A&E departments across England are struggling to deal with the unprecedented numbers of reporters and news crews that have descended upon them in the last few days. Cameramen have reported being kept waiting in corridors for up to eight hours, and more than twenty hospitals have admitted missing their target of enabling broadcasts to be transmitted from their emergency rooms every four hours.
‘The demand is just too great for us to cope with’ explained Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital’s spokesman Hilary Chappell. ‘Attention from the media always peaks during the winter months, but this year, with an election just round the corner, we’ve just been swamped. We’ve called in all media-trained staff in an attempt to clear the backlog, but during peak times, such as when the six o’clock and ten o’clock news is on, the number of journalists seeking attention is simply too much.’
‘Part of the problem is the number of non-urgent requests for interviews hospitals are receiving’ argued Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt. ‘The Bristol Royal Infirmary reported that more than twenty percent of all journalists attending their A&E department yesterday could have obtained a story somewhere else instead, freeing up doctors and nurses to give their attention to more important news stations, or to treat patients of course. Our message to the media is to see if they can annoy politicians, schools or foreigners first before getting in the way at hospitals.’
Labour blamed recent cuts in social care funding for the crisis though. ‘Clearly the cuts haven’t gone far enough’ said Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham. ‘If budgets had been slashed even further we could have seen journalists covering care home closures or public sector strikes instead. If we win the next election, that’s exactly what we’ll do.’
There was some good news yesterday however, as Sky News’ Kay Burley was said to have been kept waiting in a crowded, vomit splattered corridor for over twelve hours. A spokesman for the hospital concerned said ‘Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha haaaaaaaa!’