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Opinion: Cllr Rev Ann Easter appreciates the daily challenges for hospital staff

PUBLISHED: 08:30 20 April 2019

Archant

Our doorbell rang on March 15, heralding the arrival of my daughter and I ran downstairs barefoot, missed the last two steps and went flying!

I fell badly, bruising myself all over and breaking my ankle in two places and my daughter called an ambulance.

The ambulance crew were great, confident and competent, and I was carefully examined before being borne to Newham's accident and emergency department – a whole new level of hell. We got there at 11am and then spent all day watching the staff good humouredly dealing with an endless stream of residents with a wide variety of health needs including a number who clearly had issues with their mental health too.

'My' ambulance crew and others kept on coming back with more patients and relatives were asked to stand as there simply were not enough chairs to go round. A man who was handcuffed to two police officers yelled abuse, others moaned and called for help and one lady, clearly a regular, called greetings to all.

I was eventually seen by a doctor and was given painkillers while I awaited the orthopaedic staff who agreed that I would need surgery but there were no beds to which I could be admitted. After a night in the observation - or temporary - ward I was prepared for surgery next morning and finally discharged home the day after that.

I cannot fault the staff, every single one of them was kind and caring; they originated from all parts of the world. There was the Albanian haematologist who showed me photos of his delightful daughters, the Spanish nurse who phoned my husband to let him know where I was, the energetic Australian physio and the marvellous Scottish anaesthetist who listened patiently to my fears and calmed and re-assured me.

But how they struggle against enormous pressures and lack of resources! I am in awe of their fortitude and determination to do their work well.

I'm onto my second plaster now and hope soon to start walking – but, whatever I do, I will NEVER run downstairs barefoot again – no matter who's at the door!!

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