"Asthma attack - Treated poorly"

This morning I was unfortunate enough to suffer an asthma attack. I was told to come straight in to the walk in centre and my wait would be 1-2 hours. I did just that, and on arrival I could see it was busy, lots of families, lots of sickness bugs and lots of colds. I was told by one receptionist ‘It’s a 4 hour wait’ when another receptionist said ‘Ah yes I spoke to you on the phone, we will put your details on and you may be seen quicker due to your breathing difficulties’.

So I waited for 2 hours initially. During this time I was teary and anxious, the feeling of breathlessness after such a scary incident is horrendous. Another issue was the disgusting hygiene. There was sick, and mucus on the floor left un-attended and un-cleaned. When someone went over to these areas, they merely put a yellow sign in front of it. Leaving it open in an environment where people are susceptible to further infection. A nurse also checked a baby’s bloody nappy next to me in the waiting room… In full view of everyone. To me this is not necessary, and completely inconsiderate. I appreciate the baby needed to be seen by a doctor, but surely for something so graphic the child should have been taken to a separate room, or sent to A&E. The lack of hygiene in this instance also horrified me.

After waiting for such a long time I asked the receptionist how long it would be (it had been over two hours now) and the not so pleasant person said ‘being slightly breathless isn’t a priority’. The slightly more pleasant member of staff then chimed in ‘ah the nurse would like to see you after their lunch break to assess your symptoms. Not too long, wait a little longer’. So I did… An extra 45 minutes. I notice that the nurse has seen 8 more people in this time (whilst I am still breathless). Becoming fed up, I walked up to reception (where a new pile of sick and phlegm resigned) and asked how long again and explained that with my asthma this bad, it makes me prone to secondary infections ‘2 hours. Have you got another disease, why are you so worried about catching infection?’ I explained that asthma can weaken the immune system ‘So what else is wrong?’ was the receptionist’s reply. I felt so let down, emotional, tired and still breathless. I felt embarrassed and disgusted by the environment around me. I told the ladies that I’d be going home as the environment is not clean, and not making me feel any better. I also explained that I was not prepared to wait for another 2 hours (after the three spent there), as I felt so unwell. They both perked at this point and took me off the list as quickly as they could. I am currently keeping my symptoms at bay with my inhaler until I can see my GP tomorrow. If it persists, I shall go to A&E instead. I do not want to waste hospital time, however, I am terrified that my issue wasn’t taken seriously, and they were prepared to keep me waiting, not relieving my symptoms.

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Responses

Response from Coventry NHS Healthcare & Walk in Centre

Thank you for sending us your message through NHS Choices. We aim to provide a great experience for everyone who uses our services and we are so sorry that you have not had such an experience. We have passed your comment directly onto the service manager, particularly the issues you have raised around staff attitude towards your issue and if you wish to be contacted back to discuss these concerns, please contact our Customer Services Team on customerservices@virgincare.co.uk or on 0300 303 9509.

Thanks again for your feedback.

Carol Dale, Lead for Customer Services

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