POOR Mrs. MANDRAKE had been waiting in the back of an ambulance for 40 minutes. She couldn’t understand what was going on.
They had reached the hospital, so why weren’t they taking her in? It made no sense. And the ambulance was getting colder by the minute. Well, it was snowing outside with a force seven wind getting up, so maybe that was understandable. But where was everyone?
Suddenly the back door of the ambulance was flung open to reveal none other than Theresa May herself.
“Ah, Mrs Mandobill,” said the Prime Minister Of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. “I’m just going round reassuring patients that the NHS is better equipped to deal with the current winter situation than at any time in the past.”
“How lovely!” said Mrs Mandrake. “It would be very nice to get inside the warm hospital soon, though. I did have a stroke, after all.’
“No sooner said than done,” replied the PM, whereupon two attendants appeared, wheeled Mrs Mandrake from the ambulance into a hospital corridor. She began to feel much better, until the two attendants walked away.
“What happens now?” Mrs Mandrake wondered to no one in particular. Predictably, perhaps, no one answered and for the next two hours, from her corridor parking spot, Mrs Mandrake was able to witness hospital staff rushing hither and thither.
“Is anyone here for me?” she continually asked, but everyone seemed in far too much of a rush, far too stressed even to reply.
There was now no sign of Theresa May, and Mrs Mandrake was on the point of giving up hope when the distinctive figure of Jeremy Hunt appeared at the side of her trolley.
“Ah, Mrs Mandalay,’ said the newly-promoted Secretary of State for Health and Social Care. “This is a good time to remind you that the number of new nurses and new doctors being recruited this year could well be at record numbers once we take into account such factors as wind speed, the tide tables for Whitley Bay and Bolton Wanderers’ defensive record.’
”Can someone admit me to the hospital?” asked Mrs Mandrake.
“No sooner said than done!” said a cheery Jeremy Hunt, and personally wheeled Mrs Mandrake to the front reception desk, gently pushing out of his way a few mild-tempered geriatrics in the process.
“Please admit Mrs Mainstay immediately,” said Hunt, at which the middle-aged receptionist, pausing only to swallow five anti-depressants, began to fill in the requisite forms.
“Does this mean I’ll get seen to now?” asked Mrs Mandrake.
“Most definitely’ said the Man for Whom the Health and Social Care of The Nation has now become his even bigger portfolio. “Now you have been admitted, we guarantee you will see your first doctor within four hours – w-e-e-ll, we almost guarantee it.“
Five hours later, a man appeared at Mrs Mandrake’s trolleyside. “Are you a doctor?” asked Mrs Mandrake.
“Um. . . sort of,” he replied. “I’ve been pulled in for emergency auxiliary help at this time when the NHS is better equipped to deal with the winter situation than at any time in its history.”
“What are you normally, then?” asked Mrs Mandrake.
“A carpet fitter,” he said. “How bad IS the broken leg, Mrs Manicure?”
“It was a stroke’ said Mrs Mandrake.
“Oh!” said the man. “They only told me about broken legs.”
So it was a few hours later that a real, live, fully-qualified junior doctor at the end of a 14-hour shift (but who knew all about strokes) appeared at the side of the trolley, complete with white coat, stethoscope and a clip board.
“Sorry about the slight delay, Mrs Manoeuvre’ he said. “But you’re in good hands from this moment on.”
There was no reply from the late Mrs Mandrake, who had by now passed beyond the mortal concern of any fellow human.
The doctor got onto his bleeper immediately. “One for the morgue here,” he said, which elicited the query: “Is it a private patient?”
“Oh. ‘Fraid the morgue is closed to all but private patients at this time of night,” said the person at the other end.
”Necessary cuts, see. . ?”