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Message withdrawn at poster's request.

trinity0097 Wed 20-Feb-13 19:48:09

If you read the article it says she was on the trolley not in a ward for 9 hours, with dementia!

CloudsAndTrees Wed 20-Feb-13 19:51:05

I disagree. Four hours wait is far too long, and the fact that other people frequently have to wait that long and even longer in worse conditions doesn't make it ok. No one should have to wait that long when they are in need and already in a hospital.

It's horrible that anyone has to wait more than an hour in A&E, with the amount of tax we pay in this country, we deserve a much much better health service.

lisad123everybodydancenow Wed 20-Feb-13 19:55:31

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Angelfootprints Wed 20-Feb-13 19:55:42

YABU

Poor lady.

magimedi Wed 20-Feb-13 19:57:23

The problem is that if the wait in A&E was a lot shorter you'd have even more tossers going there with a sore throat.

meddie Wed 20-Feb-13 19:59:18

It isnt that long. She might have needed tests doing for her UTI and therefore would have to wait on lab results.
She was monitored. she only has mild dementia as she lives at home and looks after herself so cant be that bad.
There might have been no beds available at the time she attended and they were waiting to free one up.
There could have been emergencies going on in Majors which take priority.
You dont know what is going on behind the scenes.

GregBishopsBottomBitch Wed 20-Feb-13 19:59:45

Spot on Magi, the tossers that go in for every minor thing, its called A and E for a reason, either its an accident or emergency.

But unfortunately there will be more A&E admissions if patients can't see there GP or get a GP home to them.

I know as a HealthCare Professional that each visit a patient makes to A&E costs the GP surgery ££ so they ask patients to use Out of Hours and PolyClinics..

But it is getting more and more difficult to get appointments.
And who really wants to be sitting in A&E? Especially on a weekend?

Bluestocking Wed 20-Feb-13 20:05:12

Love the quote from the patient about the wait taking years off her life. She's ninety - how long does she expect to live?
I have no patience with the DM's anti-NHS schtick - the DM's owners must be involved with the private health care companies who stand to make a fortune out of our accidents and illnesses one the NHS is dismantled.

GregBishopsBottomBitch Wed 20-Feb-13 20:06:12

My DD had an accident at school, in which she had a small gash inbetween her eyebrows, i luckily managed to get her to the GP surgery to have her seen too, as i couldnt bare to make DD wait in the hospital, just to have some butterfly stitches on.

AbbyCat Wed 20-Feb-13 20:09:05

The 4h wait is just another gov target. I remember when it way introduced. Various trusts rushed around redesigning wards / adding portacabin wards so they could ship patients off to these temporary holding bays. This way they were no longer in a&e and targets were met. The patients however were not in a better place as these wards are typically run by junior doctors.

The staff were probably gossiping about their nights out, eating chocolates, unplugging the alarms buttons and hiding away in the Nurses Station if you believe the Daily Fail comments.
Throwing their hands up at the thought of taking a patient to the toilet while the Managers count paperclips, push pencils and walk about with clipboards looking important.
If only we could Bring Back Matron...
hmm hmm hmm

Good job I don't take it to heart, it'd drive us all mad.

maddening Wed 20-Feb-13 20:11:00

The out of hours dr is fab - when ds was little it was much better than going to a&e and you get an appointment - so can stay at home and go in in time rather than in a waiting room - a triage nurse asseses over the phone so if it were an a&e visit she would advise you and probably let them know you're coming. The office is situated by a&e so again if the dr says you need urgent treatment then you are right there.

Both times I've been - once for myself - we were given the course of medication for free right there.

PlentyOfFreeTime Wed 20-Feb-13 20:21:35

I coughed up blood after a lung biopsy and NHS Direct told me to go to A&E and to call an ambulance if necessary.

Friend drove me to A&E and within an hour I'd had chest x-ray, blood tests, blood presure and temperature taken.

I used to moan about A&E but this visit proved to me that if they suspect you have something seriously wrong they don't waste time.

TheFallenNinja Wed 20-Feb-13 20:21:45

I guess it's relative really. Saturday night you'd reasonably expect it but in the week perhaps not so much.

It also depends on whether this was genuinely and emergency or people that try to not use their GP and go straight to the hospital.

lisad123everybodydancenow Wed 20-Feb-13 20:22:18

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TheFallenNinja Wed 20-Feb-13 20:25:39

I wonder where this army of Matron are? Are they lurking around outside Boots wearing hoodies, buying antiseptic spray and clipping naughty kids round the ear?

kinkyfuckery Wed 20-Feb-13 20:28:39

YABU.

I feel sick at the thought of that being my grandparent, or parent a few years from now!

Oh they did better than that at my local A&E, AbbyCat - they introduced a ticket system so when you got there you took a ticket like at the DSS or the supermarket deli and they wouldn't even book you in until they were sure they could see you within the 4 hours. I don't know if it's still in operation as we haven't had to visit for a few years now.

MsNobodyAgain Wed 20-Feb-13 20:30:15

YABU

I dont think it is acceptable. Just because we are used to it doesnt mean we dont need to improve it.

Ooh, another Plenty! <waves> at PlentyOfFreeTime smile

yaimee Wed 20-Feb-13 20:34:52

Poor lady.
On 'mad friday' (Friday before Xmas) I waited 8 hours with a broken elbow, I work in a pub and had fallen at work completely sober, but new that I would be in for the long haul because it's infamously the busiest night for a&e! It was literally standing room only in casualty when I got there, with groups of drunken people sprawled all over the floor! I didn't mind waiting but there was a very elderly lady, on her own, slumped in a wheel chair, covered in her own vomit who was there for just as long as I was. I really didn't think that was good enough, no matter whether her condition was life threatening or not.

I think we undervalue the NHS so much. I went to a&e with chest pains, I was seen straight away and within an hour I was told I probably had gall stones and that I was experiencing Bilious Colic (sp) eventually yes I have been told I have gallstones. Yes I felt like an idiot but as I apologised I was told that I did the right thing. To me the NHS is something we need to fight for and not let 'Call me Dave' dismantle by the back door. I can imagine the AIBU posts 'My dd has a cough and the doctors wanted to charge me £100 before I set through the door? She has the pox I expect better treatment than this'

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

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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.

Sharpkat Wed 20-Feb-13 22:58:26

I had amazing care in a major London a&e on Sunday night and they were so busy. I had a major UTI and had not passed urine for 36 hours (TMI). When they could not get the catheter in they respected my wishes to have a break and calm down (they had made 3 attempts) and my friend was crying as it was obvious I was in agony.

They could not have been kinder and did everything they could to help me and were so understanding that I was in agony.

I would not normally go to a & e for something like that but it happened about 6 weeks ago and so NHS Direct told me to go urgently this time.

I have had some shocking experiences in the past but there was one particular nurse there who made the NHS so much better than the private care I have had elsewhere.

Spoonful Wed 20-Feb-13 23:06:58

I have never had a bad experience with A and E.
They do reassess you in the waiting room if you deteriorate and they do take into account your general 'vulnerability' in my experience.

expatinscotland Wed 20-Feb-13 23:07:00

'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.'

This. When DD1 was sent to A&E (at a major children's hospital), a junior did come out and see her in the waiting room and explained that there was discussion as to how best to treat her. I know now that her GP rang ahead with concerns DD1 had a serious blood disorder (boy, did she ever! The granddaddy of blood disorders alright) and haemo were involved already. So we did wait a while, then waited more for blood testing and canula insertion. Then some more for the junior to come back, with a consultant in tow.

Basically, we got there around 1PM and it was around 7.30-8 when we were assigned to a bay in a ward, where we stayed until the consultant haemotologist came up to tell me she had leukaemia.

Believe me, when you're that life-threateningly ill, things move fast!

I'd rather wait, tbh, than be that person who needs to be treated pronto.

I'm in two minds.

I do see that someone with dementia, or anyone whose pre-existing condition is likely to make things much worse for them, should be seen quickly if possible.

But I wouldn't want to see someone whose condition wasn't so much of a medical risk take priority.

Ideally there would be someone to come and calm you down. There were volunteers in one of the hospitals my gran was in who'd come and take someone with memory issues for a cup of tea, and sit with them. They were not trained as far as I know, but were a godsend. But of course once you rely on people like that, you have to train and pay them, so it might not be economical.

I don't know. sad

yaimee Wed 20-Feb-13 23:17:08

ldr the idea of volunteers is a good one, I didn't know that happened, I think that a person there to reassure you if you are alone and vulnerable would go a long way towards making a horrible situation barable.

Sirzy Wed 20-Feb-13 23:19:58

I'd rather wait, tbh, than be that person who needs to be treated pronto.

This, thankfully we have never had anything anywhere near as bad as what you went though expat but in all the times DS has had to go to A and E we have never waited more than 30 minutes to see a doctor because each time he has been in with breathing difficulties.

The first time he went to A and E he was 8 weeks old and we were taking through immediatly because he was so poorly.

It really pisses me off when people complain that others have gone in before them when that is becaus that person has a much greater medical need.

I was wondering myself, as I typed it, how common it was. Of course it was the last thing I wanted to ask them at the time as I was constantly wanting to drop her off at the door and go to park my car, as she couldn't walk far and was very distracted.

I do think volunteers in hospitals can be absolutely amazing, though. Just having someone to come along and tell you it's fine, you're in hospital - that could go a very long way.

lisad123everybodydancenow Wed 20-Feb-13 23:24:37

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Ah, I'm sorry. blush

Excuse me.

yaimee Wed 20-Feb-13 23:29:19

Glad to hear she wasn't by herself.
I posted further up the thread about a lady who I'd seen in a&e and I was quite upset about the situation she was in (8hr wait, on her own, in a wheel chair, covered in sick). I was more thinking of her when asking about the volunteers.

Redbindy Wed 20-Feb-13 23:38:08

Nothing was said about other patients. If this woman showed up to an empty A&E and was ignored, that is indeed terrible. If there was a load of other patients who were in more need of treatment, then this is another non story.

sashh Thu 21-Feb-13 00:52:55

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

Not always. I get iritis. When it happens I have to go to A and E. The pressure has to be checked and my GP does not have the equipment. The blast of air at the optician's isn't accurate enough either.

Fortunately for me, when they closed the eye hospital, they moved the eye a and e but kept it separate so I don't have to wait as long and I don't take up the time of a Dr / nurse dealing with major traumas.

AvoidTheTrees Thu 21-Feb-13 07:28:49

Sashh - I am not saying that all are undeserving, but in my opinion, the opinion of the A&E staff I know and if you read the PCT / CCG board papers then a high percentage of them could have waited for a GP appointment, gone to an out of hours GP or bought some ibuprofen.

It depends doesn't it - the 4 hour target does mean that someone will be seen because they're at 3 hours 55 minutes while someone with greater (but not life threatening) clinical need waits. Or, as someone mentioned they'll get shipped off to the pretend ward next door, which isn't really a ward, but isn't A&E so decreases the number of 'breaches' (of 4 hours). As you are assessed more on meeting 4 hours than your clinical care (so managers care more about 4 hours than clinical care even if medical staff don't).

Extra staff needed far more than targets IMO.

Having said that whenever I have taken ds1 (severely autistic) to A&E we have never waited at all. Last time I went they called him through before I'd even given his name (it was a return visit a few days after the initial one) and they said 'we saw you on the camera'. He jumped the x ray queue as well.

MercedesKing Thu 21-Feb-13 07:44:08

Ditto.
YABU.

DomesticCEO Thu 21-Feb-13 07:49:44

Saintly I agree. My brother is a senior staff nurse in an exceptionally busy A&E and the cases he has to deal with sometimes are unbelievable. But then often on MN posters are advised to rush to A&E for the most minor of complaints.

He also gets sick of the amount of time spent looking after drunks wasting his time and getting abusive.

If so many people didn't abuse the system then those in real need wouldn't wait so long.

varicoseveined Thu 21-Feb-13 08:31:59

My elderly mum had a fall and was seen by the triage nurse for her sore wrist. She took one look and said to go straight to A&E. Within an hour she was seen, x-rayed and had a plaster cast put on. Thank God for the NHS I say.

lisad123everybodydancenow Thu 21-Feb-13 08:55:17

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HellesBelles396 Thu 21-Feb-13 09:07:40

when my dad had a stroke, he was seen straight away; when he had hypothermia after passing out on a walk (alone, in the evening at the beach and was there all night), he was seen straight away; when I was having acute chest pains while the whole family was being tested for a blood-clotting disorder, I was seen straight away; when my son was screaming because of abdominal pain, he was seen straight away; when my mum couldn't breath, she was seen straight away.

if you're not seen quickly then, chances are, you're in the wrong place.

the choose well campaign needs ramping up imo. if you're injured - go to miu (you're seen faster and the triage nurse at a&e will send you there anyway).
if in doubt call oohgp or nhs direct - they'll tell you where best to go. thankfully, it's rare to be so ill that minutes make a difference so it's better to work up the nhs chain than down.

rant over.

perplexedpirate Thu 21-Feb-13 09:12:58

Neither my brother, my mother or myself would be alive today if it weren't for the NHS.
Free at the point of use medical care is the best thing we have in Britain IMO. If I have to wait 4 hours to use it, so be it.
YANBU.

slhilly Thu 21-Feb-13 09:52:37

Some really thoughtful comments here, vv interesting. For what it's worth, in my view moralising or complaining about people turning up at A&E for non-urgent issues is a waste of effort. Social marketing might be able to shift some behaviour (particularly if it looks to the dreaded supermarkets who are really quite good at shifting the public's behaviour patterns); berating people certainly won't, especially as they may have very valid reasons for going to A&E, such as finding it difficult to get an appointment with their GP.

But as important as social marketing may be, we also have to design systems to deal with how patients use the service. And lots of people have urgent need for help with minor issues (somewhere between a half and three quarters of all people turning up at A&E), and it should be feasible to treat them in dedicated facilities at a high rate of knots in such a way as to avoid tying up lots of very experienced A&E consultants and very expensive kit. That's the logic behind the notion of an urgent care centre.

In London in particular, we need more urgent care centres and fewer, but bigger and better, A&Es. The urgent care centres should be able to have people in and out the door in an hour. The A&Es can then focus on the serious injuries and illness, and can be seeing enough patients to staff properly (eg 24/7 consultant cover). This is precisely what is behind the plans for North West London that were signed off this week, which a poster referred to (there are also big plans to improve primary and community care). The longer travel times are a worthwhile price to pay for being able to provide a better service at A&E.

Chattymummyhere Thu 21-Feb-13 10:28:33

In do hate the long waiting times however one time when my youngest was just toddling somehow managed to get past daddy and the first I knew she was at the bottom of the stairs we where straight though although she was happy and fine in her self. We drove to the hospital, checked in got seen by the nurse who then took us straight to a cubicle and then took us into resus as they have better equipment. Little one was happy and fine but because it was a possible top to bottom fall they acted so fast we was in and out within the free 30min parking time!

I think once you have seen the resus room you realise just what goes on back there, when we went in you could see 4 curtains closed filled with doctors and nurses our doctor while checking got buzzed for an incoming and you realise just how scary it must be for those people's family members waiting out in reception knowing their family member is in resus. I nearly popped my pants when they said that is where we was going even though our little one looked fine and happy!

Vagndidit Thu 21-Feb-13 11:35:13

Saying that a 4 hour wait is ok in any scenario is exactly why problems will persist within the NHS. We deserve better than this.

Why continue to defend a system that obviously needs a massive overhaul? Embrace the change.

SueDoku Thu 21-Feb-13 11:44:18

Vagndidit - hope that you've started saving now to embrace that change? You'll need a lot of money if the NHS goes...

mollymole Thu 21-Feb-13 11:55:39

IME when you are really very ill you are seen very quickly - if it is more minor,
simple broken bones etc then it will take longer. If you are ill/damaged but it is not life threatening you should not take priority over those that are. Just be grateful that you are able to wait !

There should be more 24 medical centres (not A & E) - this would free up A & E for real emergencies. Where I live it is dire trying to get a doctors appointment, I have seen the doctor at my local surgery who tells me that I need to come back in 7 days time - he gives me a slip to take to reception saying this and the reception tell me I can't be seen for another 2 or 3 weeks,
they say that the doctor 'does not know what the appointment situation is'.
I have also been discharged from hospital care with a note to take to my doctor saying that I need an appointment within 48 hours - take note to GP
receptionist, she says that thetre are no appointments for another 10 days, show her again hospital consultant wants me checked again in 48 hours - her answer 'well go back to the hospital then'.

We need more GPs in local practices that do not open only 9-5 Monday to Friday but 24 hour cover.

kimorama Thu 21-Feb-13 12:13:43

4 hours would seem a long time. If you were told it was 10 minute max in some other countries. Like say germany

mistlethrush Thu 21-Feb-13 12:24:50

Just occasionally a little bit more common sense is required. I turned up at A&E with anaphalaxis. I was still talking, walking etc - DH went to park the car and join me asap afterwards. The receptionist could see that I wasn't kidding - and asked the triage nurse if they could look at me sooner rather than later - they didn't glance at me, asked the receptionist if I could breath OK (yes) and said to wait then. Receptionist has another go at seeing if I could be seen earlier (when she saw me with my trainers off, scratching my feet until they bled because I couldn't do anything else) and that was ignored. I ended up bypassing him altogether when my lip started to swell up and I had to be admitted - if he had managed to see me earlier he might have managed to give me something that would have stopped the worsening symptoms.

When I went with DS I got seen within 20mins which was really good.

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