About: Grantham & District Hospital Grantham & District Hospital Grantham NG31 8DG
I injured my knee at work, which resulted in it swelling up, stiffening and sporadically locking up. Not wishing to waste the time of hospital medical staff by a potentially needless visit to A&E, I took ibuprofen and waited for the swelling to go down. It did do, but the locking issue became worse over the next couple of days - walking up stairs and even putting socks on became a painful and slow task. The same knee was operated on around 12 months ago for cartilage damage. Due to this, I made the decision to attend a minor injury clinic after work, but because I live in a rural area, all the nearby places were closed, or didn't have x-ray facilities. I followed the "symptom checker" on the NHS Direct website, which suggested I attend A&E. My nearest was Grantham - the other alternative being the QMC in Nottingham, where you're often forced to endure a minimum 2-hour waiting time. I telephoned Grantham A&E beforehand, and was politely informed they were not particularly busy. As such, I attended, and was placed in a queue with two others - a man who had mild sunburn, and a woman who had accidentally spilt a small amount of superglue onto her hand. After a 45 minute wait, I was invited into a room with a nurse and doctor. I explained the situation, and the nurse exchanged a slight smile and a "knowing glance" with the doctor, who suddenly took over. I was bluntly told there was nothing they could do for me, and I should make an appointment with my GP, who would refer me... you guessed it! Back to the hospital. I was told A&E was not the place for such an issue, and my disappointment was clearly evident, because the doctor immediately offered me painkillers. I told him I didn't want painkillers, but this didn't stop him repeatedly offering me a variety of paracetamol, ibuprofen, cocodamol and whatever else. The entire assessment lasted around 4 minutes max - a mere 240 seconds. This left me feeling undervalued, undignified and disappointed. I felt like I had been labelled a "waste of time", and absolutely no consideration was given to my immediate future mobility, and the damage I could be causing by continuing to walk/run/climb stairs etc. I felt as though the painkillers were offered as an unnecessary pacifier, and considering this is probably only the third time I've ever attended A&E in my life (I'm 30) it was the nail in the coffin for the NHS, as far as I'm concerned. This, combined with a previously bad experience at Newark A&E (as it used to be) has resulted in me signing up with BUPA. I certainly wouldn't waste my time with the NHS again - if you don't have a serious injury, there's a gaping hole for immediate care in the system. So, to sum things up - I attended A&E for a painful, locking joint injury affecting my mobility. I paid £1.20 for parking, but was basically told to go away, however two other patients with (what I would deem to be) less severe issues than mine, were happily treated and sent on their way. Wholly unimpressed.