Ernie was feeling poorly again so he missed school and then Catie took him to the GP. The GP said that we had to take him to A and E as he had a temperature and they had to make sure he didn’t have Strep. I wasn’t too worried about this. Although he’s not quite been himself, he’s still been pretty boisterous, but of course I’ve been trying to avoid reading the stories of tragedy surrounding this condition and it’s still scary to be confronted with the possibility of suddenly losing a child. How have these idiots made me love them so much?
Although I was due to head off to a gig in Ipswich mid-afternoon I went with Ernie and Catie’s mum to the hospital and had a Hellish time trying to get him seen.
Firstly I tried to park in the car park by children’s A and E, but it was full. Then when I’d gone over to the other side of the hospital to park, I took a wrong turn as we walked to A and E and we had to back up on ourselves, then I headed to where children’s A and E had been on our last visit only to find it was shut down and had been moved back to actual A and E. Once we’d got back to the right place we did what the signs told us and followed the little footsteps to children’s A and E, only to find the door locked and a sign saying there was no receptionist today so we’d have to queue at adult A and E. Someone opened the door and Ernie and his Nanna went and sat down whilst I queued.
A and E was heaving full, of course. Not the fault of the staff, obviously, but of continued underfunding and lack of available staff. It was Hellish. Everyone had to wait their turn regardless of how serious the emergency - a woman in a wheel chair behind me was groaning like she might be about to expire, a man brought his wife to the front of the queue. She was in the latter stages of cancer and her blood pressure had dropped, but she had to wait her turn like everyone else (though they did at least let her sit down). There’s not much point in having an emergency room at a hospital if it takes 30 minutes to even get to the desk. I felt so angry about this. A functioning health service should be the first priority of any government and yet our NHS isn’t even getting any credit for all it did to get us through Covid. I wondered how many people in this huge packed room had voted Tory. In this case there was a real possibility that it was same as a turkey voting for Christmas. The elderly were well represented here and proportionately they were more likely to have voted for the government that had underfunded this service and used their taxes for something else.
I remain ever grateful to the people working in these conditions and am amazed that they all carry on in the face of everything. It’s Hell to visit for a couple of hours, let alone to have to deal with this every single day.
Only one adult was allowed in with Ernie, so I went home so I could get to my gig. I was pretty sure Ernie was fine (he was) and was ready to come home if not.
I was doing a charity gig run by Griff Rhys Jones, with a very impressive bill including Adam Buxton, Bill Bailey, John Lloyd and many more. I was on early doors, but risked doing a bit of my half formed material about losing a bollock and got through it OK and it went down pretty well. I told the people of Ipswich that I associate their town with vomiting on my own diarrhoea
, but forgot to say at the end whether this experience had been better. It was good to get back in the saddle in front of an audience that wasn’t my own and get some laughs (and groans of disgust), but I was pretty much straight back in the taxi once I was finished. I did briefly get talking to Tiff Stephenson and discussed the awful situation at A and E and she suggested that you could employ people to always be in the queue for you at A and E so you could jump to the front in case of an emergency happening to you. I think there might actually be an app in that. A bit like Deliveroo. You could have a team of people who were always in the queue and then, when you needed an appointment you just went on your app and booked your slot and then could give them your details and they could sign in for you. I don’t know how you get round the long wait for treatment (Ernie was in there for about five hours this time) - I don’t have all the answers. But if anyone wants to invest in NHS queue jump then let me know.
I hope the government will instead invest properly in the NHS, but let’s be honest they’re more likely to see the value in the app.