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The endless NHS wild goose chase to get a blood test

(166 Posts)
frankiesamson Thu 01-Feb-18 00:12:32

I dread becoming ill enough to need the NHS in any way, because I've never had a good service from them, and neither have any of my family or friends. My grandfather died because the GP refused to give him the needed blood test. My DH almost died a few years ago because our GP refused to give him a simple blood test- it took a huge effort to find a GP willing to do it, he finally got diagnosed & given the needed treatment just in time. My mother also almost lost decades off her life because she struggled to persuade her GP to do a specific test for a serious condition- which turned out to be positive, but only after months of fighting with her GP to get this 1 minute blood test done.

Something as simple as a vitamin deficiency can become life threatening when your GP refuses to test.

Sadly, now is one of those times again. Myself & DH stripped our staircase & skirting boards recently without realising they had lead paint on them & that you're not supposed to strip lead paint using a heat gun.

Naturally, we now need a lead blood test to ensure we're okay. Waiting for lead poisoning symptoms is a bad idea & could be fatal, it's best to get it done without delay.

And here ensues the NHS wild goose chase...

I delayed addressing this issue because I knew it'd drive me up the wall trying to find anyone in the NHS to see at short notice let alone persuade them to give us the needed blood test.

I took a deep breath & decided today to make a concerted effort to get this simple blood test done.

We've just moved house & not only have we not yet registered at the new GP but are presently away from home for several weeks in Manchester, which has only made things even worse.

The GP receptionists in Manchester refused to register us even as temporary patients, saying "WE DON'T DO TEMPORARY PATIENTS 'ERE UNLESS YOU GOT A PERMANENT ADDRESS 'ERE"... trying to reason or use logic with them proved futile. I explained we're here for a couple of weeks and asked "Any resident in England can see a GP whilst on holiday or visiting friends in a different area.. this is everyone's right on the NHS." They looked at me incredulously... as if I'd just spoken new words to them.

I went on: "Why would a temporary patient have a permanent address here? That makes no sense."... but it fell on deaf ears.. they just looked completely confused.

In the end, after an age of trying to negotiate with these stubborn receptionists, they finally allowed us to register as temporary patients (filling out the forms) only to then announce to us that they had no appointments available EVER. (seriously!)

And another heated discussion ensued... they then insisted on knowing what the emergency was, so I explained it to them. They glazed over & had no clue what I was talking about but the buzz words "lead poisoning" seemed to have a small effect. They insisted we go to A & E instead of the GP.

So, I went to A & E (knowing this would also be a wild goose chase), and when I got there, the receptionist turned us away & told us unless we have a broken leg or arm, this isn't a job for A & E. We were told to head back to the GP for a blood test!

After more heated discussions, I managed to persuade the GP to see us that day. He saw us but then it turned out to be futile as at our appointment, he simply insisted we go to A & E "because you need to get this tested & if positive, get the therapy for it straight away, without delay"....then what was the point in the appointment with him?!!

It seemed more like a fob-off as he seemed impatient to get rid of us. I explained how useless A & E had been to us, but he insisted we try again.

So, back we went.. this is now the better half of 7 hours in total we've spent trying to get this simple 1 minute blood test.

... and back at A & E, I got past stage 1 hurdle: The receptionist.. only to reach stage 2 hurdle: The Nurse.. who insisted there's no such thing as a lead blood test.. I had to politely correct her on that, but she was adamant it did not exist, at least "not at A & E" and that we have to go back to the GP (which by now was closed).

I managed to beg her to please double check to see if there's a blood test there for it on their system as it's quite simple. She said she'd check & let me know- but insisted we wait in the waiting room while she checks.

This seemingly 2 minute wait turned into 30 minutes, which then turned into hours. Each time I asked her if she had checked yet, she had some excuse why she hadn't. I explained that if they truly don't and can't do the blood test then it's pointless us waiting there wasting ours & their time, so could she just please let me know.

... an age later, I checked with her again to find out what's going on, and she gruffly said quickly "press the buzzer and go in there & they'll do an ECG on you!!".... then she vanished.

ECG?! For testing lead level in the blood? Curious but I'm no doctor.. so ok.

I searched for this elusive buzzer she spoke of.. I found one, but the door remained locked. Complete chaos!

Eventually someone else walked through, so I followed them. I asked a nurse if we were in the right place, but he looked at us, muffled something under his breath & walked off. (not kidding!)

He then came back so I asked him again.. he looked at his paperwork, looked back at us, then once again walked off leaving us standing there clueless.

I then waited at a reception desk in there for an age, in the hope someone would turn up- a woman sat down at reception & looked at me with a slightly vacant face "HUH? " she said to me. I replied "sorry, we were told to come in here for an ECG. Are we in the right place?" - she said "I DUNNO". Then she disappeared.

I tried a 3rd person, who also had no clue- but I insisted "Look, our names are....(so & so) we were told to come through here but I don't know if I'm in the right place. Could you check please?" .. to that she begrudglingly got off her chair, looked on a piece of paper & said with attitude "YES YOU'LL BE NEXT. DON'T WAIT IN HERE GO BACK TO THE WAITING ROOM OK?!!"...

Of course my question then was, "That's fine.. just to check, why were we told to come in here, was it for something else?"

She completely ignored me.

I asked "Approximately how long is the wait--" but before I could even finish my sentence, she disappeared.

We went back to the waiting room..

What seemed like 2 hours later, we had no idea if we'd been forgotten.. our names were called.. we walked up to the lady calling us, and smiled at her with raised eyebrows, making it obvious it was us- and she completely blanked us! Then shouted back into the waiting room our names... again ! Then she looked at my shocked expression & said "ARE YOU SO & SO???", I said "yes", slightly intimidated. She said angrily at me "THEN SAY SO!!! I'M NOT PSYCHIC!!!!"

She then took us into another room & said she was going to give us general blood tests (completely unrelated to lead poisoning!!).. I politely mentioned we were only there for the lead blood test as there's nothing wrong with us, she got extremely angry, made some quite personal insults at me & kicked us out... (with attitude) "IF YOU'RE GONNA BE LIKE THAT LUV THEN YOU CAN JUST LEAVE!" i asked her "like what? I'm just wondering if this has anything to do with the lead blood test, or if not, how much longer until we get the lead blood test as we've been trying to get it for around 8 hours so far today".. she replied (with attitude) "I'LL TELL YOU WHAT!!! I'LL TELL THE DOC YOU DON'T NEED THIS TEST & YOU CAN JUST WAIT FOR THE DOC TO DISCHARGE YOU!".. I asked her how long to see "the doc", and she seemed to enjoy saying "I DON'T KNOW BUT I'M NOT GONNA BE GIVING YOU NOTHIN LUV SO GET OUT" with a smile.

It seemed like she wasn't planning to tell the doctor at all. I have no idea what caused her attitude.

Rather shaken up, we waited outside to catch some air. I then saw her leaving the hospital, she laughed at me & caught a bus. I was so shaken up by the day's ordeal we decided to go home & I'm looking up lead test kits to buy online.

This is the state of our NHS, people, and it has been for decades..

This was all in Manchester. Admittedly, we're from the south and we've noticed people in Manchester lack friendliness & can often be against southerners in general as they seem to think our accents denote us as spoilt millionaires (which we're not!), but anyway it was appalling.

I have no idea what we are going to do now.. go back to the GP tomorrow & explain what happened? It'll just be another wild goose chase all over again.

StylishMummy Thu 01-Feb-18 00:18:37

Get a grip. Seriously- A&E for a blood test for something that you have no symptoms of?

italiancortado Thu 01-Feb-18 00:42:38

What the actual fuck hmm

HoppingPavlova Thu 01-Feb-18 00:54:12

Ooookaaayyy

I am surprised no-one at A&E fell about laughing. Sadly it's only because everyone is so absolutely stretched they would not have found it funny but I can see how they would have been completely pissed off once their minds had stopped boggling.

I imagine you would tend to have frequent 'issues' with health care professionals.

PikachuHeadgear Thu 01-Feb-18 00:54:41

And people wonder why the NHS is struggling hmm

Floralnomad Thu 01-Feb-18 00:58:46

FGS , all you need to do is google private blood tests in Manchester and pick one of the many results . It’s taken me 30 seconds to find out that Spires do a lead blood testing package for £99 . Btw , your rant is too long to bother reading it properly .

italiancortado Thu 01-Feb-18 01:02:03

Generally people who are not unwell done need to go for blood tests though. I think you would struggle to get a private doctor to waste their time on you.

frankiesamson Thu 01-Feb-18 02:21:16

So apparently, you all know better than the GP who advised it's well known in medical science that to wait for the first symptoms of lead poisoning would be fatal, so this should be treated as urgent? Once you have the first symptoms of lead poisoning, you'll be dead within a matter of weeks or months.

Not to mention the fact we do currently have symptoms.

frankiesamson Thu 01-Feb-18 02:28:18

"Generally people who are not unwell done need to go for blood tests though"

Lead poisoning is not general.

"I am surprised no-one at A&E fell about laughing."

Do you really have that low opinion of them?

"And people wonder why the NHS is struggling hmm"

Because they employ people like yourself who don't know sense?

"Get a grip. Seriously- A&E for a blood test for something that you have no symptoms of?"

We followed the GP's instructions. Potential lead poisoning is an emergency & if you have symptoms of it, you'd already be beyond help. I argued against going to A & E, but the GP insisted it was an emergency & to go there. Read the post.

frankiesamson Thu 01-Feb-18 02:31:07

It's clear none of you have ever known anyone who passed away from lead poisoning or you'd not be reacting in such a small-minded manner. I truly hope if any of you end up with it (or any other silent killer, such as HIV), that people don't make fun of you when you talk about trying to get tested after being exposed.

6catsandcounting Thu 01-Feb-18 02:43:12

Sorry you had such a bad time. I am in Manchester (also originally from the South so no local accent) and have found the local people very friendly and my local hospitals' - Salford, Trafford and MRI - A&E really good. Have you tried a walk in centre for the blood test? Or the surgery at Trafford General get unfailingly good reviews.

notangelinajolie Thu 01-Feb-18 02:43:46

Well I'm exhausted just reading that confused and I kind of lost interest after the second paragraph.

Seriously get a grip and stop with all your moaning - if you are so worried wouldn't it be a lot easier for all concerned if you arranged the test privately?

On a side note my mum died just a few hours ago after spending nearly a month in an NHS hospital. In all that time NOT ONCE have I or my family had reason to complain. I think the NHS is bloody amazing actually.

HoppingPavlova Thu 01-Feb-18 05:26:10

Lots and lots of people renovate old houses that have lead based paint. It was not long ago in the scheme of things that most water pipes were lead based. Of course we now know better but the way you are catastrophising everyone should be dead. You are being hysterical. This is how the people you come across are seeing the situation. The GP you originally saw was likely acting in accordance with your hysteria thinking you must have eaten the stuff by the bucket or something equally as bizarre.

HoppingPavlova Thu 01-Feb-18 05:27:16

Also get the test done privately if you are so beside yourself. Easy.

Bobbiepin Thu 01-Feb-18 05:37:11

Was a walk in clinic not an option? Private testing? I feel for you OP but this is not what A&E is for, ignore what the GP said if you know it to be pointless. All that time you were waiting there were likely people in resus needing life saving treatment who rightly take priority.

@notangelinajolie I'm sorry to hear of your loss flowers

lljkk Thu 01-Feb-18 05:43:07

You can use a heat gun to remove lead paint, as long as you soften & scrape rather than let it melt completely so it might vaporise. & wear a mask & vacuum up, etc.

I think Manchester has soft water so check that your water pipes are all not lead, now.

Babipotjam Thu 01-Feb-18 05:46:42

Wow just wow.

🍪 - might soak up th lead.

Crowdo Thu 01-Feb-18 05:46:45

You get bad service everywhere you go because you're a bad customer. You're the common factor here in all of this.

NerrSnerr Thu 01-Feb-18 06:26:24

Going to A&E for this was seriously bad judgement. A massive waste of money.

MrsJoshDun Thu 01-Feb-18 06:33:40

I was poorly in Manchester once and went to the walk in centre. It was an amazing service. No bother at all that I wasn’t local. Their system actually linked into some national system because I gave them an old address and they knew! Saw a doctor within ten minutes, who was polite and helpful. They were concerned about me and rang the on call ENT reg at the local hospital. He wanted me admitted, I wasn’t keen. We had a nice conversation/consult over the phone and he agreed to me having drugs as an outpatient.

I just don’t believe that the nurses spoke to you as you describe. If they did then you must have the shittiest attitude ever and have tipped them over the edge.

wednesdayrobyn Thu 01-Feb-18 06:39:55

If it makes you feel any better I've had mild lead poisoning and the symptoms appear pretty quickly, I used our walk in clinic as my gp at the time was useless and I didn't feel bad enough to warrant an a and e visit.

I've recently moved and I can't fault my gp surgery at all in fact I went in last Monday about some pains and bu Wednesday I'd been to the hospital for blood tests and an ultrasound back to the gp and referred for surgery.

I also gave birth 7 weeks ago and although it ended up being a traumatic birth with an extended stay I can't fault my local NHS one bit.

I know not everyone has had positive experiences with the NHS but I just wanted to put it out there that it's not all negative.

LunarGirl Thu 01-Feb-18 06:57:59

Why did you not find a private clinic? Why did the gp not give you a blood test form to take to the hospital? That's what mine do.
How did you discover there was lead in the paint? How recently did you strip the paint?
If it's true what you say, that once you have symptoms you're beyond help, and you already have symptoms then I presume the end is nearing for you? Surely the gp would have been more proactive than tell you to try again at A&E if you have indeed got lead poisoning symptoms?

Genuinely have many, many more questions but not sure if this is a wind up or not. You sound a little hysterical.

wtf2015 Thu 01-Feb-18 07:12:00

And this is partly why morale is so low in the NHS with doctors and nurses are leaving en masse. Can I suggest you go to a private GP? In any event that is all that will be left of primary care as demanding unreasonable and ignorant patients will have driven all the NHS staff away. angry

CandyMelts Thu 01-Feb-18 07:18:20

If you come across how you type then your superiority over northerners is why they're not friendly to you btw...

MaverickSnoopy Thu 01-Feb-18 07:18:22

I delayed addressing this issue because I knew it'd drive me up the wall trying to find anyone in the NHS to see at short notice let alone persuade them to give us the needed blood test.

If it's as urgent as you describe then you really lose any moral high ground by delaying going.

Anyway the NHS will crumble soon not helped by all the time wasters and so you won't have an NHS to moan about - you can pay for all the private treatment you want.

The NHS is amazing. It is also amazingly overstretched. I say this as someone who lost two family members through clear cut NHS negligence (demonstrated at inquest). Despite this I don't have anything bad to say about it.

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