[Content note: A&E for mental health crisis, poor care experiences, suicidal thoughts, self-harm]
The strain felt by A&E departments as we move into winter has been much in the news. Today the Guardian pronounces the whole A&E system to be “emergency care on wobbly legs” and notes that GP practices and ambulance services are also struggling to keep up with demand. Much of this is due to an ageing population – people living longer develop more long-term illness – but there appears to be a growing impatience with people “misusing” or “clogging up” A&E provision. I have no doubt that this is a genuine problem, having once had a conversation with people who thought it quite normal to go to A&E for a weekend ear infection, apparently genuinely unaware of out of hours GP care or the existence of walk-in treatment centres.
With all of this in mind…
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