Sunday, April 1, 2007

Annual Manchester Trip

Every year, the Second Year medics take a trip down to the University of Manchester to visit the the 4 teachings hospitals that we will spend years 4-6 in: Manchester Royal Infirmary, Salford Royal (aka Royal Hope) Hospital, University Hospital of South Manchester (aka Wythenshawe Hospital), or Royal Preston Hospital. This means I get to spend the next 5 hours on a bus driving down there, and 5 hours back up on Tuesday, after visiting Preston on the way back up. (Which is why I've loaded up my iPod with movies...)

However, despite the long drive, I am looking forward to the trip. This is quite a major decision, one I would never make blind. Of the 125 students in my year, only 50 or so are coming on the trip. This means that the rest of them will either be making the trip themselves (a lot of students who come to St. Andrews tend to be from Manchester originally), or are going to pick where they will spend 3 of the most important years of their life without seeing the hospital first. To me, that sounds a bit unreasonable.

I'm going down with a slight bias towards Wythenshawe and Preston, because of their higher A&E (Accident & Emergency - equivalent to a U.S. ER/ED) flow rate and admissions rate. The way emergency admissions generally work in the U.K. is that 999 (the emergency line - like 911) calls are for major emergencies, such as RTAs (Road Traffic Accidents) and unconscious patients. Most other 'emergencies' must go through NHS24 in Scotland or NHS Direct in England, which is a 24-hour phone service staffed by nurses and doctors who decide whether the patient actually needs an emergency hospital admission or can wait to see their GP in their office. However, A&E's are still open to walk-in visits. While I realize that I will get to spend a very limited amount of time in the A&E during my clinical training, I will still be using the look and feel of the department to help me in my decision.

Until next time,