Swine Flu - total nightmare getting medical treatment

(89 Posts)
mumindisguise Tue 14-Jul-09 18:30:25

Am a regular, Greggs sausage rolls are from Satan, don't steal grapes in supermarkets and shoot anyone childless using a parents' parking space.

here is our story

I would be interested to know if any other Mumsnetters have had similar experiences - if you have, perhaps you could post them on the Times website too?

mumindisguise Tue 14-Jul-09 18:58:17

bump?

ScoopDeMerde Tue 14-Jul-09 19:03:35

Luckily not had swine flu yet, although one DS is beginning to feel unwell today. BUT what happened to you is terrible. I can certianly understand how frightening it must have been. Hope you are all on the mend now.

EldonAve Tue 14-Jul-09 19:05:26

So it would be best to get tamiflu for the whole family once one of you gets sick?

mumindisguise Tue 14-Jul-09 19:08:49

I don't think you can get tamiflu automatically, Eldon, it's down to the GP's discretion. From what I know.

Fortunately have not experienced it yet but I think its good that you contacted them. Unless the government or can see that their plans are not working on a practical level then its going to get very challenging for people.

mumindisguise Tue 14-Jul-09 19:17:22

Yes absolutely, people need to speak up about the problems at the coalface otherwise nothing will get done.

The scary thing is that our town has not yet been badly hit. What happens if/when it DOES get to epidemic levels?

totalmisfit Tue 14-Jul-09 19:27:59

this is what i've been worrying about. I'm hoping to god your story will be the exception and not the rule as things worsen. How frightening for you.

junglist1 Tue 14-Jul-09 21:03:22

My God. The Health Service is going to kill a lot of people with their typical disgraceful no common sense attitude. This is very very frightening, and will cause a lot of fear and panic.I don't trust any of them, this country is just total total shit.

mumindisguise Tue 14-Jul-09 22:04:46

sad junglist.

I am genuinely worried about the people who do just do what they are told.

junglist1 Tue 14-Jul-09 22:15:08

My friends brother has been hospitalised tonight because he was ignored all day long, just left in agony barely moving. They said somebody would be out but no, didn't happen. I hope he's OK

BOFwithagallicshrug Tue 14-Jul-09 22:16:32

Are you cold?

junglist1 Tue 14-Jul-09 22:18:48

Are you local?

junglist1 Tue 14-Jul-09 22:19:39

Ha ha, yes I lurked!!! Am I being a hysterical shrieker grin

BOFwithagallicshrug Tue 14-Jul-09 22:35:19

Hehehehe

LupusinaLlamasuit Tue 14-Jul-09 22:52:07

Pretty horrific. I have been watching the SF stuff carefully as have a son with not yet fully diagnosed asthma and very prone to get everything. This last year we have been in hospital a number of times with various things with no resolution.

We have SF in the nursery he goes to, notified as of today.

Here's what I plan. Am going to see asthma nurse this week for review. At that meeting I will ask for the protocol for getting and giving Tamiflu and other treatment.

I have been on the DoH website and printed off the treatment protocols issued to health care workers. These say VERY clearly that treatment should be given to symptomatic patients. I will be waving it at them and pointing out national guidelines the minute anyone in my family develops symptoms.

And based on previous experience of developing a nasty viral illness in the whole family, just as the SF business broke in the UK, my first phone call will NOT be to NHS direct or the flu line, actually, but to the regional out of hours service who advised me they have MUCH more ability to get services to local patients and direct them to available resources, as well as inside info about local rates of infection etc...

I don't know whether this is a good strategy or not but with such pressure on resources, I think we have to be wily and fight for what we might need.

Cataline Tue 14-Jul-09 23:04:01

I wouldn't advise anyone to call NHS direct if they can't call their GP.

An immediate recorded message tells you that they are so busy they can only deal with you if you are seriously unwell. If you are brave(?) enough to hold the line, you get to chat to someone who (after checking that the person you are calling about is not in imminent danger of dying) informs you that there is a wait list for a nurse call back.

In my case I had called about my 2 year old asthmatic DS who was symtomatic but not really unwell. I received a call back at 3am (12 hours after initial call) telling me to ring the out of hours service -it was saturday.

So, I rang the OOHS, tamiflu was prescribed for DS .... long story really resulting in DH and I now also having SF and being on Tamiflu.

So, after all that rambling (foggy flu brain -sorry!), i'm basically saying not to bother with NHS direct but to call your GP or out of hours service.

MY 22 month old was very poorly 2 weeks ago. I believe he had SF. I phoned NHSdirect when he started with the temp and cough, and was told that he had a viral infection and to take him to the GP. I went to the dropin clinic TWICE!!! (sat far far away from anyone) and still they insisted that he had a viral infection, 3 days later DH and myself went down with it... DH was very ill, I was ok, dosed up on meds, then DD1 got it (she has cerebral palsy so got the tamiflu straight away) But if Ds2 was correctly dignosed and given the tamiflu he wouldn't have been so poorly, and maybe the rest of us would have been able to the tamiflu easily.

My son was born prematurely and should have had the tamiflu anyway

expatinscotland Wed 15-Jul-09 00:00:37

We had a similar experience with what later was confirmed by the lab as swine flu last month.

DD1 fell ill first, on a Saturday. She was not tested until 10 days later, and still tested positive.

As did the rest of us.

Out-of-hours GP said she had a UTI hmm.

hmc Wed 15-Jul-09 00:16:06

Dreadful story - I hope everyone is getting better now.

If we get swine flu and my children's health really starts scaring me - sod NHS Direct (have never rated them) / GP / Walking centre - I shall go to A&E (leaving children in car initially as your friend did to enable them to make provision for quarantined treatment).

If they are unhelpful I will take my children into the department since they will have left me no choice - once over the threshold they have a duty of care to treat....

FairyMum Wed 15-Jul-09 07:18:18

Frightening sotry. I wish I could leave all the swine-flu threads on MN alone soon as only makes me worry. Should my children get seriously ill, I would do take same approach as HMC. Have tried NHS direct before and might as well use google.

mumindisguise Wed 15-Jul-09 07:37:18

These are all good strategies, but I should point out that ATM a lot of local Out of Hours provision telephone numbers are referring swine flu stuff straight to NHS Direct. So it is a judgemental call whether you want to mention it or not, if you contact them.

I can't BELIEVE I am encouraging people to lie to the NHS if they need urgent treatment...

mumindisguise Wed 15-Jul-09 07:38:23

On reflection, perhaps it's not about lying, just being judicious about what you choose to say in requesting out of hours care. Although TBH I think the home visit GPs are so overstretched you are likely to wait for a long time anyway...

Also have 22 month old who had been off colour with diarhea and generally not herself for a week then at the weekend was burning up temp over 40 not sleeping eating or drinking. Calpol not working. Took her to A and E on Sunday where out of hours GP saw her (after nurse had given ibrubrofen which kicked in) very very very unhelpful doc said how could I have brought her in for a temperature of 1 day? he said to wait another 3 days until going to GP. Under 2 years old with a temp of 40 for 5 days??? ffs. anyway worse that night so tried to call NHS direct. WASTE OF TIME on hold for ages and had to give up as she needed me. Same story with OOH surgery number. Paramedic friend said sounded like could be s flu. Called GP in the morning who listened to symptoms over phone then asked us to come in and thinks it's an upper respiratory tract virus as it is slowly getting better..

mumindisguise Wed 15-Jul-09 07:52:20

girls, can you put that story up on the Times website in the comments? I think it would be good if as many stories as possible about not being able to access care can be put together in one place, so that it's clear that the system isn't working well at the moment for those with sick children.

ElenorRigby Wed 15-Jul-09 07:57:57

DD 23 months went down with a temp of 39 on monday. I phoned my GP who was busy but they said they would phone back ASAP which they did. They did a phone consultation and prescribed Tamiflu. They advised a "Flu Friend" should come to the surgery to collect the prescription. My brother picked it up and went to a centralised distribution place in the city centre to collect the Tamiflu.
So from nusery phoning up saying DD was ill, to getting the Tamiflu took around 3 hours.
I suppose the service might be patchy with larger cities being more geared up.
We here in Manchester had really good service thankfully.

mumindisguise Wed 15-Jul-09 08:15:04

That's really good Elener, it sounds like it was really well organised. We didn't have any difficulty getting the Tamiflu either: it was urgent medical access that was a problem for us.
I think it may be worse if you are diagnosed at hospital, as my friend was, the GP surgeries seem pretty well set up to deal with it round here too?

totalmisfit Wed 15-Jul-09 08:27:03

oh come on, there's no shame in a white lie if it saves someone's life. if it comes down to survival, what choice do we have? i'd do it in a heartbeat if dd got swine flu, esp as her asthma could kill her, i think most parents would.

ElenorRigby Wed 15-Jul-09 08:34:02

Sorry mumindisguise I wasnt logged in when I read the thread and read girlsayearapart post as the OP and not yours.
My God you had a horrific experience! shock
I guess we were lucky as DD doesnt have asthma and became ill during the week.
You were right to break the rules, I would do the same if my family were in danger!

What I'm a bit unsure about is how they really know whether or not it is swine flu? DD had all symptoms on list except cough but the doc still thought it wasn't. He said people are being prescribed on symptoms alone not being swabbed anymore. Lots of people on tv news seem to be saying that they had it and got over it fine. Perhaps- going on what my Gp said about DD not having it as she's getting better- that not as many people have really got as we think?
Obviously I was worried about DD1 but more concerned that DD2 will catch it as she is only 10 mo has bad excema, hayfever and allergies so asthma may be next which is bad w s flu.. Also I have MS so immune system not fab!

frasersmummy Wed 15-Jul-09 08:47:31

Mumindisguise .. I am shocked by your story.

I notice the number of times you talk about breaking the rules andI have to say you did not break any rules and I would be sooo annoyed at anyone who suggested you did

Your child couldnt breathe.. you dialled 999... thats exactly what you should do.

I think frontline nhs need to realise that saying stay at home is only sensible up to a point. Its obviously harder to make diagnosis ove the phone but they really need to remember a mother knows her own child better than anyone and know when he is ill

yes definitely not breaking rules. 999 is there for situations such as this. By the way I also recently had to take dd2 to a and e (allergic reaction) and had less than desirable treatment at same a&e so i complained via e mail and got an apology from head of emergency medicine.

People have lost their sensibilities.
Health professionals need to be assessing patients, and making decisions on whether they are 'unwell' or not
Meningitis, pheumonia, acute asthma, UTI etc are still going to be happening and they still need to be treated.
We are in the danger of throwing the baby out with the bath water.ie , not allowing patients to access a health professional for fear of spreading the swine flu further.

TAFKAtheUrbanDryad Wed 15-Jul-09 09:10:46

See i feel like I'm dying and have all SF symptoms as does ds (2.6) - I phoned my GP surgery yesterday and they said it sounded like a tummy bug. I was fully prepared to believe them and assumed they knew what they were talking about, but reading these stories makes me more inclined to ring back today and speak to my own GP.

I am most concerned about the dc as ds was horrendously ill last year with bronchiolitis and asthma was mentioned as a possibility, although not formally diagnosed, and dd is not quite 5 months yet.

With all the meeja panic I just don't know whether to panic and flee for the hills (metaphorically speaking) or whether to just ride it out and see how we are.

NHSDirect Wed 15-Jul-09 09:42:03

Hello everyone,

There are some interesting comments here and we'd like the opportunity to respond to any questions you have about the service we provide in general, and our response to the swine flu health alert in particular. We'll try to check this forum as often as possible but you can reach us on Twitter: www.twitter.com/nhsdirect and via our website: http://www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk/Contact.aspx

We look forward to hearing from you.

NHS Direct.

Spidermama Wed 15-Jul-09 09:49:37

My God mumindisguise that's horrifying. Really awful. It sounds like the NHS is totally overwhelmed!

Well done you for writing to the Times and putting your story so eloquently. It's great to turn your trauma into something which may yeild positive results.

I'm asthmatic and have had pneumonia and plurisy (sp?) and my DS is type one diabetic. There's swine flu at his school, and I'm on my own here with four children so am begining to get very nervous.

lockets Wed 15-Jul-09 09:57:28

My ds was hospitalised last month , he had temp that spiked at 41 repeatedly, cough.runny nose, had tummy upset and was obviously aching.
They wouldn't test him for swine flu but instead put it down to bacterial infection. I am pretty convinced he had swine flu now after reading about the symptoms. He was in hospital for 5 days in all.

mumindisguise Wed 15-Jul-09 10:01:04

Thank you for responding NHS direct.

Concerns I have in particular about the policies in place at the moment

1) If a doctor has given a provisional diagnosis of swine flu then the patient will not be permitted to access GP surgeries or walk-in centres, so surely the call centre staff at NHS Direct need to be told to take these diagnoses on trust rather than overturning the opinion of qualified doctors?

2) Asking parents to rely on call centre telephone contact for their sick children makes it very difficult for those in low socio-economic groups who often do not have a landline and have to spend a lot of money using mobile phones trying to get through - people genuinely run out of money after spending 30 pounds or so. What is your advice that they do then?

3) It needs to be made very clear to all parents that if their child is seriously ill then they should ring 999: I was discouraged from doing so in the event of croup. This was clearly a case of putting protocol above safety, in my opinion at least.
Is there an alternative system in place to which parents who are seriously worried about their sickening child and need immediate help should turn?
Because it seems to me that "official guidance" is meaning that GPs are having to advise things that both they and the patient/parent know are potentially unsafe.

Spidermama Wed 15-Jul-09 10:02:48

Hello NHS Direct. I'm following you on Twitter but am concerned your last update was three hours ago!

MrJustAbout Wed 15-Jul-09 10:10:32

Don't worry spider - if it's urgent, they'll get to it in another 9 :-)

dilemma456 Wed 15-Jul-09 10:24:13

Message withdrawn

policywonk Wed 15-Jul-09 10:27:35

Hello NHS Direct - thanks for coming on the thread to talk to us smile I should say that I have always had very positive experiences with NHS Direct and my local walk-in centre, but obviously we are in exceptional circumstances now.

It does sound, from a lot of these stories, as though certain parts of the system are nearly collapsing under the pressure. Are there any plans in place to recruit extra NHS Direct staff during the epidemic?

What do you say to the several people (on this thread and on the original AlphaMummy blog) who have commented that it's best to go straight to the Out of Hours service?

As you can see from this thread, people are resorting to lying to NHS staff and taking infectious children into A+E in desperation. Do you accept that there is a problem here?

policywonk Wed 15-Jul-09 10:30:21

Call me thick but I hadn't realised that the NHS Direct number wasn't free shock

It's shameful that people are running up huge bills while being kept on hold. As mumindisguise says, what on earth are people on low incomes supposed to do? I'd rather take an infectious child into A+E than spend £30 on hold, and I bet I'm far from the only one.

mumindisguise Wed 15-Jul-09 10:35:17

There's also the Swine Flu hotline which I don't think is free either.

dilemma456 Wed 15-Jul-09 10:37:34

Message withdrawn

Ripeberry Wed 15-Jul-09 10:46:16

I'm seriously dreading the coming Autumn and Winter, its going to be chaos sad

poface Wed 15-Jul-09 10:51:57

I'm asthmatic and have 2 children under 5. Terrified. Are there not enough Tamiflu stocks? They must be frightened of them running out. I'm appalled at the lack of compassion displayed by HCPs towards sick children as revealed here.

idranktheteaatwork Wed 15-Jul-09 10:59:07

I used NHS direct a couple of yrs ago and they were fantastic. DD was presenting with a v high temperature, not particularly responsive etc etc.
They told me to go to the local a and e, when i got there there was a doctor and a nurse waiting at the entrance for us, DD was whisked off and sorted out.

At the moment though, as policywonk has pointed out, the system is simply not coping. We have swine flu at both our dd's schools and in the general population in our local community. There are quite a few parents who have had extreme difficulty over the last week or so in getting any sort of response from NHS direct, the policy for handing out Tamiflu seems to be highly unclear and there seems to be no clear escalation procedure for those who need urgent medical help.
Add to that the usual numbers of other serious illness that are still occurring and it is a worrying situation.

I would like to know how the NHS is going to respond to this to give an efficient swervice to those in need.

MrJustAbout Wed 15-Jul-09 11:03:30

poface - there are more tamiflu stocks than the UK will use. There are contracts in place to give it to something like 75% of the population - and given that healthy adults probably won't be given it at any stage, this is more than enough.

I understand that some of the factories producing tamiflu are in the UK, and so there is little chance that the NHS won't get the drugs when it asks for them!

dilemma456 Wed 15-Jul-09 11:03:50

Message withdrawn

MrJustAbout Wed 15-Jul-09 11:06:20

From my perspective, a real problem is that the NHS has had a lot of time to be proactive about this. They've used the time setting up a lot of structures, but I am really not sure that they have sensibly tested any of them. Or if they have, they haven't transmitted the results of this testing. This all comes out in systems that are unworkable and possibly counterproductive.

I was in A&E on the weekend, and heard health professionals complaining that their systems (planned since the outbreak but only really in use now). In two hours I saw/heard:

* health professionals in different types of masks, with some nurses - after exposure - told that they wearing the wrong ones.

* no medication in the areas where the suspected swine flu cases were kept, so that nurses covered in bugs had to keep masking and unmasking, and heading from "dirty" to "clean" areas and back.

* inconsistent messages as to whether tamiflu was available and to whom it could be given.

These are professionals, who do know what they're doing. The NHS staff are constrained in what they can and can’t do though and I’m not sure that 1) these constraints are being road tested and 2) there are effective ways to communicate back up to decision makers when the rules are unworkable. Ultimately, restrictions are needed to prevent all the A&E staff falling ill at once and leaving no-one to help patients. This is sensible, as is the decision not to dispense tamiflu to outpatients at A&E.

The irony is that SF is a mild flu within the UK, and shouldn't really cause the panic it does. The elderly seem to be more or less immune (the epidemiology figures suggest very few get it), and most healthy people - pregnant women and children aside - will just feel foul. If SF mutates into something really nasty then it might be worth sticking up strong NHS access barriers but at the moment, it seems to be counterproductive. In autumn and winter even a mild flu could cause problems if enough people fall ill at once. If whole surgeries or A&Es go down, or enough people start panic shopping, then we’ll start feeling the pinch.

Finally, for anybody unsure about what it does, tamiflu does not stop transmission. In some people, it reduces the length of symptoms for a flu you contract, and so might make it easier to shake the condition. Because it reduces the length of symptoms, it is only really useful if you take it early on - if you take it late, then your symptoms are likely to come right by themselves before tamiflu has a chance to work. With a respiratory flu, reducing the length of the flu may cut down secondary infections and other complications resulting from influenza. (It might reduce transmission, but only in the small number of people who would be exposed to late symptoms.)

The things everyone should know:
* tamiflu works for some people to reduce the time with symptoms

* swine flu (I think) takes a couple of days to infect you before you show any symptoms. If you get any flu, you're likely to be infectious for 7 days from first symptoms. Self-quarantine (within reason) is recommended now, and is sensible. If you get any flu, you're likely to have been infectious for 24 hours beforehand.

* now, arrange two or three "flu buddyies" who could pick up medication (or shopping) for you. Remember that if you only have one person to ask, and they're a close friend, there's a decent chance you will both have it at the same time.

* the NHS needs to make sure that it is giving medications to the right people. Have ID (passports, birth certificates, etc) accessible to give to anyone picking up medication.

* in case of any emergency (including man-made ones like panic shopping and shortages), make sure that you have seven days of basic food (baked beans etc) stored somewhere in your house. If you’re stuck with flu, you probably won’t eat much but your kids still need to be fed!

* the NHS is staffed by people as pissed off about this as you.

MrJustAbout Wed 15-Jul-09 11:09:02

Oops, to clarify - I'm not saying that healthy pregnant women and children are likely to have anything go seriously wrong. They are at higher risk, but the risk is still very small that anything will actually go badly.

morningpaper Wed 15-Jul-09 11:13:50

I practically like your last point, MrJustAbout

I think that was mistakenly omitted from the government leaflets

BexieID Wed 15-Jul-09 11:21:31

I work in a supermarket and am 16 weeks pregnant, so i'm dreading catching SF. I'm probably more likely to catch it from customers coughing and spluttering over me than Tom picking it up from nursery when he starts next month!

ChasingButterflies Wed 15-Jul-09 11:36:38

I am 6mo pg and have swine flu.
My experience of NHS direct and my GPs has been so different from some of the stories here, and I feel so sorry for those of you who've had such a terrible time accessing help for your dc.
I did the swine flu symptom checker on the NHS direct website last week; it said I needed a call back from an adviser, which came within half an hour. Adviser was very clear and non-alarmist; I didn't have a temperature at that time, but was told to ring my GP if I did.
Started feeling worse, so rang my GP surgery; doctor called back very quickly and diagnosed swine flu. Have since had a follow-up call from a different doctor at the surgery checking all ok and advising some extra rest given the pg.
Am really impressed with how I've been treated, but perhaps we're particularly well prepared here? Central London, so lots of cases.

poface Wed 15-Jul-09 11:37:39

OK, can anyone advise me? I am asthmatic, last bug I had I needed to go on a nebulizer,also have a one year old who gets things badly, and ds has his induction day at school today [starts in sept] Just found out there are 2 cases of SF at said school. Should we go today? I am just delaying the inevitable if not?

poface Wed 15-Jul-09 11:38:07

maybe i should start a new thread...

SlytherinStretch Wed 15-Jul-09 12:20:10

What government leaflets Morningpaper!??

I have heard people on here talk about them, but we have never received any form of leaflet/note/notice about what to do in our area with regards to SF! Nothing!

MrJustAbout Wed 15-Jul-09 12:31:09

Slytherin -

If you did, I doubt that it would include the reasonably simple statement that "don't worry, unless you're extremely unlucky it will all be okay". This was the statement that I think morningpaper was referring to.

The distinction that needs to be made clearly - and rarely is - is between absolute and relative risk. Having an underlying health condition, being pregnant, or young might increase the risks from swine flu by quite a large amount RELATIVE to a baseline risk (i.e. adult, non-elderly, healthy, non-pregnant). However, even if this increased your risk tenfold, 10 times a very small number is still a very small number. RELATIVE risk is high, ABSOLUTE risk is still small.

The only people this really doesn't hold for are those with a lot of underlying health issues, and for them it's not swine flu that they should be worried about - it's just getting ill generally.

Swine flu is, as yet, a mild flu. Really not fun, but not too much of a concern as long as you can still access NHS services.

SlytherinStretch Wed 15-Jul-09 12:44:13

smile Thanks!!

I am pregnant, but have no other underlying health problems. AFAIK, high temperature in pregnancy is not good, whatever the cause?

MrJustAbout Wed 15-Jul-09 12:53:07

Not the right sort of doctor to answer that properly, I'm afraid.

However, a quick search suggest that it depends on how far along - the later it is, the more unlikely it is that problems are likely to occur.

mumindisguise Thu 16-Jul-09 06:39:26

Just a quick update to say that this thread was apparently discussed on Radio 4 last night.

Am slightly amused that NHS Direct have asked us to wait till they get back to us, then disappeared off the face of the earth!

Any idea which programme, i will try to listen on iplayer
Yes, mum in disguise, a bit like NHS direct

mumindisguise Thu 16-Jul-09 08:24:15

Quite, DR!

I don't know which programme: a friend told me at about 7.30 pm so it must have been before then, maybe on PM? I don't know.

PM or possibly The World Tonight??

mumindisguise Thu 16-Jul-09 08:25:50

Could be. I can't get Iplayer on my computer to check.

PM then, will settle in for a listen
good for you for bringing this story to prominence
I've had a concern for a while that children with fevers with other things wrong with them apart from Swine Flu, could well access medical attention later than preferable with often dire consequences

Ironically NHS direct has registered on here and posted in the early hours - in general health. Hang on a sec....

So they did get back to the thread (in a round about way after most had gone to bed)

And I thought they found most of their answers through Google too - you'd think they'd have been able to find this thread wink

I'm waiting for the 'ooh feck we're running out of Tamiflu at most centres announcement later on today' btw. hmm

Right soooo the policy seems to be post on mumsnet, contact the media and then you'll get a callback from NHS direct? hmm

No system is perfect but FFS NHS Direct you maybe want to contact your press office before doing things like this - unless you actually do have the time to respond to each and every question?

A friend has just had a good experience from her gp. Phoned this morning, gp phoned back 15 minutes later and has given friend a prescription for tamiflu to be used at friends discretion.

Where as the school angry have not informed parents that we have at least one confirmed and several probables. It was only by friend directly asking. Apparently the Local Education authority have told schools to keep quiet and only inform those at risk. My dd has asthma, they have not informed us.

And I'm sat here with a rising temp, headache, joint aches, feeling sick and a sore throat. I don't feel terrible but it started about half an hour ago. This morning while I was at school I was a bit achy and tired. Trying to tell myself its an overactive imagination but I've been in school helping all week and been in contact with a very poorly little boy yesterday at the school.

I'll phone the school in a bit and have a 'chat' with them about parental rights and let them know that I may have shared it with more kids (lets hope it is psychosomatic on my behalf)

moosemama Thu 16-Jul-09 14:37:49

Picked ds1 (7) up from school on Tuesday only to be told by his teacher that he had has an 'accident' as he had two episodes of diarrhea that afternoon and was feeling really poorly! Couldn't believe they didn't send him home, especially as they know I am a SAHM and we only live across the road from the school. One of his friends sisters had a really nasty 'flu' virus a the beginning of last week, full on major fever, rigours, sweats, delirious, joint aches etc etc. She was off for a week and he then went down with it less severely and was only off for 3 days.

Ds1 continued to have a bad stomach that afternoon was wobbly and completely wiped out wiht a runny nose and headache but no temperature (he also had a cough, but he has had one all summer that is hayfever related so wasn't sure it was a symptom iyswim). Temp up to just under 38 degrees at bedtime so gave calpol, sheet instead of duvet and gave him iced water to sip.

Yesterday the diarrhea had gone but his temp was up to 38.25 and rising with calpol alone barely manage to keep it down and by the evening eveining, despite calpol and ice pops it was creeping up first to 38.5 then touching 40. He was also quite delirious, really tearful and shaky and snotty. Gave him calprofen on top of the calpol and continued with the iced water and ice pops as well as a fan in his room. He slept from the early hours to 9.30 am without moving (he is usually a really light sleeper and first up every morning).

We called the NHS advice line yesterday tea time, which was no help at all and only told me what I already knew about the symptoms. A letter from the school had said call either NHS direct or GP but I had read on here about NHS direct being overloaded so decided to try GP first. Was in a queue for 15 minutes then put on the telephone triage list and they called back within 10 minutes. Doctor went through his symptoms, said it was probable rather than possible Swine Flu and they would prescribe Tamiflu.

I was very impressed with the way it was handled, quick and efficient.

The only problem we had was that only one chemist in the whole of the area has any Tamiflu and nowhere has the suspension which means little ones are having to have the pills which taste vile and even if the powder is mixed with apple juice they still gag on it. (Friends from other areas have told me this is the same in their area.)

When I took his temp this morning it was back to normal and he has had no temp spikes at all today. He is a bit wobbly on his legs but perfectly happy and cheerful enough to be cheeky! hmm Still coughing occasionally, but headache and sore throat is gone. So he has only had whatever it was for 3 days including today, I thought that was too short for swine flu. To be honest, I wasn't sure his symptoms fitted the diagnosis by the GP was very definite that he should have Tamiflu.

We are now hoping that ds2 (who nearly died from pneumonia following seasonal flu last December) and dd (6 months old) don't catch it and we are still not sure whether or not it was Swine Flue anyway.

moosemama Thu 16-Jul-09 14:38:41

blush Huge post sorry. I really should learn to preview!

rainbowface Thu 16-Jul-09 20:07:49

Moosemama glad he is feeling better, as a mum of 3 myself just wondering did you give the Tamiflu in the end or did he get by with Calpol? Just wondering what I'd do in that situation as we have a confirmed case at my kids school today and I have heard bad things about Tamiflu itself ie vomiting.

stramash Thu 16-Jul-09 21:21:22

TBH I think you're more at risk of an illness being labelled " swine flu" and turning out to be something else ( like croup/meningitis/ear infection for example)than getting the ( rarer) complications of swine flu.

I even heard of one child being triaged as " swine flu" over the phone when he was actually about to go into a diabetic coma ( first presentation, neither the parents nor the GPs fault - he fitted the criteria for tamiflu and the parents were so worried they didn't mention the other symptoms - thirst etc which should have rung alarm bells).
GPs are seriously worried at the moment at being asked to triage febrile illnesses over the phone - worried that they are doling out tamiflu unnecessarily and/or are going to miss a serious life- threatening illness. On top of all their other work. They are close to being overwhelmed from what I can gather.
NHS Direct is F* all use

My dd got tamiflu at the weekend ( from the on call GP ) but only managed a few doses because of the side effects ( fairly spectacular vomiting). In retrospect, she probably didn't have swine flu as she got better within 72 hours. Who knows? The problem is that now she has the " swine flu" label, she can't go back to school or into hospital if she needs to.

Don't know what the answer is. But if 30% of a population of 60 M are going to be infected, GPs ain't gonna be the answer.

moosemama Thu 16-Jul-09 21:22:39

Hi rainbowface,

We did give the Tamiflu as he was really quite poorly when they gave it to us (temp just under 40, shaking and quite delirious). He has had 3 doses now and no side effects.

His temp went up significantly again late afternoon/early evening but was brought back under control by calpol this time. The headache, sore throat and cough have also resurfaced again.

Ds2 was very tired and tearful at bedtime, really hoping he's not coming down with it as he's high risk due to his relatively recent lung problems resulting from seasonal flu and then pneumonia. sad

Sibella1 Thu 16-Jul-09 21:56:43

My DH has been ill from Monday, phoned the GP obviously no Tamiflu as he has pre excisting conditions. He fainted on Tuesday, and now still has a blinding headache, is extremely tired, an extremely high temperature and green phlegm.

I feel like my hands are tied as I can't take him to the GP and they are just not listening or caring. What if he has pneumonia or something - how would we know and how can we get treatment?

We received much better care in South Africa (a supposedly third world country). I tried taking DH to a private doctor on day 2 but the doctor said only the NHS are allowed to prescribe Tamiflu! So even if you're willing to pay for it you can't get it.
I took my 2 girls to the A&E with croup last winter and the doctor said yes its croup - phone 999 if they can't breathe!! Why do I have to wait until it might be too late?

moosemama Thu 16-Jul-09 22:05:59

Sibella, if you think your dh possibly has something as serious as pneumonia - take him to a&e.

I know you said they were hopeless when you took your dds but that doesn't mean they are always like that, it can very much depend on when you go, how long the staff have been on shift and which doctor you get.

Since my ds2 (then aged 4) was sent home by both gps and out of hours docs three times in one week and then nearly died of pneumonia last December, I would always follow my instincts. Better to get him checked out and find out its nothing serious than to regret not making them do something for him.

Don't be palmed off, you/he have a right to treatment. If he has a temperature that is not being brought under control by paracetamol you need to get him seen by someone.

Could you perhaps try calling your gp out of hours service in the first instance and maybe tell them that if they refuse to see him you are taking him straight to a&e?

laumiere Thu 16-Jul-09 22:42:11

Our DS (3) has cerebral palsy and we've always been told to take him to A and E for any sign of breathing trouble. He started showing cold symptoms on Fri, by 12 noon Sat he was having breathing problems.

Our hospital made us wait in Child A and E for TWO HOURS before seeing a doc with all the other kids before deciding it wasn't SF, by which point poor DS was having a total meltdown and coughing enough to make himself sick. We were sent home with antibiotics in the end, but got knows what it would have been like if he had contracted SF.

rainbowface Fri 17-Jul-09 09:40:14

Moosemama hope your ds2 is ok. Sorry to go on about this but do you have to take the whole pack of Tamiflu or just til you think they are feeling better? Just panicing now - shouldnt look at Daily Mail and scare myself!

Sunshinemummy Fri 17-Jul-09 11:18:51

This thread has been quite enlightening, especially mumindisguise's story.

No SF as yet in our house but boss's husband has just been diagnosed (over the phone) and given Tamiflu.

Not worried about me, DP or DS (3 and shockingly healthy) but DD (10m) has had persistent viral infections over the last 6 weeks (and a case of otitis media) leading to three bad attacks of croup - two severe enough to send her to hospital.

Have already spoken to GP about the croup and they have advised that she is young to be having so many attacks and, next time one happens, we should take her straight to A&E and ask for referral to respiratory consultant.

Really hope she doesn't get SF.

smallwhitecat Fri 17-Jul-09 13:56:13

Reading this thread confirms the view I have developed based on my own experience which is that it is not true that the NHS is run by caring people who are just over-stretched and under-resourced. The NHS, by and large,and with some honourable exceptions is staffed by people who don't give a shit about patients. It depresses me to say it, but here's no other credible explanation IMHO.

poface Fri 17-Jul-09 13:59:35

There are many, many fantastic nurses and doctors in the NHS. There are some awful ones. But I do think a lot of them get patient fatigue and get deadened to compassion, just through sheer work load. sad

smallwhitecat Fri 17-Jul-09 14:12:10

Balls. They are comparatively well paid now and they purport to be professionals. They should therefore maintain professional standards or face the consequences. there is no excuse for some of the shoddy work done in the NHS, none whatsoever.

poface Fri 17-Jul-09 14:58:01

Agree swc. But compassion fatigue doubtless does happen a lot.

globaljen Fri 31-Jul-09 14:11:03

I will never use NHS Direct after two appalling incidents. The first time, my son was 8 weeks old and had a cold and croup-like symptoms. By the time they called us back we'd already had to call an ambulance as he had stopped breathing. Our VOLUNTEER First Responders were there in 4 minutes, the ambulance in 8 minutes (bear in mind we live 30 minutes 'normal' drive from the nearest ambulance station). The second time I called them, I had been discharged from A&E following a GP sending me to A&E in the back of a rig with blue lights, diagnosing pleurisy complicated by asthma. The A&E department sent me back home at 11.30pm in a taxi I had to call and pay for myself - my husband called NHS direct the next morning as my breathing worsened; by the time they called back I was already in an ambulance with full morphine drip back en route to A&E. The ambulance driver was the same as before, and FURIOUS I had even been discharged or that NHS Direct hadn't even bothered to call back despite the fact I couldn't breathe well enough to speak to them and in excrutiating pain. The A&E department discharged me AGAIN and I developed secondary pneumonia, falling unconscious in sole charge of two children under 3 because I was so ill, but could not get a GP to make a house call until the NEXT day. NOT good enough.

I have had excellent service from our Out of Hours unit, it is a 30 minute drive but in some ways far better than our local GP (5min away). I had called my GP at 5pm as my son's heart was racing and he had chest pain. The local GP eventually rang back at 7.30pm, and was given short shrift. In the meantime I had failed to contact them a second time, so called Out of Hours. They prescribed Tamiflu for my son and had a prescription filled for him for pick-up in under 1 hour. He was very ill for 36 hours but picked up fast after the Tamiflu. I would not in a million years call NHS Direct ever again, and in some ways am quite pleased my kids get sick out of standard GP hours, as I have found their service far more efficient and sensible - at least the staff who answer the phone for OoH are somewhat trained, unlike the draconian, nosy and rude ignorant secretaries who answer the phone at the local surgery, who only pass on messages when it suits them (if at all).

globaljen Fri 31-Jul-09 14:21:27

To add to previous message: I would strongly recommend that if you do suspect Swine Flu, that it would be wise calling Out of Hours rather than going to A&E unless utterly necessary (leg hanging off, stopped breathing etc). My daughter had 3 serious head injuries at the weekend, and started staggering around and banging her head on things (hence 3 injuries). She had an egg the size of a golf ball on the side of her head and was screaming. I took her straight to A&E who did not see her for THREE HOURS, and would not give her Calpol or let her drink. She is 25 months old!! In the end I took her home as she had not been sick and they would not scan her or admit her for observation - they expected me to keep her awake in the main reception despite it being past midnight. She is fine, but had bad concussion (I took her to the GP the next day).

Meanwhile, a fit looking 20 year old man walked in whinging of Swine Flu symptoms and was seen and admitted within 20 minutes because it was 'protocol'. WTF?!!!

How do I know? Well the receptionist left their notes in full view of the window when I walked up to ask how long the wait would be for my daughter, and to tell them for the second time in 2 hours that there were faeces spread all over the disabled toilet (the only one I could access with my daughter's pushchair). I was given a dirty look, told the cleaner was on a break (for 2 hours?!) and told not to read patient notes!! It was at that point I went home...

NHS - please admit you are overwhelmed, get some professional staff and start behaving sensibly.

*Rant over*

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