"My experience of NHS out of hours service"

About: London St George's Hospital (Tooting) / Accident and emergency

(as the patient),

I found myself on a bank holiday with the worst sore throat I have ever experienced. I could not swallow and I could hardly breath (I have asthma).

I called my GP surgery and got a recorded message referring me to the 111 helpline. I rang them and got through fairly quickly. I spoke to someone who asked mostly sensible questions (some were irrelevant), who then made an appointment with an emergency GP service at my local A&E.

I was feeling extremely unwell, having been in bed for 3 days (something I was not actually asked about), but I dragged myself to the appointment. There I saw a doctor for approximately three minutes. The doctor looked at my throat and proscribed antibiotics. The doctor did not give me a diagnosis or any advice.

When my husband cashed the prescription (which could not be done at the hospital, so he had to find a chemist open on a bank holiday) the antibiotics were in capsule form, which I could not swallow. The drugs were available as a liquid, but the chemist could not alter the prescription. The next day I telephoned my GP and got the liquid form. I knew from past experience that I needed steroids, but my GP insisted I come in and be seen, which could not be done until the following day.

When I was seen, two days after I phoned 111, I was prescribed steroids. I consider that the doctor I saw as a result of the 111 call could and should have inquired into my past history and could and should prescribed steroids in the first place. Although I am much better, I am still not completely well two and a half weeks later.

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Response from St George's Healthcare NHS Trust

Thank you for taking the time to post your comments about your visit to the Urgent Care Centre based at St. George's Hospital A&E department. We are sorry to hear that you are still unwell.

Your comments will be sent to the A&E department where the Out of Hours GP in the Urgent Care Centre is based. However, on making enquiries the email address for Care Uk was povided to us. If you want to make a complaint about the Out of Hours GP. The GP service is not managed by St. George's University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

The email contact is careuk.westlondon@nhs.net

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Update posted by nottreatedasaperson (the patient)

Life is too short to spend my time making complaints, especially when one is passed from pillar to post. You should care about everything that happens in your A&E, whoever provides it. I called 111 in order not to waste A&E's time, but found myself in A&E anyway. Now I found it wasn't really A&E. When you're ill, you don't really care about the bureaucracy, you just want to be looked after. I don't think I was very well looked after, but your sending me someone else before I can get listened to doesn't really help.