"A+E due to anaphylactic reaction"

About: Queen's Medical Centre

On Wednesday 24th April, I attended QMC A+E department due to having a anaphylactic reaction. On arrival I was alone and went to check in on the entrance desk. I was very short of breathe and struggling to speak in more than 2 word sentences. I explained I suffer with anaphylactic reactions and had used my epipen, but symptoms were getting worse. The man on the desk took my details needed and told me to wait for a triage niurse . Somebody then came to see me from NEMS and explained that if somebody doesn't necessarily need A+E attention they see NEMS instead. The man from NEMS looked at me and realised how severe my reaction was and that my throat was quickly closing. He took me straight through to the cubicles in A+E where 2 doctors and plenty of nurses attended me and gave me the appropriate medication needed to try reversing the reaction. I was then rushed through to resucitation for immediate care. So, the point I'm getting to is, if the man on the entrance desk understood ( or even cared) about the severity of an anaphylactic reaction, I wouldn't of been waiting so long to see NEMS ( which is crazy, I obviously needed urgent help). Which would of meant I could of been given more adreneline sooner and the reaction not be as severe. The doctors and nurses involved in my care was great, and explained everything. Just a shame that I wasnt given the immediate help needed. I understand A+E have targets, long waiting times and a lot of pressure. But surely, when somebody is suffering a life threatening illness this should be given a slighter higher priority and definatly not be given over to NEMS due to not being serious enough to be in A+E??? Luckily, I recovered quickly after and haven't suffered long term, this could of been very different.

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Response from Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust

Thank you for taking the time to share your experience. We are glad to hear that the majority of care you say you experienced when you attended the Emergency Department (ED) was good, and from what you describe it does sound as if your emergency was dealt with promptly and appropriately by the member of staff from NEMS and by ED doctors. We are sorry to hear, however, that you feel the seriousness of your situation was not recognised by the reception clerk, and that you feel that by being seen by the member of staff from NEMS you were being considered "not serious enough to be seen at A&E". We can assure you this is not the case - when a person attends ED, the first thing happening for all patients is for them to be seen by a member of nursing staff or other emergency practitioner (such as NEMS) to assess the level of treatment required. In your case the member of staff from NEMS correctly identified that you needed urgent emergency treatment and took you on the correct pathway through the ED to receive that treatment promptly, as was their role to do so. We appreciate you feel this constituted an unnecessary delay in you receiving the treatment you needed, and we apologise for any distress caused during this experience. We will take on board your concern that the reception clerk was not able to recognise the severity of your symptoms, and will investigate to ensure that there are no underlying issues around staff training in this area. However, from what you describe it appears you were seen quickly by appropriate clinical staff and given the necessary treatment for your emergency - unfortunately, your pathway through ED may not have been communicated to you clearly at the time by the NEMS practitioner who you first saw, and we are sorry that this has given the impression that you may have been dealt with less urgently than you could have been, or the impression that anyone was dismissive of your illness.

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