"Walk in centre at Hallamshire Hospital"

About: Walk-in Centre

(as the patient),

I recently visited the Walk in Centre at The Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield as i could not get an appointment with my own GP that day. I went because i had a high temperature and a rash on my chest and back area which i felt was cause for concern.

When i got to the Hospital i did not know where the walk in centre was situated as the signs were not very clear, i asked a member of staff who was very helpful and took me there herself. Once i got there the receptionist was also very helpful and advised me immediately that the wait at that time was 90 minutes, she also asked me what my visit was regarding so she could assess how urgently i needed to see someone and to make sure i had come to the correct department and i didn't need to go to A & E. The receptionist then proceeded to hand me a feedback form to fill out in my own time.

I was waiting approximately 2 hours to see a doctor which i felt was an excessive amount of time because it was not particularly busy. Once i was called i went into the room and i was asked what my problem was, when i said i had a rash they immediately said that there wasn't anything that they could do for me as the rash could have been caused by a number of things, i then went on to explain that i had a temperature and a sore throat, the doctor quickly checked to see if the rash blanched when she put pressure on it which it did so this indicated it was not a meningitis rash. The doctor then repeated that there was nothing that they could do and if i wanted more help to see my own GP, the consultation lasted approximately 2 minutes and i did not feel as though they cared about my problem at all, they didn't list any reasons why i might have had the rash they did not ask me if i was on any medication at the time or if it flared up after eating certain foods, basically it felt to me as though they wanted me out of the room as fast as possible. The doctor did say to take some anti histamines but it might not make a difference.

After they had told me that they couldn't help the doctor asked me my age, when i replied that i was 21 the doctor asked if i would like to take a free Chlamydia test, i do think that this is a good idea because of the amount of people nowadays who do have STI's so i agreed to have the test, they showed me exactly what to do and when i handed the sample back to the doctor she said i would receive the results within the next few weeks.

All in all i do feel as if the visit was a waste of time because all they told me to do was to see my own GP when the whole reason i was there was because my GP was unable to see me that day.

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Responses

Response from Michael Bond

Thank you for your story and the comments you have made. It will help us to improve our service in the future.

Our service is led by nurses and there are no doctors at the Walk-in Centre based at the Royal Hallamshire. The same is true of the Minor Injuries Unit next door.

Our aim is to see patients as quickly as possible - within 20 minutes if an emergency is identified at the reception desk. Otherwise our aim is to see all patients within 4 hours, which in most cases is still quicker than accessing your own GP, although you have to sit and wait during this time.

You may appreciate that in order to deliver value for money in the NHS the service is limited in the number of staff we have at any one time. We are also currently engaged in a programme of education to train nurses to become practitioners and this is explained on a notice in the centre. Whilst the nurses are in training, although there may appear to be large numbers of staff, some of them have to be supervised. The speed of consultation may also be longer as a consequence. If you were affected by this, I apologise for this temporary inconvenience.

Your consultation should have been comprehensive and include taking a full medical history, history of complaint and examination prior to offering a clinical impression or diagnosis with treatment and/or advice. On average, around 20 minutes is allowed for this.

If you feel that your consultation fell below this standard, please write to me at

Sheffield NHS Walk-in Centre,

'B' Floor, Royal Hallamshire Hospital

Sheffield S10 2JF

clearly stating your name and date of attendance and I will investigate further.

Most minor illnesses will resolve without any action being taken or treatment needed. However all consultations should end with a "safety-net" in that the clinician will discuss what the worrying signs might be and what should be done in that case. Seeing your own GP may well have been one of these options.

Rashes are often not straight forward, but it sounds as though we were able to exclude miningitis on this occasion. I hope that you went on to make a full recovery.

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