"Appalling A&E at St George's hospital"

About: St George's Hospital (Tooting) (London)

Visited A&E at St George's Hospital Tooting on Saturday 12th October. I needed antibiotics as I had developed a post op infection which was extremely painful. I brought with me all documents relating to operation. Saw Triage nurse at 2.00 pm - no problem there and then saw reception and was put in queue to see Navigator nurse and that is where problems began. She told me there were 8 patients in front of me and it would be approx one hour before I could be seen. She said I should come back at 3.00pm. I went back to Triage nurse and said I would return at 3.00pm. She said she would ensure that the Navigator nurse had indeed made me appointment and I accompanied the Triage nurse back to Navigator who confirmed that she had made me an appointment for 3.00pm. I returned in good time at 2.50pm and the Navigator told me the doctor had been calling my name but I did not reply. When reminded that she had told me my appt was for 3.00pm she checked the system and said that my appt was booked for 6.00pm - no explanation why such an error could occur. Upon hearing my protest she said she would get doctor to see me next as I only required prescription. I waited and waited and when I reminded her that I was still waiting she asked a doctor (in my presence) if he would write me a prescription. The doctor said "let her see the other doctor as I have to manually write a prescription and the other doctor can print it. it was unbelievable. Again I waited and waited until another hour went past and in the meantime, the navigator seemed to forget about me even though I was sitting directly outside her office door. She spent all her time chatting to all and sundry (including staff and patients) about personal matters - nothing to do with work . Eventually I got up and interrupted her saying that I had been waiting for over 2 hours and felt I was simply being ignored and wanted to see a doctor for a prescription as I was in acute pain. She told me to wait outside the doctors door and to "grab" the first doctor to appear. The first doctor to come through the door was wearing scrubs and I asked if he could help but he said I needed to see the duty GP. I explained to the young doctor what had already happened he went and got hold of the GP doctor who turned out to be the very same doctor who refused to see me nearly an hour earlier as he didn't want to have the bother of writing my prescription by hand. The GP said people could not just come and demand antibiotics. I explained that I had developed a post op infection and it was extremely painful. I told him the ward had directed me to A&E and when I tried to show him my hospital papers he was not interested and did not want to see them. He asked to look at the wound and I removed the dressing to enable him to see it. I asked if he could give me some tape with which I could re-secure the dressing and he said no and left me with an unprotected infected open wound. He then proceeded to write me a prescription without first checking whether I had any allergies. As he was writing I said I was allergic to Penicillan and he then scribbled out the first entry and prescribed Erythromycin instead. The GP was a disgrace to his profession. I have never encountered such an open display of disinterest and - yes - even hostility towards a patient seeking help. I am a great defender of the NHS and am only too aware of the pressures decent hardworking surgeons and nursing staff face on a daily basis. However the GP who saw me is a complete disgrace to his profession and should not be allowed to play any part in the NHS service.

Story from NHS Choices

Do you have a similar story to tell? Tell your story & make a difference ››


Response from St George's University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

St George's Hospital (London) replied on 31 October 2013 on NHS Choices

Thank you for taking the time to post feedback about your experience at St George’s Hospital. We are sorry that it was negative. Your comments will be passed to the manager of the service.

If you would like to talk to the service about your experience and if you have not done so already, then please contact the PAL Service at pals@stgeorges.nhs.uk or on 020 8725 2453 where staff will see what they can do to help.

Updates, changes and questions related to this story