Whittington A&E – Story 24

Dave’s story:

The nearest other A&E is the Royal Free, which is miles away & very difficult to get to, especially for older people (my wife & I are over 60 and my neighbour 89), even by ambulance (rarely available) or car, due to multitude of intervening “sleeping policemen”. Direct public transport is non-existent.

1. About 10 years ago, my wife badly lacerated her arms when a glass door shattered. As waiting an unspecified time for an ambulance was not an option, I drove her to Whittington A&E (took 10-15mins). They were excellent, prioritising her treatment & even the security guys let me park “illegally” outside A&E for a while.

2. About 5 years ago I had a series of eye operations at the Royal Free. Again, excellent (not A&E) treatment. However, journey by car took about 45 mins and by public transport, with several changes nearly hour and a half.

3. Last year, my 89 year old neighbour had a bad fall at the end of our road (bad cuts & bruises to her face & some concussion). A helpful passer by called me & an even more helpful policeman called an ambulance (arrived in less than 10 mins), which took her to Whittington A&E. I then drove there, so as to keep her company until her daughter could arrive from work in Central London. Took about 10-15mins again plus 5mins to find a parking place.

The point of the 3 stories is that I know the driving & public transport routes to both hospitals, I know that each method takes 3 times as long to Royal Free as to Whittington, and even though an ambulance would be quicker, the relative times ratio would still be the same, especially with the number of “sleeping policemen” en route (& assuming an ambulance was available !).

Perhaps not an issue for stories 2 & 3, but I would worry that the tourniquets I put on my wife’s arms (story 1) would have stemmed her blood loss long enough for a journey to the Royal Free.