Last night, I slammed my left index finger in a car door. I’m left handed (of course). So I swore a bit, shouted at the long-suffering Mrs Bugle to get some ice, swore a bit more and went to bed.
The next morning it was still hurting, and had gone a bit purple. Most of the nail was black. So I phoned NHS Direct, who asked me to answer several questions using computerised voice recognition to determine which council I live in. Then they told me that the service was no longer available in my area, and told me to call 111 instead.
So I called 111, and spoke to a guy who got logged out of his system, then logged in again. He asked me a load of questions from a flow diagram, then told me I should go to my nearest A&E.
So I went, for the first time ever to Lewisham’s A&E department. And they were brilliant. All my details were entered at reception. They knew who my GP was, and updated my records. A nurse saw me after a 5 minute wait, then I was sent to get an x-ray. Look!
Apparently it’s got a tiny fracture at the top. Then I was sent to another nurse, who already had the x-ray up on her computer, then decided to cut a hole in the top of the fingernail, and drain some blood out of the finger (fun!). All the staff were friendly and helpful.
Then it was bandaged up, I was given some painkillers, plasters, and some anti-biotics, and now I’m at home typing with even less skill than usual.
I’m extremely glad that Jeremy Hunt hasn’t yet managed to close my nearest A&E department, or to downgrade it. He won’t bother closing hospitals in areas where there are lots of his voters, only in areas where there are lots of poor people, like Lewisham.
However, having lost this battle, he now wants to change the law, so that he can carry on screwing up our hospitals.
You need to sign this petition, and with a bit of luck, next time you slam your finger in a car door, you’ll have as good a level of service as I just did.