"A&E consultant did not speak English"

About: University Hospital Lewisham

On a visit to my GP to discuss test results for something unrelated, my GP took my BP which was fine, but my pulse was 137 so he sent me to A&E for an emergency ECG and told me that he thought my heart may not be working properly! A few hours later in A&E a lovely nurse did the ECG and my pulse was still high at 128. After a wait of about an hour I was seen by a consultant who did not speak English. He asked me what was wrong but did not understand when I explained that my GP had sent me in because my pulse was 137 despite normal blood pressue. He seemed to think I'd just walked in off the street having a panic attack. I could not get him to understand. He asked if I had any other health problems, which I listed, but he did not understand what I was saying and just kept repeating me and asking what it meant! He then tried to tell me that I must just suffering from anxiety and said I should take Valium and go home and get some sleep! I was not in the least bit stressed other than worrying why my pulse was 137, and then having to deal with this consultant. I did not take his advice, and went home very worried about what might be wrong. My GP has since referred me to a cardiologist.

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Response from University Hospital Lewisham

Thank you for your comments about your experience at University Hospital Lewisham. We welcome all comments about our services. I am sorry that on this occasion you did not feel happy with the care that you received from the doctor in A&E. I have passed your comment to the staff in A&E so that they can try to investigate your concerns. It helps us to investigate if we have the full details of any concern reported to us and these can be given to our PALS service who can be contacted on 020 8333 3355. Janette Haworth Head of Patient Experience

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