I saw this article in todays news. If you can't be bothered to read it, the general idea is that recent statistics have shown that 40% of people who attend A&E leave without receiving treatment of advice.
"The study also showed around half a million patients leave A&E or injury units before being treated."....."It also shows a significant number of patients were recorded as leaving the department without having had any advice or treatment."
I immediately thought of at least two reasons this might happen...
1. The patients attend, get seen and then leave without actually needing anything. I agree that this would be a monumental waste of time and resources which could be better used elsewhere.
2. The patients attend, sit about for what possibly seems like an eternity, and then decide to give up and go elsewhere (maybe their GP, or another hospital)
I'm not having a bash at the NHS here, or making any kind of complaint about waiting times etc (in fact in my own experiences I have always received excellent service - and I have been a fairly frequent user at times of facilities such as A&E) but I am fully aware that such generic statements made from statistical analysis can be taken in more than one way.
I have a cunning plan however...Maybe St Johns and St Andrews ambulance services (and other voluntary organisations that are similar) set themselves up with regional clinics that could administer first aid and refer people who needed further attention to the hospitals. (this may require some public thought however - a hand thats been chopped off, or a heart attack, or other serious injury doesn't really count as something treatable with first aid alone and should be taken to the hospital directly!) This way the organisation members get plenty of practice and experience and the hospital has fewer people trying to get seen.
It's got its flaws, but I'm sure they'll get ironed out somewhere...