by continuing to bitch about it when you’ve through the door. Especially given he’s the one who can help you. And did so even whilst you threatened to get him sacked.
If the management of Hammersmith hospital are reading: if you got a complaint about the doctor on duty on the night of 31st March, ignore it. The guy complaining is a douche.
Unbelievably this pair monopolised the doctor’s time for over an hour. At least 30 minutes of that was down to stroppy bitching.
With a tired and restless baby, who’d already been waiting for three hours and two people ahead of us in the queue, we made the difficult decision that it was best to go home and let her sleep and see our GP in four hours. So this guy’s selfishness had put a baby at risk (she’s ok, she just has a throat virus).
I was angry about all of this: the crumbling National Health, the inhuman stress placed on staff and the cock-holed self-centred behaviour of someone unable to understand that everyone was in the same boat.
Phoebe waited with more patience and maturity. When there’s a baby in the room who is acting less babyishly than you need to take a look at yourself.
So I’ve written this column just on the off-chance that that man is reading, so I can say, “You’re a flicking dick mate. Grow up.”
I am recording the DVD of my Happy Now? tour at St David’s Hall in Cardiff next Tuesday (it’s a HUGE venue so there are definitely tickets left). I love this city so much, but it’s also home to Chris Evans (not that one) who created the amazing independent comedy production company Go Faster Stripe who film comedians who wouldn’t otherwise get a commercial release. Cardiff should be proud of him.