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?

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*

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).

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

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

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 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 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.

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.

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!

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.

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?

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 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

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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)

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?

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

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

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

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

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

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

PM or possibly The World Tonight??

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