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?

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

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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

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