I hope, when this is all over, there is some recognition if not reward for the people who work in our health services.
I have had personal experience of their extraordinary work for the past twenty years. They are why I’m alive.
I don’t envy the work they have to do which is often unpleasant, sometimes dangerous, always difficult.
I put up a Tweet earlier this week commenting on the fact that, since the Coronavirus pandemic struck, numbers attending A&E departments have plummeted.
Astonishingly, more than 1,000 people went to the trouble of telling me they agreed with my assertion that, in normal times, many of those who present at A&E do not need to be there.
I have seen it for myself. People sit there with a cut finger, a slightly sprained wrist, a bloody nose.
You see young lads who, after a night on the beer, have ended up with black eyes or broken noses after a brawl of some kind.
You see addicts who certainly need treatment, but specialist treatment currently not available on the scale needed..
In short, our A&E departments are abused. They are, in normal times, packed with people who don’t need hospital treatment. Some just need a bandage. Some need something as simple as paper stitches available in a pharmacy.
But it seems A&E is the first port of call.
On one of my regular but necessary visits, I got chatting with a few paramedics who had arrived with a patient in their ambulance.
They agreed that too many people who don’t need to be there, use A&E departments, causing delays for all.
“It’s the same with ambulances ,” one of them said.
He looked as his partner for approval to tell me some stories…
“We have people we call ‘frequent fliers’” he said. These were people who regularly called the ambulance service.
“What they tell the operator on the emergency line bears no resemblance to the reality,” he said.
I asked for examples. “Your worst three,” I suggested.
They looked at each other again.
“OK. Third, is the guy who when he was lying down told us the real reason he called 999. He couldn’t sleep.
“Second, the guy who once he was safely in the ambulance, told us he called because he watched a scary movie and didn’t want to be on his own.
“But I think the winner has to be the young mother who called 999 about her sick child. When we got there at two in the morning, she answered the door with a baby in her arms. We asked her what was wrong.
“She told us that when she tried to carry the child upstairs to its bed earlier that evening, it hurt her arm. ‘Would youse carry her up for me?”
Our health services are creaking under the pressure, more than ever with the Coronavirus.
But even without it, the pressure is intense.
Someone somewhere needs to find a way to weed out and/or punish those who abuse it.
Because they are causing suffering for others.
And may even be killing them.