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NHS A&E department telling us to leave and go private????

(83 Posts)
notgettingyounger Thu 30-Jun-16 14:45:45

I went to my local London A&E with DD, 19yo, on Monday. She was triaged as an "emergency" rather than "urgent care" and told a cubicle and bed would be found. The nurse then returned and said she wasn't trying to kick us out but not only were there no spare cubicles in "Emergencies", but there were no staff whatsoever who would be able to see DD within the necessary time-frame so she strongly suggested we go somewhere privately instead.

I said I didn't know how to even go private for an emergency, let alone how I would get to another hospital in the London morning rush-hour with a very ill young woman in such severe pain that she couldn't even walk - I asked if they would provide an ambulance to blue-light her somewhere suitable but the staff said no whilst at the same time telling me that DD was seriously sick and yet could not be seen owing to a shortage of doctors.

I don't blame the triage nurse, who I think was genuinely trying to help us get medical care ASAP, but AIBU to be shocked to be told basically to go away and find private care when turning up at A&E with a woman triaged as an emergency? Is the NHS actually broken? I shudder to think what DD would have gone through had I not been there as her advocate. In any case, I am not sure that there are private hospitals that deal with acute admissions, are there???

Incidentally, after I conducted an audible telephone conversation with DH about how the NHS hospital was asking if we could go anywhere private as they had no staff who could see her even though she urgently needed to be treated, DD was immediately seen by the Staff Nurse in Charge (who should have just finished his shift so bless him) who at least gave DD some much needed IV pain relief and a saline drip, but she was still left to lie uncomfortably across two metal chairs designed for visitors, whilst attached to her drip, as there were still no cubicles and, presumably, not a trolley in the whole hospital.

7 hours later, we finally saw a doctor who immediately admitted DD, put her on IV antibiotics and listed her for an emergency operation first thing in the morning, so we were hardly the worried well - actually, just one look at DD would have confirmed that.

Has this happened to anyone else? Is there a diktat to NHS staff that people who seem wealthy (I am well spoken and well dressed which is the only thing I can put this down to) should be redirected to private hospitals at busy times?

NB I have n/c to protect my DD's confidentiality.

thecitydoc Thu 30-Jun-16 15:14:06

my experience is that the private sector do NOT treat emergencies - they refer to NHS. I would make a complaint against the triage nurse who was clearly providing you with inaccurate information - possible to meet their waiting time targets?

Cakescakescakes Thu 30-Jun-16 15:17:00

The NHS is just chronically understaffed, underfunded and is being undermined by this government at every opportunity.

WindPowerRanger Thu 30-Jun-16 15:17:04

I don't know about diktat, but I suspect staff wanted to warn you how overstretched they are in case you decided to go elsewhere.

It is frightening, especially as the govt is going ahead with an A&E closure programme (in West London at least) despite the fact A&E services are chronically inadequate as things stand.

Amy214 Thu 30-Jun-16 15:21:11

I don't know how to help but my 2 year old dd was rushed to hospital with Hypoglycemia she was unconcsious the paramedics were really worried about her but trying to keep me calm (i was freaking out) once we arrived at a&e they said if it isn't an emergency we had to wait in the waiting area hmm the paramedics had to fight our corner and helped to find a nurse that was willing to help. They also came back later to see if dd was ok (by this point she was sitting up in bed and was about to be admitted to the childrens ward) she had bloods taken and had a saline drip and a different one with sugars in it (can't remember what it was called) i still don't know the results of the tests and i'm still waiting for furthere investigations which can take upto 14 weeks.

I do think the nhs is under pressure but i don't think they should redirect patients to a private hospital.

summerainbow Thu 30-Jun-16 15:21:49

I went nhs appointment in private hospital he want to ref to another dr . I then got a unasked private appointment. WhI ch I cancelled. It has taken a phone appointment and seeing a dr to see and phone called to see if I still have nhs ref. Never going near a private hospital again.

LADLX Thu 30-Jun-16 15:22:09

'The NHS is broken'.
You said it wink

ExitPursuedByBear Thu 30-Jun-16 15:23:33

How bloody dreadful for you.

As far as I know private hospitals do not deal with emergencies. It sounds as if the triage nurse was trying to offload you so that the department didn't fail one of its targets.

It doesn't bode well............

Glad she got seen eventually and hope she is OK.

maggiethemagpie Thu 30-Jun-16 15:25:17

Yup. Welcome to the NHS under the tories. I turned up at Eye Casualty with a bleeding retina only to be turned away, in danger of a retinal detachment I stumped up £8k to get it treated privately.

The NHS would have treated me eventually but I'd have had to wait a number of months and couldn't take the risk with something so important as sight.

scarednoob Thu 30-Jun-16 15:28:21

some private hospitals do have a&e departments - eg the princess grace in London. no idea what it would cost though.

what a horrible sad story for everyone concerned sad

Schwabischeweihnachtskanne Thu 30-Jun-16 15:28:53

Wow that is scary!

I would not put in a complaint about anyone as it does not sounds as if it was the fault of any individual working at the time - it sounds like a massive systemic failure!

I doubt it is a diktat, more likely an individual nurse trying to help you out, though perhaps in a misguided way. She probably shouldn't be telling anyone to go private if she cannot provide information on where to go though. If it were a diktat presumably they would have the addresses etc. available to hand out.

There are private emergency walk in centres in London, don't know about the rest of the country.

ApocalypseSlough Thu 30-Jun-16 15:29:24

It's always the been the thing we cling to hasn't it? 'Excellent in an emergency' sad

ProjectUniverse Thu 30-Jun-16 15:33:31

Consultants I used to work with told me patients in the private hospital who developed severe complications would be blue lighted to the NHS hospital down the road as they didn't have the facilities to deal with emergencies. I've never heard of private emergency care either. Hope your DD is recovering well now.

kittykittykitty5 Thu 30-Jun-16 15:37:36

I went through very similar experience in February this year. DD1 had gone to GP complaining of headache, sore throat and flu-like symptoms and was diagnosed with tonsilitis and given pencillin.

Unfortunately she had a severe reaction to the penicillin and was blue-lighted to A&E and there was nowhere to put her and the paramedics could not leave until she was assessed. Luckily it was two days before her 18th birthday so they pushed her through as a minor and she ended up in a cupboard with three chairs pushed together as a bed on a drip.

However, the a/bs she was given also caused a reaction and we did the whole entire thing 20 hours later with a different paramedic crew. This time there was no cupboard, she was in the waiting area on a drip! She was crying in pain and passed out so another paramedic who was walking past picked her up and I held the drip and we literally barged through the doors and walked around with her until we found a space. Again, that was more chairs pushed together.

This time, a junior doctor took more details from her (and us) and quickly took bloods and within two hours (and another drip) we had a diagnosis of glandular fever. As well as a severe allergy to pencillin and antibiotics.

dailymaillazyjournos Thu 30-Jun-16 15:37:43

You and your poor dd must have felt so scared and vulnerable! Thank heavens she finally got the care she obviously needed.

So it looks like anything more minor than loss of a limb, heart attack or stroke, now gets you sent away with advice to go private or a link to a youtube video showing you how to perform an appendectomy with a cloth soaked in ether, a swiss army knife and a reel of cotton and an embroidery needle. Bloody petrifying.

MyLlamasGoneBananas Thu 30-Jun-16 15:38:31

I hope your daughter is now on the mend.

I think you should copy what you have written here and send it your MP.

Regardless of what the staff nurse said to you, your daughter was left on a drip on waiting room chairs for 7 hours. This is the type of thing you would expect to see in a third world hospital not the NHS in the UK.

Sadly i'm neither surprised or shocked by your post. It is fast becoming a typical mage of the NHS in the UK. Its up to you if you wish to complain to the hospital but please please make your MP aware of this. If every time one us experiences things like this we raise it with our MPs there is more chance of our government (who ever the hell they may be) taking notice and maybe (even if its a slim chance) doing/changing something.

AdultingIsNotWhatIExpected Thu 30-Jun-16 15:39:12

Is there a diktat to NHS staff that people who seem wealthy (I am well spoken and well dressed which is the only thing I can put this down to) should be redirected to private hospitals at busy times?

Not exactly
I think A&E staff are now told to be upfront and realistic with people from arrival to prevent violence against staff when an hour later relatives are getting angry that they haven't been seen yet.

The staff were just honest, to protect themselves as well as to be honest with you.

I think they call it "managing expectations". It's a conflict prevention thing they've had to have training on

whois Thu 30-Jun-16 15:39:58

Well don't worry, it is going to get loads better with that extra £350m/week we're saving from voting leave.

MyLlamasGoneBananas Thu 30-Jun-16 15:40:33

Christ KittyKitty. That sounds a horrendous experience.

stopfuckingshoutingatme Thu 30-Jun-16 15:41:30

I think it really depends on the hospital. honestly. I have major NHS issues but I also know ones to attend, and which one are shit. I am desperately sorry about this OP, I want to weep reading it.

dare you name which A&E it was??

SlowJinn Thu 30-Jun-16 15:43:28

There are private A&E departments at most BUPA/Spire/EMI hospitals but if you roll up with chest pain, a head injury or intractable pain, you will be redirected to the nearest NHS hospital.

That is obviously only what I have experienced, and not a fact.

untinctured Thu 30-Jun-16 15:50:51

I would put a complaint in writing to the hospital. They will then have to investigate and get back to you with their findings. If you are not happy with their response there are other avenues that you can pursue such as a fitness to practice concern about the triage nurse to the Nursing and Midwifery Council or a second stage complaint about the hospital to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman.

The hospital need an opportunity to find out what went wrong and take action to minimise the risk of reoccurrence. An apology to your daughter would also be appropriate.

ChopsticksandChilliCrab Thu 30-Jun-16 16:00:48

shock for the OP and for maggie. Two very scary stories.

So now we can't even rely on the NHS in an emergency. Horrendous.

concertplayer Thu 30-Jun-16 16:01:26

Our private hospital has been taking in people when the NHS is full
but not on a reg basis. I doubt they were emergencies as they are not
fully equipped for this.
I find it odd that they would ask you to go to a private hospital .
Normally they would phone the next nearest NHS hospital to see if they
have any space first.
Everything seems to depend on where you live to some extent.
One of us had to use 2 different hospitals for the same condition recently. The first only had one on-call Consultant at the weekend whereas the other one had a Consultant on duty and another of the same specialism on call as well

seventhgonickname Thu 30-Jun-16 16:03:09

One of the problems is that the ward beds are blocked with medical patients who do not need hospital but cannot be discharged.This results in a backlog in A&E as patients cannot move onto the wards so all you need is a busy day,add in people coming to A&E for treatment of flu,backache,migrain etc(I'm not kidding here)then as the corridors get lined with trolleys the already reduced no of staff become swamped(and physically and emotionally drained)and there is no. room for real emergencies.This is day after day all over the country.The answer is not more A&Es it's more beds or non hospital aftercare to free beds and peeps using A&E apropriatly

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