"Walk in"

About: North Tyneside General Hospital

My daughter took a nasty fall downstairs at about 8pm last night. She was in agony and crying with the pain (she's 13) she managed to stand up but was very stiff and in loads of pain, as we drive, we decided to drive her to hospital instead of wasting an ambulance on her, when I'm sure they are needed elsewhere. Although Cramlington hospital is closer we decided it she wasn't seriously ill/injured (which is what Cramlington hospital is for) and took her to North Tyneside. We checked her in at 8.45. She was in agony trying to sit/stand in the waiting area. People came in after her and got seen within half an hour and sent home (we later found out they'd phoned 111 and got given an appointment, hence pushing in!!!). So at 11.30 we asked how much longer we'd have to wait for her to be seen. We were told it would be another 3.5hrs!!! as she wasn't classed as a priority. We made the decision to discharge her, as felt she would be better off lying down in bed with painkillers than waiting another 3 hours in an uncomfortable waiting room. As we tried to discharge her we were made aware that they thought our decision was wrong and that she should be x-rayed given her symptoms. I tried to state that if her condition was that serious surely then she'd be a higher priority! We were then advised to go to Cramlington hospital to be seen quicker!!!! Now this is where my real problem lies.

Not the fact that she had already waited 3 hrs to be seen, the fact that we were told to go to the emergency specialist hospital (for seriously ill/injured people, as the NHS keep drumming into us!!) We could have gone there straight away, as I say it's closer, but didn't want to go there as we didn't feel her sore back is life threatening, so didn't want to waste their time.

I feel for the NHS, as I understand they're understaffed etc... but to spend money on advertising to make people aware not to use Cramlington hospital unless absolutely necessary, then to advise someone to go there as they'll be seen quicker is just wrong and sending out the wrong message.

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Response from North Tyneside General Hospital

Dear Sir/Madam,

Firstly, please let me apologise for the fact that you have waited far longer for a response than we would have liked.

Without wishing to make excuses, winter has been an exceptionally busy period for us and the wider NHS. Whilst we aim to prioritise patients as quickly as possible, we understand that current demands on the service mean that, unfortunately, we haven’t always got this right. Please be assured that we are as disappointed with this as you are, and as a result we are in the middle of an urgent review to ensure that we successfully manage the pressures on urgent and emergency care without compromising the high standards our patients have a right to expect.

I am genuinely sorry that we didn’t meet your daughter’s needs and can imagine how hard it was to watch your little girl wait in pain. I can also fully appreciate why you found the conflicting information about where best to go so confusing. We are committed to ensuring that everyone has a good and reliable awareness of the best place to receive appropriate and timely treatment – but we need to do more .

Please get in touch with me directly Annie.laverty@nhct.nhs.uk and we can talk through this more in-depth. I can also put you in touch with senior leaders within emergency care so that you can hear first-hand all that the Trust is doing to manage activity and efficient flow through our hospitals.

I hope that your daughter is feeling a lot better, I looking forward to hearing from you.

With best wishes,


Annie Laverty - Director of Patient Experience

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