"Unacceptable waiting times and policy."

About: Glasgow Royal Infirmary / General Surgery NHS 24 Stobhill Hospital / General Surgery

(as the patient),

My experience with the NHS was pretty poor.

Having experienced abdominal pain and fever over a weekend, and it not having eased on Monday, I called NHS-24 At about 11pm on a monday night. They told me to immediately attend GEMS (out of hours service) at my local hospital where I was seen by a doctor who diganosed a possible appendicitis. The hospital where GEMS is located is non-surgical so the Dr sent me immediately to glasgow's flagship hospital, Glasgow Royal Infirmary (GRI). He gave me a letter to hand in saying I needed priority assessment and also phoned the receiving surgeon at GRI and asked them to see me immediately.

On arrival to GRI the reception staff took some details and asked me to wait in the waiting area. This was now about 12: 15AM on Tuesday morning. About 1 hour later I was seen by a triage nurse, who did not examine my abdomen at all, just took my temperature and blood pressure and sent me back to the waiting are.

After a further 2 hours in the waiting area I was getting weaker and weaker and my pain was steadily getting worse and worse. At about 3am I asked my wife to go see what was happening as I could no longer sit, I was about to pass out and needed somewhere to lie down. They told me I'd be seen soon.

About 3: 15am I was called through to A&E and put on a trolley. A nurse took my obs and also took a blood sample. I did not see a doctor at that point. No one examined my abdomen. I was literally rolling in pain on the trolley and no one came toassess me. At about 6am a trainee nurse came to take my obs again and we begged her to find a doctor so I could be seen. (We were also told we needed another blood sample because the first one had not been analysed and had 'gone off'. ) The nurse literally grabbed a Doctor by the elbow and brought them to me. Appendicitis was diagnosed and an emergency theatre slot booked. I was prescribed Morphine for pain release. At about 8AM I was given more morphine and was told I'd be going to theatre soon. About 10am a bed became available on a ward and instead of going to theatre I was sent there. A doctor on the ward cancelled the theatre slot and and refused to give me any further pain relief until I'd been seen by the consultant. We were told we'd just have to wait. I was in the most unimaginable pain, struggling to stay conscious and just wanted to die by this point. I told my wife I couldn't take any more and wanted to slip away. She insisted that the doctor do something NOW due to the condition I was in. She knows me well and could see I was fading fast. Reluctantly the doctor contacted the consultant who again diagnosed either appendicitis, peritonitis or a ruptured bowel.

I was in such a state that he gave me an immediate morphine shot in the arm and sent me to theatre as an emergency. It took the NHS over 11 hours from first presenting to them with abdominal pains to being properly diagnosed. 10 hours in the GRI before being seen by the person who had any authority to do anything. 7 Hours on a trolley with no pain relief. I can tell you without any exaggeration that I got to theatre with no time to spare. What was supposed to be a 45 Minute operation to remove appendix with laparoscopy took over 4 hours due to complications in surgery. We believe this was because the appendix had ruptured and spilled in the abdominal cavity and also due to the advanced gangrenous state of the appendix.

Post-surgery the care from the nurses and ward staff was fantastic - they could not have been better.

* It should not have taken 11 hours to have been given a diagnosis.

* The first blood sample should have been analysed and that would have shown the seriousness of my condition.

* The diagnosis of the Doctor at GEMS and the Dcotor in A&E were not believed and ignored.

* The priority letter from the doctor at GEMS was ignored.

* The first blood sample was ignored.

I believe a huge contributing factor was the use of the 'NEWS SCORE' as a means of assessment. If like me you are normally strong and fit and can put a fight against pain then the NEWS SCORE will let you down. You can easily be at deaths door and still get a NEWS SCORE of only 0 or 1

I believe GRI has a policy of not letting you see a surgeon until a bed is available.

Post-op I developed a wound infection and had to be re-admitted. Again I was left in A&E from 12: 15PM till after 6PM before anyone had even looked at the wound. This is not acceptable.

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Response from Paul Cannon, Head of Administration, Acute Services Division, Greater Glasgow & Clyde NHS

Thank you for taking the time and trouble to provide your feedback.

I am sorry that this posting was not acknowledged at the time, we had a break in our use of Patient Opinion, but we have now resumed doing so, and I thought it was still important to acknowledge your posting.

You raised a number of issues that are of concern and we would like to follow these up if we are can. In order to do so, can you please provide further details and send these to complaints@ggc.scot.nhs.uk and we will address these for you.

I would want to reassure you that there is no policy of not letting surgeons see patients until a bed is free, that certainly is not the case, in any of our Hospitals.


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Response from Shona Lawrence, Patient Affairs Manager, NHS 24

picture of Shona Lawrence

Thank you for logging your feedback via the Patient Opinion Website. I read your posting with interest and I was sorry to learn of your experience. I am pleased to note however that your call to NHS 24 resulted in a speedy referral for you to receive face to face assessment.

I do hope that you health continues to improve.

With kind regards

Shona Lawrence

NHS 24 Patient Affairs Manager

0141 337 4582

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Update posted by SpiderKenny (the patient)

Thank you for taking the time to respond. That is very much appreciated.

Paul, I have sent some details to the email address you gave. Many thanks. I am happy to help out in any way I can.

Shona, NHS 24 did a great job, they did everything right, responded very quickly and gave all the right advice - they couldn't have done more. What's more, they are always polite and caring. NHS 24 is an invaluable service.

Response from Paul Cannon, Head of Administration, Acute Services Division, Greater Glasgow & Clyde NHS

That's great, I will check with my colleague who looks after that email account that it has been passed on so that we can look into the circumstances for you.


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