"Proof this A&E is a token medical service - go to..."

About: West Middlesex University Hospital

(I have chronical back issues that have bothered me for the past 30 years.) I woke up at 5.30 am with a back pain that had significantly deteriorated from the day before. Although I was suggested by friends AND my GP to go to Kingston rather than WM because it is a more competent facility, due to WM's proximity to my home and the urgency of need of medical intervention, I still went there. Registration was fast (it was 6 am by the time I got there), however, it took 20 minutes for me to see a nurse. Now although I concede this might be a quick response in an A&E, it was 6 am on a Monday morning, and to my consternation, I don't know why it took 20 minutes for me to go through (i) when no patient had come out during my wait (they weren't busy with anyone else) and (ii) when I went into the unit, there were enough staff present (7-8 nurses visible) that we're chatting and just "milling around", I can only hypothesise at the response time if the A&E were jam packed, as they usually are. After listening to my story, the nurse told me that I should go home and take paracetamol and ibuprofen and just wait for it to get better. I had to pay a total of 22 GBP in taxi fares to and from, due to my reduced mobility, to (i) not see doctor and (ii) be given a verdict/diagnosis that I myself, without medical training, had concluded and told them had not worked and would not work. Upon requesting that I would like a prescription for a stronger pain killer, I was told by the nurse that ibuprofen and paracetamol were strong enough. After asking whether I could still see a doctor, I was told that this was all the recommendation I would be given. I had to go squeeze between 2 other patients at my GP in order to get pain killers. The problem ultimately got worse, and I was put off work for 5 days, hobbling around the house in pain. My 2-cents worth is go to Kingston, this A&E might only be meant to be used when you're rolled in by an ambulance at which time - I hope - they will offer something that can be identified and labelled as medical assistance. Otherwise, suffer in pain (and as other posts seem to indicate) waste your time, energy and patience coming here. Conclusion: this A&E is mediocrity, at best, but "token" in my opinion and experience.

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Responses

Response from West Middlesex University Hospital

Thank you for your feedback. Based on the information given it seems most likely that you were seen in the Hounslow Urgent Care Centre, at the front of our A&E Department. Although this is based at our hospital it is actually run by a separate organisation. If you would like them to investigate the issues you have raised, so that they can give you a detailed response, please contact them via pals.hrch@nhs.net / Free phone 0800 953 0363. Information about the most appropriate NHS services to use can be found on our website at: www.west-middlesex-hospital.nhs.uk/patients-and-visitors/nhs-services-explained/ Generally, you should only visit A&E or call 999 for life-threatening emergencies, such as: loss of consciousness; acute confused state and fits that are not stopping; persistent, severe chest pain; breathing difficulties; severe bleeding that cannot be stopped. The Urgent Care Centre should only be used if you require urgent medical attention and cannot be seen by your registered GP. For chronic (long term) health conditions your GP is normally the best place to go.