Out in the Field with Herald chief reporter Annemarie Field: Not sure this new policy will hit casualty timewasters

A VERY dear friend of mine is a nurse in A&E and I often marvel at the silly ailments people go to the hospital casualty department with when they haven’t even had the good sense to pop a couple of paracetamol, pick up the phone to NHS Direct or visit their doctor.

It’s no wonder waiting times of more than four hours are common when the place is packed with people who use it as a glorified doctor’s surgery while you’re sat up there half the day with your leg hanging on by a thread.

Now doctors are writing to patients telling them to avoid going to A&E because their surgery will be charged for the hospital visit of £52.

Hopefully that will deter some folk who run up there with every cough and sneeze.

But what about the old folk who may need to go to A&E but, because they are decent and conscientious, will stay at home because they’re worried about going to the hospital and the cost involved to their doctor.

And will it prevent the drunks and whingers who probably wouldn’t take notice of a letter from their doctor’s surgery let alone care if the surgery will be charged? I doubt it.

Common sense needs to prevail here and those genuinely in need of A&E should get themselves up there.

For those that don’t, take a couple of paracetamol (I like mine crushed up in a spoonful of jam!) and go and see the doctor.


‘HOW MANY more sleeps mum?’, is the question I have heard ringing in my ears from the Little Princess since December 1.

Since then we’ve had nativity performances, Christmas parties, carol concerts and last week I endured one of the scariest moments of my life to date when I helped serve Christmas lunch at the school to more than 200 hungry children.

Now that there are only two more sleeps until the big day and thanks to the little treasures breaking up from school a full week before the big day itself, she and the Ginger Prince are up to 90 mph, excited to the max and I fear it will be a very early start in our house on Sunday morning.

Thankfully, and without being too self-righteous, I am one of these people who has everything bought and wrapped by the start of November and the festive fodder ordered in so won’t be spending Christmas Eve running around the town like a headless chicken.

I will be at the Christmas Eve Mass at Our Lady of Ransom where the Little Princess is an angel (if ever there was a child so wrongly miscast.....) and in between peeling sprouts and spuds and stuffing the turkey, enjoying a couple of glasses of bottled grapes thinking what we haven’t got now, we go without!


Merry Christmas to all and see you in two weeks’ time when hopefully I will have a little more time to write about my new year’s resolutions!