"Viral Chest Infection and Eye Infection"

About: Harmoni / NHS 111 St George's Hospital (Tooting) / Ophthalmology

(as the patient),

I have had a viral chest infection since March and had declined medication but had seen Nurse at GP who advised no treatment. In the meantime I had cataract surgery on both eyes but the right eye became badly infected and very painful. As this was over a weekend I was unable to see my GP even on a late night!

My family thought I should seek help so they suggested I call 111. The call was handled courteously and efficiently following a series of questions. Operator then called back and I spoke to an out of hours Doctor who coincidentally I had spoken to before! He made an appointment for me at St. Helier at 12 noon (Sunday) but I had to wait.

The young female duty Doctor was unsure about my condition so telephoned the Eye Department at St. George's Hospital Tooting and I was asked to drive myself there. Although I am 68 I managed to do this even only with the sight of one eye. Unfortunately I had to wait about 3 hours there to be seen. The staff there prescribed three different types of medication which I then had to go to an out of hours chemist at Surbiton to collect! Sadly the Rosehill Pharmacy duty Pharmacist did not show up to open the chemist at 5. 00; finally arrived at 6. 15 and then advised he did not have the medication! ! I was in very bad pain and discomfort but managed to get the medication and get home by 8. 00 pm.

The whole day was taken from being in bed, calling 111, getting a 12 noon appointment and then following their instructions.

I cannot fault the service but my issue is that well paid GPs should offer to work 24 hour shifts on a rota basis in order to provide an out of hours service for emergency cases like mine who do not need urgent surgical hospital treatment. My case could have been dealt with far more quickly and easily by my being able to see my GP.

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Response from St George's Healthcare NHS Trust

We are sorry to read of your experience and dissatisfaction with the care you received on Sunday from the sources you mentioned.

We will send your comments to the Emergency Department at St. George's Hospital. If you would like to talk to someone about your care at St. George's Hospital you can contact the PALS department for St. George’s Hospital and talk to the Patient Advice and Liaison Service about your experience and further investigation can take place, pals@stgeorges.nhs.uk or on 020 8725 2453

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Update posted by mayfield 8 (the patient)

Further to the response to my experience; it was not a criticism of the eventual care I received, which was very good, but the lack of initial offer reception at the Eye Department by reception nursing staff, despite my having a referral letter, or any explanation or reassurance or an indication of how long I might have to wait. I just sat there and after more than 2 hours had to ask what was happening.

The staff appeared to be spending an incredibly long time with those patients who were already waiting and there was a lot of walking up and down corridors, long telephone calls trying to resolve issues for others, without giving me an idea of the length of time I might have to wait.

Further no refreshment facilities were offered, not even a glass of water and I had to wait over 3 hours with my hands over my painful eye to try and alleviate the pain. It probably looked as though I was asleep.

When eventually seen and treated I could not fault the service of both the female Doctors who attended to me.

As an aside, and as stated in my story; this whole episode could have been avoided had an out of hours GP at my local Surgery been on call; thereby relieving the already overburdened A&E hospital services. I did not need surgery only the prescribing of medication.

Response from St George's Healthcare NHS Trust

Thank you for the further information. We would like to help identify where you were waiting and send your comments to the area that treated you.

The Ophthalmology service in St George's Hospital is provided by Moorfield Eye Hospital staff and you may have been on the ward or in A&E.

Perhaps you could ring the Patient Advice and Liaison Service and we could discuss what happened. Please contact us on 020 8725 2453 and we can look into your concerns.

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Update posted by mayfield 8 (the patient)

Thank you for your further response.

Yes I was asked to go to the 5th Floor Ward of Moorfields Eye Department not the general A&E Department of the Hospital.

As previously stated the Doctors were wonderful; it was just the lack of attention from the supporting nursing staff who were responsible for receiving patients.

When I get an opportunity I will telephone the number above.

Very many thanks.

Response from St George's Healthcare NHS Trust

Thank you for the above information. I have contacted Moorfield Hospital Eye Department and fed back to them your comments on the nursing care you were given.

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Response from St George's Hospital (Tooting)

This review was posted on NHS Choices on 17th March 2015 but visited in April 2014. Information was given that it had been posted on 26 May 2014 using Patient Opinion. This was responded to in May of 2014 on Patient opinion.

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