My twenty year old son developed a pain in one side of his head yesterday, worse behind his ear, but spreading. Being a Sunday there was no GP available, and he said it wasn’t bad enough to go to the hospital, so he took advice from his pharmacist brother who diagnosed a probable ear infection.
This morning at a couple of minutes after 8.30 I took him to the surgery, where he was told that the lady in front of him had taken the last appointment for today and he would have to come back on Wednesday (oh yes). Again he said it wasn’t bad enough to bother the hospital A&E, and of course our Minor Injuries Unit is not functioning. I went off to work, and had a phone call from him a bit later saying he had rung the MIU and NHS Direct and they had got an appointment for him with his GP.
Now you may ask why it needs such lengths to get an appointment - I certainly did. A severe pin in the head and you are told to wait two days before you can see anyone.
Anyway, he saw the locum GP – can’t expect to have anyone permanent around here after all, and was given some antibiotics, and migraine tablets, with little explanation as to what she thought the problem was, but made mutterings about an ear infection.
He took the prescribed pills but by 9 o’clock tonight it was worse – so much so that he asked me to take him to the hospital.
We arrived to find a sign telling people they may be redirected to somewhere more appropriate (such as where? A vet?) and the approximate waiting time was 5 hours.
Whilst waiting a poor old dear was brought in, in a wheelchair, by paramedics. She was plonked in the corridor, although the para did get her a blanket. She was on her own and very frail looking. She asked for something to rest her foot on as it was hurting too much dangling as it was, only to be told they didn’t have stools, but somebody would see her soon.
My son was called to see the triage nurse, a somewhat stroppy individual who more or less accused him of wasting her time, as it was only earache and a matter for the GP. And anyway she was just about to change the waiting time to 7 hours. Just how a patient is supposed to tell that a severe pain which suddenly increased in severity is ‘just earache’ without a medical opinion?
I wonder if the poor old dear with the injured foot is still waiting. And will anyone bother to check that she is ok, doesn’t need a drink or to go to the loo, or will she just sit there on her own for 5 – or 7 – hours.
So glad Labour are protecting our services. They will be so much better I am sure when they close one of the A&E departments – then patients can have the pleasure of travelling further as well. Great stuff. Well done the Labour party.