"Extremely disappointed by A&E Service"
About: Royal Free Hospital Royal Free Hospital London NW3 2QG
On the 7th of May, 2013, around 10:30 pm I took my brother to the A&E as he was experiencing a terrible headache (along with swelling near his temples) and shivering. It took us 20 mins just to register his details on the system (even though there was only 1 person standing in front of us) and when we reached the reception, the receptionist didn't even look at us for 2 mins and was busy complaining to her colleague about how she was tired of sitting down etc. In the meantime, there was a drunk guy walking around the room, throwing notepads here and there and banging on the tables. There were 2 security guards present at that time who were just standing there and looking. They didn't do anything about it until a patient in the room finally said " why don't you do something about it? There are children in the room".
The receptionist took our details and asked us to take a seat. It then took about an hour for the nurse to call out my brother's name for an assessment. The nurse spent about 2 mins assessing him and he was told that it would take 2 hours before he could see a doctor. Bearing in mind that it was already 11:40 pm by that time, it seemed absolutely ridiculous that she was expecting us to stay till 1:40 am just to be able to see the doctor. That to me is certainly not an 'Emergency' treatment. As my brother really needed to lie down, we had no option but to hire a cab and make our way home without being seen by a doctor. Before leaving, I went up to the receptionist again and asked her if there was a shop around where we could get some paracetamol. She very rudely looked back and said 'no'. I would have expected a bit more cooperation from her considering the long hours we, and all the other patients were having to wait. It turned out that there was a corner shop just 20 steps away from the hospital where we managed to get some Paracetamol.
To summarise, our visit to the A&E was an absolute waste of time, money and energy and even though this is my nearest hospital, I have been completely put off by my experience. I would rather travel a few more miles and go to a better hospital than waste my energy coming back here again.