The posters are up on all entrances to Lincoln A&E warning patients that we have TV cameras in the department on what was anticipated to be the party night of the year – mad Friday.
Look North and Calendar have arrived and it’s time to introduce them to the world of A&E and the amazing team of dedicated people who all go above and beyond to make sure everyone who comes through the door is treated and looked after.
As A&E Consultant Dr Meg Kelly told the journalists, the NHS has done such a good job that everyone knows no matter where you are in the country you can turn up to A&E and they will look after you – whether it’s a broken bone, injuries from a car accident or an infected cat bite – they do it all. We do take it for granted and some people do pop down when they could get the same advice from their local pharmacy, GP or even be treated at home. But the team don’t complain they just get on with it and move on to help the next patient who needs them.
I had heard the stories about how busy the department can get, but I must admit I really didn’t have a clue about what goes on behind the curtain.
As Dr Kelly said ‘A&E really should only be used for the worst days of your life and if you find yourself waiting please know that you are lucky as behind the curtains there will be patients who are a lot sicker and in greater need of help’.
In the few hours we were there the red phone kept ringing and we saw lots of very sick people arrive by ambulance, we watched the waiting room start to fill with those suffering from more minor conditions and tried not to get in the way as the whole team kicked into action.
I will admit there were tears in my eyes when a toddler was brought in on a stretcher, he was unresponsive and just looked so tiny and helpless. The relief when I later heard crying come from behind the curtain was unbelievable.
I also saw the team comforting a family whose elderly relative had died from a heart attack. Their care and compassion really has no bounds.
And this was a relatively quiet night. All I can say to everyone is a massive thank you for putting up with me and the TV crews, you all took it all in your stride and were amazing. It was a real eye opener, not only for me, but also for the reporters and the tens of thousands of viewer who saw you all working hard to keep us safe.
Hopefully, everyone who saw or heard the broadcasts will think twice about whether they really do need to come to A&E.