"A positive experience of the paramedics, but mixed of A&E"

About: Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh at Little France / Accident & Emergency Scottish Ambulance Service

(as the patient),

Having written previously here about a bad experience I am more than pleased to be writing again and with such a positive story to tell.

I was taken suddenly unwell at home and upon calling NHS24 was sent an emergency response, within minutes a solo paramedic in a car arrived and very calmly and competently began assessing me. After he got me more stable he requested an ambulance to attend and again within minutes the two paramedics arrived. There was no fuss, no messing about and I felt absolutely that I could trust them in what was for me a very scary situation.

I was having trouble breathing and was given nebulised drugs and oxygen to try and stabilise things before deciding what action needed to be taken.

They decided that a trip to A+E was warranted and so I went with them to hospital. Throughout my time with them I was treated with the utmost dignity and respect, I have nothing but praise for the three paramedics involved in my care and treatment. Also, NHS24 call taker and nurse deserve recognition for their role in getting me the assistance that I required so quickly.

Unfortunately I cannot be quite as positive regarding my A+E experience. I was left sitting in quite an uncomfortable hospital wheelchair and my presence was not acknowledged by any member of staff for approximately 5-10 minutes.

One of the staff members on shift was the same person with whom I encountered a problem during my previous visit to A+E and although I have received an apology and put that behind me it became clear that she has been unable to do similar. I heard her remark to a colleague that I am a very frequent attender at A+E and there is never actually anything wrong with me. Considering it is February and my last attendance was in October 2011 I do not consider myself to be there 'frequently'. I feel this compromised my care and this feeling is backed up by not being spoken to by any nurse during my time in the department this time.

Thankfully the Dr who came to assess and treat me was exceptional. At one point I asked him if it would be okay to be given a glass of water and he brought me it himself. A small thing but one which I was very grateful for. The Dr then needed me to have a chest x-ray and the radiographer was also very diligent, calm and understanding. These two members of staff made me feel much less of a time-waster than the nurse I overheard making that highly critical and negative comment.

Aside from the attitude of the nursing staff I absolutely commend all of the medical staff involved in my assessment, care and treatment this time. Sadly, that negative comment will be one thing that stands out in my mind and like last time I had to visit A+E it has dissuaded me from asking for help. When a Dr has to bring a patient a glass of water because no nurse will talk to them then the time really has come for a major shake-up in the system.

I will be commencing a course of radiotherapy treatment for a brain tumour in the coming fortnight, I have to hope and pray that I don't end up in A+E for any reason as I now actually fear it.

However, I would feel completely safe in the hands of any paramedic and the same is true of the front-line Drs.

Do you have a similar story to tell? Tell your story & make a difference ››


Response from Sharon Hammell, Head of Corporate Affairs and Engagement, Scottish Ambulance Service

Hello again

thank you for sharing your recent experience of the Scottish Ambulance Service. It's encouraging to hear that we responded quickly, and that we cared for your with dignity and respect. I will share your feedback with staff, and wish you all the best with your radiotherapy treatment.

  • {{helpful}} of {{total()}} people think this response is helpful