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To think 4 hours isn't that long a wait in A&E

(77 Posts)
lisad123everybodydancenow Wed 20-Feb-13 19:46:41

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

catlady1 Wed 20-Feb-13 20:45:55

To be fair, at least in my hospital, they move fast if they think it's serious. I rang NHS Direct on a Sunday because I was having right-hand-side chest pain and seeing spots and I was worried about pre-eclampsia (I was 29 wees pregnant and very paranoid), and they told me to go to A&E. So I did, and even though I told them repeatedly that it wasn't "heart attack type chest pains" and I was just worried about my blood pressure, I was seen within about ten minutes.

They can be a bit crap if they categorise you as less urgent though. I appreciate that they have to prioritise, but it would be nice sometimes to at least be checked on to avoid situations lie yaimee described above. It wouldn't take long for a nurse to nip round every hour or something and just make sure nobody's really suffering if they expect people to wait that long.

MrsDeVere Wed 20-Feb-13 20:51:15

I am not going to click on the link.

But I think there is a huge difference between being settled in a cubicle with some supportive, first line treatment and waiting for 4 hours
and
being parked on a trolley on in a porters wheelchair, in your nightie, waiting to be assessed.

If you are relatively comfortable and being monitored, four hours is bearable.
If you are cold, in pain, scared and no one is keeping an eye on you it can be hellish.

apostropheuse Wed 20-Feb-13 20:52:56

Life-threatening of very serious emergencies have to be seen first. The staff have to priorotise cases and this unfortunately means people have to wait for a while for less serious cases/minor injuries. It's just a fact of life we have to deal with.

The staff literally have to make life and death decisions. I'm full of admiration for them.

I have waited for hours with children with injuries. I have also been taken to A and E by ambulance, been seen, x-rayed, admitted and had treatment started in a very short space of time.

apostropheuse Wed 20-Feb-13 20:54:18

Sorry posted too soon. In my case I had serious breathing difficulties and needed urgent treatment.

As I say, it's all about priorotising.

apostropheuse Wed 20-Feb-13 20:54:57

prioritising even.

yaimee Wed 20-Feb-13 20:57:01

I don't know how things actually work, this might already happen, but it would seem fairly sensible to assess the vulnerability of a patient (not just urgency) and factor this in to waiting times. I'm obviously not suggesting that an elderly person with a broken toe should be rushed in front of a younger person with a life threatening condition but perhaps if there were 2 broken toes, the more vulnerable of the 2 is seen first.
although perhaps that would increase waiting times. Agghh its a hard one.
I'm certainly not attacking front line staff, on the occasion I described they were clearly working their arses off in a pretty from environment, but it was horrible to witness and I really felt for the lady who provably found the situation quite intimidating, cos I did

Yes, if things are clearly urgent and serious they are great, but, for example, the woman in the OP's link - a UTI and vomiting in a very elderly person - 9 hours waiting around untreated could easily lead to things getting much worse. She was dehydrated on arrival and still it took 4 hours before she was put on a drip. It's not good enough to treat people like this.

midastouch Wed 20-Feb-13 20:58:28

My ds was left waiting for 4 hours when he was 3 months old, he was unwell with a rash that didnt dissapear with the glass test, i was terrified! It turned out to be a virus but it was stilll far too long to be sitting in a waiting room with a small baby

GingerbreadGretel Wed 20-Feb-13 21:01:08

"Don't it always seem to go. That you don't know what you've got til its gone."

Cherish your A&E. We soon won't have one in any of our four nearest hospitals. There will be no A&E at all in any of three boroughs: Brent, Hammersmith & Fulham or Ealing.

Can't even begin to imagine what the wait will be like at the hospital I am now supposed to go to. Come to think of it, I don't actually know what hospital that is or where it is or how to get there. Best not get sick or injured then.

www.fulhamchronicle.co.uk/fulham-and-hammersmith-news/local-fulham-and-hammersmith-news/2013/02/19/health-chiefs-confirm-charing-cross-and-hammersmith-a-e-closures-82029-32840049/

landofsoapandglory Wed 20-Feb-13 21:01:35

She waited for five hours on a trolley in a corridor before she was assessed then four hours to be taken to a ward.

It's not ideal, but if the doctors were assessing patients who had had heart attacks, or were unconscious or dying what were they meant to do?

My Nan had severe dementia when she broke her arm. She waited nigh on four hours before she was seen in A&E. MY parents and sister were taking it in turns to keep her as calm as possible, but there wasn't anything else that could be done. By the time my Nan was seen, xrayed and plastered they had been there 8 hours, but we never went to the Daily Mail!

PetiteRaleuse Wed 20-Feb-13 21:02:04

Agree, it's about priorities. I broke my back once and was on a trolley for hours, but I wasn't dying, bleeding, just in pain. They gave me painkillers and I waited to get an xray and be moved to the right ward. It wasn't pleasant, but I didn't suffer any more for being on a trolley and not being seen.

The next time I was in A&E I was literally at death's door, and the speed they moved was amazing and life saving. I am grateful to those who had to wait a bit longer so my life could be saved.

The DM are anti NHS. there is a journo in media requests on this site touting for bad NHS stories on their behalf. I'm not sure why they hate the NHS so much, but you'll see from the way she asks the question how slanted their reporting is.

AvoidTheTrees Wed 20-Feb-13 21:06:50

The problem is people want to go to A&E, there is a perception that you will see more highly qualified staff, where the reality is that if you have a minor complaint you'll be lucky to see a doctor who's been qualified a year - A&Es need to start turning away patients who don't need to be there and patients need to realise that it is not free.

I work in a pharmacy on a Sunday and there is a never ending stream of A&E scripts for eye drops, paracetamol and anti-biotics - with the best will in the world if you can walk around a pharmacy looking at hair colours and chatting to your mates on the phone, then you could have probably waited until your GP was open on the Monday, or if it was that desperate used the Out of Hours Service.

andubelievedthat Wed 20-Feb-13 21:08:17

seduction ,thats what it is >you ? -ill, you>? turn up at a hosp, tell whoever your symptoms , you? asked to wait for however long , you ? >>>will be spoken to re symptoms ,treated re same symptoms and no doubt there will be follow up via your gp re symptom its bloody wonderful , screams at top of voice " this system is bloody wonderful !" not happy ? go private , or, go live in a.n. other country where all you have 2 do is wait.has anyone noticed ?if something medically goes wrong with you wherever, they have vans they send out to get you, honest (they are called ambulance(S)>>>entitled !!

expatinscotland Wed 20-Feb-13 21:12:12

DD1 spent 4 hours waiting to be seen. Her bone marrow was 60% leukaemia and she had a terrible infection. Once her blood results were back, however, they moved fast!

Don't think 4 hours is too long as all, tbh.

lisad123everybodydancenow Wed 20-Feb-13 21:15:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TheSeniorWrangler Wed 20-Feb-13 21:24:12

i was stuck on a trolley, in the corridor, in A&E while drugged up on morphine that was being adminstered via a canular in my arm and in excruciating pain with kidney stones, waiting for a transfer to another hospital.

I was left there in full view of all the other patients coming and going for 9 fucking hours. I was there so long they had to give me a second dose of morphine while i was STILL on the goddam trolley, infront of people/members of the public walking by me.

Yes i complained!

DeWe Wed 20-Feb-13 21:47:29

The problem is that some people go to A&E very easily. I've seen it on here... "if my dc had a temperature of over 39 then I'd be down at the hospital". Or "I'm waiting until the GP's is shut so I can go to A&E because it's easier to get to". confused

I've had different experiences going at different times for different things. I waited 7-8 hours with 21 month old ds who'd hurt his ankle and couldn't weight bear, so the GP had sent us in. He wasn't in pain, or anything, so waiting was perfectly reasonable. When he was 3 months old and had the meingitis rash (viral-first of many visits with that one!) he was having a bloodtest before I'd taken my coat off and sat down! Generally the more serious it has been, the quicker we've been seen which is as it shoulf be.

willesden Wed 20-Feb-13 21:48:33

Both times I have had to go to A&E I was seen immediately and received fantastic care. The first time was for a miscarriage and the blood loss was life-threatening, and the second time I had a stroke. I think people just don't realise that on the other side of those doors, people are actually dying.

maddening Wed 20-Feb-13 22:07:54

There are knock on effecta of hospitals constantly at capacity - a case can become more serious while waiting and result in requiring more treatment - which ties up beds and resources for longer - it must feel like they are constantly fire fighting in these v busy departments

skyofdiamonds Wed 20-Feb-13 22:30:58

As a medical professional who works in A/E, I just wish you could see everything that goes on behind the scenes.

Sometimes I wish I could tell people why they have been waiting. When somebody gets irate because they have been waiting for their (for example) bruised finger/recurrent cough/frozen shoulder/broken toe to be seen to, I just wish I could tell them the reason they are waiting.

Maybe if they saw the 'trauma team' assemble, ready for the helicopter to land and a child with life threatening brain injuries to come into resus, they would understand why they are waiting.

Maybe if they saw the true dedication, amazing communication, interprofessional working, and flawless trauma evaluation skills that have helped people survive major traumatic injuries, then people would understand. Watching a trauma team work in this situation is something that, luckily, many of you won't ever have to see, but maybe if people did then they would understand having to wait a bit longer.

‘Everyone should walk through an Emergency Room at least once in their lives, because it makes you realise what your priorities are; it’s not the rush, rush, rush and the money, money, money, its the people you love and the fact that one minute they might be there, and one minute they might be gone’ - 24 hours in A&E

4 hour wait from admission through to diagnosis/discharge is not too long, depending on the medical condition presented. Some things takes a long time to investigate, other opinions are often sought after, more tests are needed and other professionals required to decipher the results of said tests. Many things need to be ruled out in order to ensure a safe diagnosis is reached. I am sure you would prefer to wait 4 hours and know you are okay, than to be rushed out and something serious to have been missed.

Staffing levels are horrendous within hospitals at the moment. That is not the fault of the frontline staff. The frontline staff do everything they can, but are expected to be in 100 places at once and doing the job of more than one person. When staff are so short then work gets prioritised. Unfortunately, that means major trauma will always take precedent over minor injuries. The only way this will change is from higher up, funding is needed for more staff.

What is more annoying is time being spent dealing with cases that are neither an emergency or an accident, simply somebody who wants an answer now, instead of going to a GP. More often than not ((for minor injs), you will be seen by a junior doctor in A/E anyway, whereas a GP is an extremely experienced consultant with the ability to make acute referrals; I know which I'd rather see for a non emergency!

SofiaAmes Wed 20-Feb-13 22:41:02

My experience with a&e in london was that it took far too long to get triaged. I understand the that emergencies need to go first, but if it takes 4 - 6 hours for someone to find out if it's the most important emergency, then the system is broken. I have found similar wait times post triage in the emergency room here in the usa, but I have never ever had to wait hours to have someone assess what was wrong with my child. (In my case was usually my ds with 105 fever and all floppy...sometimes accompanied by a rash, once he went blind for 3 days, one time couldn't walk for a week....did this little trick from when he was a newborn....got to the point where I was the one saying "it's not an emergency, just an ear infection")

SofiaAmes Wed 20-Feb-13 22:44:56

By the way, skyofdiamonds, part of the problem (at least in my experience) was the gp's not being available after hours. I was told on many many occasions to go to emergency to get care for my ds when he was little, when I knew it was a fever caused by an ear infection and just needed high doses of ibuprofen (higher than I was comfortable giving without consulting a medical professional) and antibiotics. Unfortunately, there was no option in between waiting until the next morning, or weekday and going to emergency. This was 10+ years ago in West London before the "new" GP contract....so maybe things have improved by now...but somehow I suspect not.

MrsDeVere Wed 20-Feb-13 22:45:58

I think a lot of people know that stuff already sky

But when you are sat with a child or loved one in pain and you are beside yourself with worry, the added guilt of knowing that there are loads of people potentially worse off than you, doesn't actually help much.

You are still sat in a loud, cold, frightening waiting room with someone you love who is desperate to be seen.

I have worked in A&E and I have spent much more time than average in hospitals.
I love the NHS. I have an unhealthy regard for medical staff.

But four hours with no attention is a long time, however you look at it.

Flojobunny Wed 20-Feb-13 22:48:07

YABU

I have always had fabulous treatment at A&E, and I have been there a lot. When in pain, I was quite happy to be stuck in a cubicle with a good dose of pethidin and left to my own devices until a specialist turned up to sort me out. I do think it depends on the severity of your problem as to how quickly you get treated, hence triage.

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