"A&E - pointless 4 hour wait leading to nothing"
About: Chelsea & Westminster Hospital Chelsea & Westminster Hospital London SW10 9NH
I visited the Chelsea and Westminster A&E because of persistent and very uncomfortable numbing in my left arm that kept getting worse over a period of two weeks and a feeling of being very unwell, feeling dizzy and nauseated. I suffer from very high blood pressure as an effect from large kidney cysts and perhaps this was the reason for my situation. Arriving at C&W's emergency department I got called for paperwork within 15 minutes. But to see an actual doctor I waited for 3 hours and 40 minutes. Not a single person in the waiting room was called during that time which surprised all of us. They told us they had "lunch break". During the examination the doctor did not seem to know what to ask or much about my symptoms. He was constantly running to ask questions to a senior in the department and I could hear them talk behind the curtain. So I took a closer look at his badge to see his name only to discover that he was a Plastic Surgeon. He was not even trained in emergency care. The hospital was using a plastic surgeon in the emergency department! I asked to see the doctor in charge of the department. The doctor finally explained in much more knowledgeable terms what could be my health problems. The only problem was, there was nothing they could do. In the UK your GP, who has no specialized knowledge at all, is basically the overlord of all your medical decisions. I explained that I had been feeling extremely ill and the GP always trivialized my condition and never responded by sending me for any specialized exams or tests. I felt I received no solution to my health problems. The ER (A&E) doc told me that "many, many" of his patients seemed to have the same complaint about their GP. Because of the poor structure of the system in the UK, the A&E submits a letter to the GP who is suppose to take further action. How is this sensible for patients to wait for two weeks to hear from a GP - who doesn't have the skills or do anything anyways? I feel I had nowhere to turn to get my condition sorted out. My poor health affects every stage of my life now and I have energy to function only 3-4 hours in a day. I'm in a dead end situation. I guess my only option is to either try and save enough money to proper care in another country, like Germany or Switzerland, or simply do nothing until - I suppose - I have a heart attack or renal failure. That's the situation I am still in. I have zero confidence in the British medical care services after experiencing it first hand. It is by far the worse I have come across in the five countries I have lived in and on par with the third world.