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Bloody NHS!

(17 Posts)
gingerbear Mon 21-Feb-05 10:13:41

DD woke in the early hours of Saturday morning in floods of tears and lots of pain with an earache. Dosed her with calpol and rang our docs on Saturday morning. Emergency surgery no longer open on Saturdays, rang alternative number - no reply. Neighbour suggested clinic near hospital. Took her in the car. The clinic had a locked door and intercom buzzer.
me "DD is in lots of pain, can I see a GP now please"
ever so helpful jobsworth on other end of intercom "no sorry, you must have an appointment, please ring the number"
me "can't you let me in to wait?"
them "no sorry, call the number and we will put you on the waiting list"

I stood outside the clinic and rang the number, they took DD's details, then said that a doctor would ring me back in 20 minutes. Half an hour later I got a call on mobile, but the line went dead. Rang back again several times- could not get through!

Was furious by that stage. In the end drove to mum's doctors, where there was a nurse and an emergency doc, DD had a burst eardrum, and managed to get antibiotics.

All this took me 4 hours on Saturday morning.

I hate the NHS!

nailpolish Mon 21-Feb-05 10:16:28

omg poor poor you and dd

its bloody ridiculous, its like the nhs shuts down at the weekends.

these doctors get paid enough as well

lockets Mon 21-Feb-05 10:20:11

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FairyMum Mon 21-Feb-05 10:22:42

Same here this weekend. Took me 8 hours to get to see a doctor. Hate NHS too!

Hulababy Mon 21-Feb-05 10:23:37

Oh no. Your poor DD. How is she now? Send her mine and DD's love

lockets Mon 21-Feb-05 10:25:20

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gingerbear Mon 21-Feb-05 10:45:51

thanks Hula, once the gunk came streaming out she was much better. She slept for most of Saturday afternoon too and is much brighter now.

I was right outside A and E when I phoned the clinic, but knew that I would be waiting in there for hours too.

lockets Mon 21-Feb-05 10:49:36

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gingerbear Mon 21-Feb-05 10:59:58

lockets, perhaps it would be the same at A and E here. But an ear infection isn't an A and E case is it?
Just annoyed that I had to drive 9 miles to get to see a doctor at all. Our docs had an emergency surgery up until 6 months ago. If there was only one or two busy GPs I could understand it, but there are 8 of them in the practice - why couldn't they do a rota?

lockets Mon 21-Feb-05 11:03:36

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Tissy Mon 21-Feb-05 11:11:45

Gps are now allowed to opt out of emergency cover, if they want to, but I suspect that your GPs are doing the emergency cover from the clinic at the hospital. That's what happens in our area- all calls come in to the clinic, and are triaged to decide if you a) need a visit, b) can travel to the clinic, c) need an ambulance to A+E. Unfortunately the locked door at the clinic and the jobsworth at the end of the intercom (probably a nurse)is not "the NHS" but necessary to protect the staff from violence and abuse.

It's sad, and an abuse of the system, but in your shoes, I think I would have pitched up at A+E and explained the story, children in pain rarely have to wait "hours".

Hope your dd is recovering now.

Nik72 Mon 21-Feb-05 11:19:02

The new GP contract last year allowed GPs to opt out of providing out of hours cover and most have now stopped doing saturday mornings. At the same time, NHS 24 took over handling all out of hours calls. It's still GPs actually providing the cover as a lot have opted to continue (they lose pay if they don't) but they don't screen the calls or decided who needs visits etc, that's all done by NHS 24, which (IMHO) leads to a vastly inferior service. NHS 24 is costing the country an absolute fortune too.

morningpaper Mon 21-Feb-05 11:34:22

I've always found the out of hours service to be pretty good. Sounds like you just had a twat on the reception. I would have just gone to A&E and spoken to a paed.

gingerbear Mon 21-Feb-05 12:02:46

Didn't realise GPs could opt out. I suspect that Tissy is correct, that some of our GPs are still doing out of hours cover but via a centralised service.
I understand about the need for the clinic to be security conscious - what a sad state of affairs. And very frustrating if you are desperate to see a doc.

Why is there nothing in the surgery (poster, leaflet etc) explaining what to do for a weekend emergency? i.e. don't turn up at the clinic without an appointment.(Saturday surgery used to be turn up and wait)
Why does the recorded message from the surgery not give more details other than "The surgery is closed, please ring xxxxxx for emergencies."
Why is there just one emergency number? - I tried to call back a dozen times and did not get through. (Was cut off each time whilst listening to recorded message asking me to "please hold")
I have used NHS Direct before and they have been helpful. Is that the same as NHS24?

Tissy Mon 21-Feb-05 19:28:24

NHS24 is the Scottish equivalent of NHS Direct.

Out of interest, I picked up a leaflet at our surgery this afternoon, and it says for emergencies: " there is ALWAYS a doctor available" and gives the out of hours number to ring- this gets you through to ADOC, the centralized out of hours service, and a nurse will ring you back. If he/ she can't decide on priority, a doctor will ring you back to decide whether a visit is necessary, or whatever.

Sounds like your practice needs to update its information, in the light of the recent change to their service. Why not give the practice manager a ring, explain what happened to you and discuss the arrangements for emergency cover? If they have recently changed from Saturday surgery to no service at all, then it would have been better if all patients registered received a letter. After all, those people who do not frequently visit the doctors may have missed any notices.

SofiaAmes Mon 21-Feb-05 21:03:24

gingerbear, I always took my ds to paediatric a&e when he had ear infections out of hours. My current gp's are very good, but since the new contract they have had to close their saturday morning surgery because they can no longer afford to do it. (I complained when they first did it and the practice manager explained to me about the small print in the contract that takes the control away from the gp's and means that they can't afford to do the saturday surgery..I can't remember exactly how it worked, but it made sense when she explained it). In any case, you should complain to the practice manager at your surgery. If you make your complaint calmly and reasonably, they should listen. Perhaps they are unaware of the gap in the coverage.

gingerbear Tue 22-Feb-05 12:08:34

Tissy and Sofia, thanks. I will write to the practice manager. I bet there are many people like me who don't use the docs frequently and were not aware of the changes due to lack of a letter.

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