Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Heating up

Until now the weather has been, if not cool, bearable and even quite pleasant. The forecast now says we are in for more than a week of 35'C plus -a heatwave in anyone's terms, especially with at least three days forecast to be over 41'C.
I do not like the heat. I never have. I live in entirely the wrong sort of climate and will seriously consider a move to somewhere cooler at a point in the future when I am free to do so.

The heat is on in other places as well. There are concerns being raised in the press this morning over the increasing violence in the emergency departments of hospitals, especially the one in the city. Is it right to mix drug and alcohol related emergencies with other emergencies?

I would say no and I think most people would agree. It is, as much as anything else, a safety issue. The problem lies in the division, the accommodation and the staffing of such areas. Certainly they are woefully understaffed at the best of times.
It is also disturbing that drug and alcohol related emergencies can take preference over other emergencies. It is about saving lives. It must be extremely difficult for a doctor faced with an individual who has deliberately overdosed more than once and a small child in extreme pain caused by someone else's stupidity but no actual danger of dying.

Is this situation being exaverbated by our 'let's have everyone in the community' policy? Almost certainly. It is one of those things which sounds good from the outside but may not be the solution for everyone. There are some who would feel safer and more secure in a residential situation where they were being cared for. There are others who should be there for their own safety and the safety of others. While it has been what the disability sector activists have long said they wanted - and has been dressed up as a dignity and rights issue - it is causing harm to some. We need more flexibility.

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