"Shocking A&E Reception "

About: Raigmore Hospital / Accident & Emergency

(as the patient),

On a Saturday recently my friend rushed me to A&E. I had a severe headache, had been vomiting non stop all day, was shaking uncontrollably. I could barely keep my eyes open due to the pain that lights were causing me and was struggling to walk.

My friend (who works in the hospital) knew that there was something seriously wrong however on arrival at A&E she tried to explain my symptoms to be stopped and told that 'its not really appropriate for A&E'.

She was then handed a leaflet about NHS24 which the receptionist explained was the procedure she should follow next time. We were then pointed a room to call NHS24 as the receptionist claimed there was no way she could get my details on the system unless we called them - complete nonsense.

As my friend called NHS24 I continued to vomit all over the floor as we hadn't even been given a bucket even though she had tried to tell them I was being sick all day long. After 30 minutes we were then allowed to sit in the A&E waiting room for about an hour before being seen.

Thankfully the doctor that saw me identified in less than 15 minutes that I likely had meningitis and I was rushed up to admissions to receive treatment. It seems that going to A&E really was appropriate considering how ilI was. With my temperature being at 40 by the time I was able to be seen, the time wasted calling NHS24 was not needed.

Luckily, on this occasion, a patients life was not severely affected but I fear that in future this could very well happen if reception staff are not trained on how to deal with people that arrive. To also make blatant lies about not being able to get my details on the system unless I called NHS24 was utterly inappropriate and the member of staff I feel has been negligent in their behaviour on this occasion.

People do not arrive at A&E to be judged - perhaps if this happened any other night than a Saturday night I would have been treated with a bit of care and concern.

It was lucky my friend was able to take me to A&E and call NHS24, if I had to go on my own I would simply not have been able to call them - I was seriously ill. In this scenario are patients just told to leave because their illness 'isnt really appropriate for A&E'? Other than this my stay in hospital went well. Both doctors and nurses provided a high level of care and put me at ease throughout my illness.

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Response from Maimie Thompson, Head of Public Relations and Engagement, Chief Executive's Office, NHS Highland

picture of Maimie Thompson

Dear Pr0spect

What a frightening experience for you or anyone to have to go through. I am really sorry that we did not manage your attendance at A&E as well as we should but thankfully you got a high level of care from the doctors and nurses and I do hope you are feeling very much better.

I will discuss your experience with the Head of Service for the Emergency Department and also the Clinical Director for the Medical Division in the Hospital. Once if find out more I will be back in touch.

Thank you for taking the time to feed-back and our sincere apologies for how we made you feel when you most needed our help and expertise.


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