"Visit to out of hours centre & then referred to A & E"

About: South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust / NHS 111 William Harvey Hospital / Trauma and orthopaedics

(as the patient),

I had occasion to call 111 in December 2014. The operator was very good and asked about my problem and said she needed advice from her supervisor who then said I should go through the questionnaire. After this she said I should see an out of hours doctor and would be called within 2 hours. I was impressed with the service as I had never used it before and had not heard good things about it.

I received a call from the out of hours service within the next 15 minutes offering me an appointment within an hour and asking if I could get there ok as it wasn't my nearest centre. However my husband was able to take me so it wasn't a problem. I got an appointment at 4. 30 and saw the doctor at 4. 40 which was brilliant.

It was a nurse Practioner but this did not matter as she was very thorough and asked about my problem and examined me. She also thought I may need to go to A & E but would ring a doctor at WH to check. She came back to me after 10 minutes and said the doctor wanted to see me and gave me a sheet of paper with 'medical reg referral' on. She explained that it was very busy but I should go to A & E and would then be collected and taken somewhere else.

We then went to WH and booked in at reception who also said I would be taken to see the medical registrar. We sat in the waiting room for the next 1 and 45 minutes when I again checked with reception who said it was very busy but I would be seen. After approximately another hour I was called to triage who assessed me and sent me for blood tests and said I would have a canular fitted as I may be kept in.

After another approx 35 minutes I was called in for the tests I was then told by the nurse she would not put in a canular as she didn't think I would be kept in. After I asked she said the tests would take between 1 & 1. 30 for the results to come back. After I had been at the hospital for over 5 hours I was called into major injuries by a nurse who said I would be kept in overnight and she wanted to do me a wristband and some tests. So I had to go back to waiting room as unit was absolutely packed with beds without curtains being put in all available spaces and even chairs where no beds would fit!

I was called in after 10 minutes and she started to do bloods until I told her I'd already had it done she then said I may not be kept in but I would have to go to cdu to see medical registrar. I was taken to a bed and chair in code and saw the doctor after 10 minutes he was very thorough and said my bloods were ok but he was concerned about my chest and wanted me to have an X-ray which I had quite soon but waited another hour or so before I asked a nurse if she knew what was happening. She went and saw doctor and he told me I could go home which was good but by this time it was 12. 30 I had arrived at WH at 17. 35 so I was at WH for 7 hours.

This is not a complaint as such - the service throughout was excellent all staff were polite and thorough and washed their hands. The hospital was clean and tidy under the circumstances which were that it was extremely busy being over -full the entire time we were there. The ambulances at times were queuing to drop off patients.

However my only gripe is why did I have to go through triage when I had already seen a practitioner who knew my details and had referred me to a doctor? This made my delay I think much longer than needed as I went through the same thing 4 times. This seems inefficient to WH and to the patient there must be a better way!

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


Response from Julie Pearce, Chief Nurse + Director of Quality + Operations, East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust

Thank you very much for your feedback, and if am sorry about the delays you experienced. We are experiencing a very high demand for our services at the moment which has resulted in over-crowding in A&E and the type of inefficiencies you experienced. On a normal day you would have been seen direct by the acute physician in ambulatory care and would have by-passed A&E. It would be helpful for me to know which walk in service you used so that we can ensure they have the most appropriate referral pathway. Please do email me on Julie.pearce1@nhs.net

I do hope that you are feeling better and recovering from your illness.

  • Dafg thinks this response is helpful
    {{helpful-1}} of {{totalOthers()}} other people think so too

Response from Louise Hutchinson, Patient Experience Lead, South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust

Dear Dafg

Thank you very much for taking the time to feed back about your recent experience with the NHS. I was sorry to hear of the troubles you experienced when you were unwell recently, but was very pleased to hear that the NHS111 service - operated by South East Coast Ambulance Service in your area - worked well for you.

I do hope you are now recovering and wish you a happy 2015.

Yours sincerely, Louise Hutchinson

Patient Experience Lead for South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust

  • {{helpful}} of {{total()}} people think this response is helpful