I work with British expats translating at hospitals. Today whilst in A & E dept’s ‘urgencias’ in my local hospital, an English family on holiday came in. Their son, just 13, had suffered a fall from rocks and was in a wheelchair, with potential damage to both wrists.
This was in Ontinyent, Vall D’Albaida. Seeing they required help with the language and waiting for x-ray results for myself, I asked what had occurred. The boy’s father had had to drive all the way back to Calpe to their hotel at the Ifach, to retrieve their E111 EHIC card, as the hospital was refusing any help without it. The boy looked in pain, yet they wouldn’t supply pain relief or even a pillow to rest his wrists in a flat position.
At 16.45 from 14.00, I called a local English speaking taxi to transport them down to Dénia hospital Marina Alta, believing this to be the better solution for them. As the boy’s father would only have to drive back from Calpe to Denia some 25 minutes and meet them there at ‘Urgencias’ instead of driving at a busy time of evening 1 hour and 45minutes back to Ontinyent with satnav.
I have been assisting by phone tonight with text messages in Spanish and actually asked the reception to get someone, as the boy could not continue like this…this was at 21.00 tonight, they got to Denia at 18.00.
At approx. 21.20 he was taken to x-ray, he had not been given any pain relief apart from his mum’s paracetamol from her handbag. Surely, even when busy, as a minor this boy of 13 should have been seen quickly. They are still at the hospital now at 00.18 waiting for results of x-ray and pain relief!
I personally after 14 years living here can only say that I flabbergasted by this situation. The family fly home on Saturday. Over the years here, I have had to correct the common misconception here that British people get ‘free’ treatment or ‘ bleed the system dry’. This is not the case. Are we not still in the EU at February 17? So, why are shoulders shrugged at the sight of an EHIC card E111? If this had occurred in the UK with a foreign national in a UK hospital it would plastered across the news.
I actually feel really disappointed and quite angry at what this family have had to tolerate today. Is this the future for March 30 after we leave the EU?
Indeed the situation is far from normal and admittedly, some hospital staff are still unaware of the correct use and application of EHIC cards and forms. As for painkillers, we know the situations with Nolotil (not Brexit) has made some medical staff too cautious when administering painkillers to Northern European residents. Of course, all this is no excuse and hopefully this is just a sad, and painful, casualty in more ways than one. However, blaming all this on Brexit seems too simplistic and easy, as we have pointed out in CBNews repeatedly, Brexit is blamed for far too many situations that it really can get credit for.