"Terrible service for my skin condition"

About: Southern General Hospital / Dermatology Victoria Infirmary / Dermatology

(as the patient),

I feel the nhs services I've used are beyond useless for me. I have lived with severe atopic eczema since 2 years of age. My treatment has basically been the same even though it is evident that it was and has never has been the right treatment.

In the past 3 years I have had two severe infections of eczema that my own GP did not and would not deal with.

I went countless times about constant flare ups that were causing me so much pain and distress that it meant i was absent from study/work. Three years ago I had an infection so bad I could not walk (was on legs). I feel my Gp had became so lazy by this stage that I was being diagnosed over the phone. I was given the wrong medication, and the GP insisted that If i used Bactroband (an antibacterial ointment) then it would help. But as the infection had spread and was so bad i had fever and swollen nodes I took seriously ill very quick and took myself to the Victoria Infirmary, where I had to take a taxi and literally crawl into A and E. I waited about 2 hours and when i saw a nurse I was asked me what did I expect them to do about it and was told to go back to my Gp and get a referral for a dermatology appointment. I told them that my GP wasn't doing this and begged them to check my blood pressure as i was feeling faint. My bp was taken reluctantly I felt and then they proceeded to chuck and I mean chuck a packet of antibiotics at tell me there was no dermatology unit in the Victoria as I asked if i could see someone that day. This, I later found out was a lie.

A week after this with the infection now spread head to toe I was literally screaming in pain. I went to my GP and thank goodness they were on holiday, as i got to see a locum doc who had one look at me and couldnt believe it. The locum changed the antiobiotic to a stronger dose and gave me additional meds, stronger steroids, pain med and anti histimine and sent a letter for an emergency derm appoint,

A month later of pain i got better and 3 months after the locum saw me I still had damaged skin and the dermatologist similarly couldnt believe it had got this bad unnessesarily. I was prescribed steroids but they also insisted i go on immunosuppressants. I again had a flare up but did have a period of good health for a few months.

I stopped seeing my derm doc for a year, frustrated that my other conditions of chronic asthma and allergies were not being investigated and felt that the medications to keep my skin at bay where having bad side effects that again never once got explained properly to me.

This year again going to the same GP about stomach probs. I've nagged for allergy testing, to which the doctor demanded to know what foods i "thought were a problem" that showed up milk and wheat. I asked for a dietician and got refused.

Earlier this year my stomach probs and flare ups were so bad I again took ill. The infection this time was the same as last so i knew i had to get antibiotics, My gp agreed i was infected again and gave the same antibiotic as last time. However, this time these drugs didnt help, i also contracted a bad ear infection. I called my GP and was told that additional antibiotics prescription would be left at the desk. When I arrived that day I asked to see the Gp as it seemed i was on 3 kinds of antibiotics that werent really helping.

The reception called the doctor who said they didn't have time to see me. I insisted and was seen, reluctantly. When the doctor saw me and exclaimed "you look bad" , realised that the 3 antiobiotics i was on wasnt the right combination so these were changed to amoxicillin and a even higher dose of flucloxicillin.

A week later, with my whole body burning and with countless attempts to control this by myself withs painful baths and steroid creams I took myself to the Victoria inf out of hours service. I had to show photos of how bad i was, and the doc there was concerned it had gone into the blood. They had to call a dermatologist to come out and see me, who insisted i be admitted that night.

There were no beds availible ( as was the case the last time) so I had to take a whole heap of drugs to sustain me as the poor docs that night had to pull strings to get me hospital treatment the next morning at the Southern General .Turns out that if after a month and a half of being on the same antibiotic it wasnt the right one for this infection.

My treament that was arranged was to come to the Southern Gen every morning for almost two weeks to get steroid creams applied and other barrier creams with bandages and take blood to check for bacteria. I didnt even know it could get that serious and this wasnt explained to me. It was exhausting and costly to get taxis to and from the hospital as i live almost 20 miles away. I did get better but I felt cheated in that 1.my Gp could have avoided me becoming this bad. I wasn't checked or asked me to come in to the surgery 2. I had no rest travelling to and from hospital everyday and i felt i got substandard treatment.

As it is I'm still fighting this infection. I have went from being a happy student with a pt job to housebound. Steroids have ruined my skin and I was also never told that the oral steroids i had for 2 weeks had side effects, even when i asked the consultant. I am still trying to get allergy test, still trying to get patch test, still asking what happened to the swabs and blood they took. In my situation communication in the NHS has been terrible and quite honestly if i didn't have my wits about me and take action myself i think i would be a dead woman by now.

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