This is why A&E is overwhelmed

(595 Posts)
PackedintheUK Mon 25-Oct-21 12:52:49

And it's nothing to do with over anxious patients seeking "unnecessary" medical care.

I have a very sore very swollen ankle as a result of an insect bite. I've asked advice at the pharmacy and been told it looks nasty, see your GP, you probably need antibiotics.

So I've tried. I've been calling GP surgery all morning and finally got through to have receptionist incredulously say "you want to see a doctor for a gnat bite?" and then be told the next appointment is 16 Nov.

Me: but pharmacist said I need seeing urgently.
Receptionist: All the emergency appointments are gone for today. You'll have to call back tomorrow.
Me: but I've been calling all morning, won't the same thing happen tomorrow?
Receptionist: Well I can't do anything about that, if you're that worried go to A&E

So,I'm not sure that I am "that" worried, but I have been told by someone better qualified than me that I should be seen. We lost a colleague to sepis this year, a fit young woman and it happened incredibly quickly, plus I have a friend currently in hospital on intravenous antibiotics from a very similar looking bite he got at the same park.

I also don't actually feel that well.My body aches and feels heavy and I'm a bit queasy, which could be coincidence or my imagination.

Probably/hopefully it is nothing that won't heal itself in a few days but it feels irresponsible not to take the advice I've been given. Also to go to A&E

So A&E for something that could (probably) have been dealt with in a matter of seconds in a GP (telephone/video?) appointment?

There's no walk in or minor injuries here.

OP’s posts: |
Getyourarseofffthequattro Mon 25-Oct-21 12:56:23

YANBU - I had exactly the same thing recently and the receptionist said sorry we don't see people for that. My foot was literally twice the size it should have been. Pharmacist was like oh no you need to see someone now, it's infected, if it spreads it could be dangerous. Rang gp back, explained what pharmacist had said. Had to send a bloody picture. If they'd not have seen me I would have gone to a&e, I could barely walk!

EishetChayil Mon 25-Oct-21 12:56:33

Everyone who shows up at A&E gets triaged when they arrive. If you turn up with a splinter you'll be subtly placed at the back of the queue. Show up with chest pains and you'll be seen straight away.

siestalady Mon 25-Oct-21 12:56:38

YANBU at all and in your shoes I would go to A&E because you've exhausted all other options and clearly need to be seen. I hope you feel better and can get it sorted quickly.

I'm also sorry you experienced a rude receptionist which unfortunately seems all too common.

That said, all rage/fury should be entirely directed at the government and chronic underfunding of the NHS for the past c.30 years.

ScamTheSchool Mon 25-Oct-21 12:58:29

My body aches and feels heavy and I'm a bit queasy

This and the swelling is ringing alarm bells of a tick bite to me. You need to be seen ASAP, if it is, the sooner they treat it the better. Go and tell them you to your GP's surgery who said you needed to go.

LittleLottieChaos Mon 25-Oct-21 12:59:06

It’s so unfair at the moment, you can’t win either way. I’d go get checked, my colleague got a minor bite and it developed into necrotising fasciitus, she had to be in hospital for a week. (Not up scare monger but it can happen). Why is your need any less than anyone else?

Sloth169 Mon 25-Oct-21 12:59:47

111, should be able to make you an appointment at a walk in/minor injuries/OOH rather than waiting forever and a day in A&E


LadyCleathStuart Mon 25-Oct-21 13:00:08

Tell me about it, DH had very obvious gallbladder pain for months. Nurse practitioner kept prescribing medication for IBS despite DH repeatedly saying where the pain was and how he had a strong family history of gallbladder problems. He asked to be referred for a scan and was told that if the pain was 'that bad' he should go to A&E.

In the end that was what he had to do and it was them that finally prescribed painkillers and got him referred for a scan.

He didn't need to do that, if he had been able to see or speak to an actual doctor at the GP surgery, and if they had listened to the actual symptoms described he could have had the tablets and been referred without taking up resourcss ar A&E.

Its a farce sometimes.

Chicchicchicchiclana Mon 25-Oct-21 13:00:19

Once you are better please write a very firm letter of complaint to the practice manager at this GP surgery.

Sirzy Mon 25-Oct-21 13:01:25

Can you do the 111 online thing and get a call back so they can sort something?

Nomoreusernames1244 Mon 25-Oct-21 13:02:18

If you turn up with a splinter you'll be subtly placed at the back of the queue

Subtly? grin. It’s usually not very subtle at all, accompanied by a sound telling that a&e isn’t appropriate, they can wait but it’ll be hours until they get round to you grin

PackedintheUK Mon 25-Oct-21 13:02:50


*My body aches and feels heavy and I'm a bit queasy*

This and the swelling is ringing alarm bells of a tick bite to me. You need to be seen ASAP, if it is, the sooner they treat it the better. Go and tell them you to your GP's surgery who said you needed to go.

Its not a tick, I saw what bit me. A small flying insect with long legs - a gnat

OP’s posts: |
StupidPhones Mon 25-Oct-21 13:04:16

Oh god something similar happened to my adult child who was told off for not going to GP earlier by A and E doctor.
Basically had bad infection from what started as a minor skin wound. They had also phoned the NHS number who said it was flu. It took us intervening or I dread to think what would have happened tbh.

PackedintheUK Mon 25-Oct-21 13:05:36


111, should be able to make you an appointment at a walk in/minor injuries/OOH rather than waiting forever and a day in A&E

Do they do that during normal opening hours?

I don't call very often but when I called at 7:30 over one of DC they strongly "encouraged" me to wait a bit and call GP.

OP’s posts: |
silveryslade Mon 25-Oct-21 13:06:40

I had a totally different experience. Had a suspected tick bite. Was worried about Lymes. Told receptionist who got doctor to ring me up. Did a FaceTime so he could look at it. Got antibiotics prescription sent to chosen chemist. Picked them up and started taking them later that day.

In your situation, I would tell the receptionist you are worried about sepsis/cellulitis and get doctor to ring back. Take it from there.

snowspider Mon 25-Oct-21 13:08:41

It sounds like the sort of thing that would ideally be screened by a nurse practitioner. The system is screwed up.

I'm in Wales and our local gp surgery is one of the largest in Wales but the least popular for gps it seems, with only 10 which works out at nearly 2500 patients per gp. It's impossible to get an appointment. they are opted out of the econsult, which seems madness as that would help. My partner has been trying to get an appointment for 10 days, you ring at 8 am get put in a queue if lucky and by the time you get through at 8.45 or whatever all appointments are gone. You have to try again the next day. One day he was put on a reserve list for surgery to call you back if an appointment came available that day but it didn't. So you are back to the same 8 am nonsense the next day.

I slipped and had a head injury yesterday afternoon. Went 14 miles to the nearest A and E, waited 6.5 hours from 4.00pm till 10.30pm to be seen and get staples in the wound. Got home at midnight. the doctor told me that the long wait was due to patients who should be dealt with by gps.

BrilloPaddy Mon 25-Oct-21 13:09:31

Local health access centre? Or Minor Injuries unit? and I'd phone 111 and explain what you've said here, that a pharmacist said you need it looking at and your surgery won't help.

A & E isn't the place until you've tried all other possibilities.

DarkDarkNight Mon 25-Oct-21 13:10:06

I’ve always tried to follow the advice to see a pharmacist before a GP/A&E but most of the time I have found them non-committal so you send up having to see a GP anyway.

I understand to an extent because I’m sure there would be professional repercussions for them were they to send somebody away with medication when they need urgent treatment but it’s a waste of time.

parttimemary Mon 25-Oct-21 13:10:18

I completely agree with you. To be honest in these situations I just stop worrying about doing the "right thing" and do what's pragmatic. You've made all reasonable efforts to go down the most sensible route from what you've said. If they won't engage just sod them and go to A&E. It's not your responsibility to fix the problem that has been created.

To be fair, the receptionists at my GP surgery are actually really good so it's not an issue everywhere but my parents have huge problems with their GP surgery so I can relate to what you're dealing with!

Spicychickentenders Mon 25-Oct-21 13:10:31

I understand your frustration, but I don't understand what you expect be done, if all the appointments are gone for today? The GP surely does not operate an unlimited service? If the appointments are gone, the they are gone.

Some GPs have chosen to strictly implement a book on the day service, as otherwise the appointments are booked months in advance.

I just wonder what you think should happen, if there are no more available appointments. Surely you understand that they will run out at some point during the day?

lomoloko Mon 25-Oct-21 13:12:00

I am resigned to being told off when I go to the doctor.

If it's not serious, I am upbraided for coming in. If it is serious, I am upbraided for not coming in earlier.

I almost died from a UTI and have long term complications from it. I have been told to always urgently seek treatment as soon as I have any of the key symptoms. I have sample pots and dip tests prescribed so I can take action quickly. But when you do that, unless you are already seriously ill, you are shouted at.

I avoid healthcare as much as possible now.

parttimemary Mon 25-Oct-21 13:12:04

Oh but I didn't think of 111 as previous posters have suggested, that's a good idea. Try and get a GP appointment through them first maybe?

BrilloPaddy Mon 25-Oct-21 13:12:53

Given your symptoms OP, it could well be the start of cellulitis. Maybe mention that to 111 too.

StupidPhones Mon 25-Oct-21 13:14:13

@lomoko absolutely agree.

I steel myself for my children's sake. Otherwise I can't face it for my own chronic condition.

oneglassandpuzzled Mon 25-Oct-21 13:14:24

Can you email a photo of the bite to your gp via e-consult?

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