"Coming to A&E a total waste of time"

About: St George's Hospital (Tooting) (London)

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We came to A&E at St. Georges in the middle of the night last week because my 3 y.o. child had a severe case of worms that had gone undetected by our GP and she had not been sleeping for two nights and kept crying all the time. I called in advance to ask whether it was ok to come for this and was told to go ahead. We came to the hospital, registered and were sent to pediatrics to be seen, where we waited for 45 min. (which is completely fine and understandable) to see the nurse. My first shock came when I was told that they wouldn't give her any treatment that night because the pharmacy was closed (surely the nurse could have told me this over the phone) and offered instead to give her painkillers (for worms?). I was then faced with the choice of waiting for another couple of hours to see a doctor who'd give her a prescription but no medicines, or (as per their recommendation) to come back the next morning to get a proper examination, the prescription, treatment, and, potentially, seen by a specialist given that the symptoms seemed to be extreme. Given how late it was and the options, we decided to go home. I asked repeatedly whether coming back to A&E in the morning was not going to be a problem for something so small, but was assured that it would be fine, that all files would be transferred so that we didn't have to register again (although we'd have to see the nurse again), and that they wouldn't send us away. As it happened, we ended up spending 5 hours at A&E the next morning - the papers couldn't be found, so we had to re-register; the case was deemed non-urgent, and we were repeatedly asked why we had come to A&E instead of going to our GP (!). What's more, the doctor performed only a routine examination, didn't collect any specimens and, of course, did not refer us to a specialist. He then prescribed a standard dosage of the usual medicine despite our concerns that it wouldn't be enough. As a result, we had to endure three more nights of excruciating pain for my daughter and worms that wouldn't go away. Fortunately, we were able to secure the right medication from a relative, which sorted the problem right away. On balance, although the staff were extremely courteous and kind, I didn't get a sense that they were listening to what I was telling them. They was also an extreme lack of coordination between the night and the day shift, as was evidenced by the events the next morning, and, quite frankly, complete disrespect for us as patients. Surely they can't believe that we enjoy spending our time in A&E! We wouldn't have come at all had they told us not to in the first instance, and we certainly wouldn't have come the next morning hadn't we been reassured that this was the appropriate thing to do. Finally, the fact that the medication dosage was completely wrong for my daughter is just appalling. I certainly won't be coming to St. George's again, and will look for an alternative service where the fundamentals are sound.

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Responses

Response from St George's Healthcare NHS Trust

Thank you for taking the time to post feedback about your experience at St George’s Hospital. We are sorry that the experience was poor If you would like to talk to us about the service you received and if you have not done so already, then please contact the PAL Service at pals@stgeorges.nhs.uk or on 020 8725 2453.

Your comments will be sent to the Matron and staff in A&E.

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