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To think nhs direct hasn't really been thought through.

(54 Posts)
JeezyOrangePips Sun 30-Sep-12 07:43:59

I was speaking to a friend, who had been away on a camping trip. She ended up in a lot of dental pain.

Her phone was out of battery (nowhere to charge it when you are camping), so she travelled 30 miles to thd nearest hospital (on a Sunday).

They told her she had to go and phone nhs direct.

She went and found a phone box in and called them. They told her they had to speak to an assessor who wasn't available, so they would phone her back within two hours.

Two hours, hanging around a phone box, in a town she doesnt know, while in pain?

Is it just me or should there be some facility to bend the rules in some cases?

vodkaanddietirnbru Sun 30-Sep-12 07:56:02

should she not have tried going to a dentist rather than the hospital

ErikNorseman Sun 30-Sep-12 08:01:54

That's madness. The hospital shouldn't have told her that. NHS direct is for advice and assessment before you go to hospital, not after. Weird.

Longtalljosie Sun 30-Sep-12 08:03:47

That was the hospital being crap, not NHS Direct

honeytea Sun 30-Sep-12 08:04:36

She should have taken her phone charger with her to the hospital and charged her phone. Or gon and say in a pub/cafe and charged her phone.

NHS in my experience are rubbish, I called them the other day and because I was not in the UK they wouldn't help me, I was only calling them because I wasn't in the UK and didn't know where to go (I thought I had a blood clot in my leg.)

iliketea Sun 30-Sep-12 08:11:13

That wasn't bad advice from NHS direct, it was bad advice from the hospital.

And Honeytea: it's a bit unfair to declare they are rubbish because they couldn't tell you where to go with a suspected blood clot when you were not in the UK - if you had been in the UK, you would have been told to go to hospital, it's not an international A and E location service.

honeytea Sun 30-Sep-12 08:22:18

I ment i wanted them to tell me where one should go, the Dr, A+E, my midwife. I know where the hospital is I just wasn't sure if i was over reacting.

PrimrosePath Sun 30-Sep-12 08:26:02

I thought hospitals only dealt with general tooth pain in their drop in emergency clinics? I wouldn't have thought they would have dentists available in a&e. I may be wrong though.

Although I agree that one of the downsides of nhs direct is that you need to be contactable by them, which in your case wasn't possible. I can't think of another way to deal with huge number of calls they get.

JeezyOrangePips Sun 30-Sep-12 08:28:28

It was a small town, and emergency dental care is done at the local hospital, hence going there. It was a Sunday, as I said, so no dentists open.

Yes, you are right, the hospital was rubbish.

sookiesookie Sun 30-Sep-12 08:35:19

I am NHS direct 'fan'.

But this is not their fault. Its the hospital. Did she tell them she had no phone?

Also its not the NHS direct job to help you when abroad. They usually call you back after a primary assessment. They won't call abroad.

You should have gone to a medical professional where you were or a hospital.

Nishky Sun 30-Sep-12 08:46:44

NHS direct called me an ambulance during a severe asthma attack this week. I thought they were mad- but given how bad I was a couple if hours later whilst in A&E - they were exactly right. I think they do a difficult job.

I would have refused to leave the hospital in those circumstances

JeezyOrangePips Sun 30-Sep-12 08:58:17

She wasn't abroad, she was holidaying within the uk.

JeezyOrangePips Sun 30-Sep-12 09:00:18

I guess what I'm saying is the system hasn't been fully thought through - I wasn't trying to pin the blame on them, they were doing all they can - but the system assumes use of a phone. Which isn't always straightforward.

Nishky Sun 30-Sep-12 09:16:37

Which is why your friend should have stood her ground in the hospital. Not easy when you are distressed. Has she complained.

FloppyWire Sun 30-Sep-12 09:18:10

honeytea Nurses cannot give advice to persons abroad. It is against their NMC registration regulations. Nurses are not trained to know what facilities are available abroad and therefore may give inaccurate information.

Jeezy Doctors don't know much about dental pain, they were correct in telling her to ring NHSD so she could access the appropriate services.

I will agree that NHSD has several flaws, but it does have the potential to be a wonderful service (not that it will ever become one, the cuts in that area have been massive)

The call back times are long, but it's because so many people ring at one time. Not enough nurses to answer the phones at once unfortunately, so call back was seen as a better alternative than being on hold.

ToothbrushThief Sun 30-Sep-12 09:18:36

I don't rate NHS direct at all - each time I've called, they have said go to hospital. On no single occasion did we need to

Nishky Sun 30-Sep-12 09:21:19

And if you did need to go and they told you not to would be better. They have to err in the side of caution.

My DH rang them the other day and they insisted on sending him an ambulance, when he said there was no need.
I'm not sure whether I think this is a good or a bad thing (wasted ambulances vs my DH getting seen quickly)

Nishky Sun 30-Sep-12 09:23:23

What did the doctor who treated your dh say about the need

They said that talking to him they didnt think it was urgent, but guidelines say to always send an ambulance for chest pain (he was diagnosed the day before with pleurisy and the pain had gotten worse)

Iggly Sun 30-Sep-12 09:27:52

You can't take chances with chest pain!

(I've had pleurisy and it hurts like hell! Can also be similar pain to a collapsed lung).

Nishky Sun 30-Sep-12 09:29:30

What iggly said - if you say you have chest pain then you need to go in. Whether by ambulance or own steam.

HmmThinkingAboutIt Sun 30-Sep-12 09:31:43

DH had severe tooth ache this week.

He phoned the local out of hours emergency dental line. They said they would call back. They did in 3 minutes. Told him to go to the local A&E for an appointment with doctor in 35 mins time for pain killers until the morning when he could get to a dentist for treatment. It was just about enough time to get there for the appointment.

So I'm not sure if its the fact that NHS direct are shite, the local hospital was shite or whether emergency dental treatment is just part of a different system.

FloppyWire Sun 30-Sep-12 09:34:29

This is one of the flaws of the system Beyond , I have no doubt the nurse doing his or her assessment on your DH at NHSD was thinking - Meh, pleurisy pain. But, had they seen an ecg of your DH in the past 15 mins?, no. Had they seen an angiogram?, no. They could not have said for certain that your DH wasn't having a heart attack. And they'd be the one standing up in the coroners court saying they'd assumed it was related to his pleurisy.

NHSD is great for simple advice, bites, stings, D&V, worried parents of children with temps etc. But something like chest pain I can't see how it could've gone any other way.

I hope your DH is ok, pleurisy is horrid.

Oh I know, as I said anyway, I'm very happy that he was seen quickly because of the potential of it being more serious! But he said he could get in to a&e on his own (a lift, he wouldnt have driven, if thats what theyre worried about), so did they really need to send an ambulance. If they'r classing it as urgent enough to send one, surely it was quite high on the priority list, and what if someone died as a result of my DH being in "their" ambulance.
Of course tell him that he needs to get to a&e pronto and that an ambulance is available if he needs it, i dont disagree at all with that smile

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