"A 4 hour wait in A&E"

About: Leicestershire County and Rutland PCT

(as the patient),

Mid week and my Husband collapses at home at 8pm in pain! Being a nurse I realise his condition has 2 potential diagnoses one which would require surgery relatively urgently the other can be treated with antibiotics. I phone NHS direct and communicate his condition where my diagnoses are confirmed so he will need to be seen by a doctor, but "good news" I am told we have an out of hours GP service at our local A&E and that they will contact the GP for him to phone us with his decision/recommendation. The duty GP indeed calls us straight back and recommends we visit the Out of Hours service where all my husbands details will be forwarded directly. At this point I am thinking great no long wait in A&E - but how wrong I was!.

We arrive at the GP service and wait a short while and after consultation my husband is again told he either has diagnoses a) or b), he will need to be seen by a surgeon for a decisions so will need to go round to A&E, at this point I think " well we should go through quickly because he has already been reviewed". At A&E we start the process all over again and by now it is 10pm when we enter the unit after being triaged by a nurse! (what is the purpose of this stage in the process I have no idea). We then wait an hour and get a nurse come to take bloods (unsuccessfully) and then nothing, I ask at the desk - "the specialist registrar will be with you soon". A&E is quiet and I notice that patients are moved around and their notes even more so with little or no activity. Trying to keep our spirits up I explain to my husband that a specialist registrar in Surgery should be a good sign. Well at 3hours of waiting we get seen by a phlebotomist to succeed in the blood sampling that had failed earlier. At 3hours and 56mins we are finally seen by the "specialist" who confirms the 2 diagnoses again and to my horror concludes that a Urologist will need to make the decision and they have called an ambulance to admit him to another hospital site! It gets worse.....

On admission he is seen by the staff who confirm the 2 options and proceed to declare that the Consultant will need to make the decision on his ward round in the morning. At 3am I finally go home.

At 8am my husband is seen by the consultant who decides it is good news and antibiotics will be all he needs and discharges him to wait for his antibiotics to the day room. At 4pm he is finally given his medication and during all of this time they did not even feed him as as far as they were concerned he was discharged.

I find this extremely frustrating from a service point of view and am embarrassed to say I am linked to this profession - at what point did we decide that the NHS could be run like an internet bank with its call centre in India!

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