"Urgent Care Centre"

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

Please be aware that you cannot access care at the Urgent Care Centre without an appointment, even if the 111 service says that you can! I have one kidney as the result of an acute kidney infection which went undiagnosed by the NHS in the past, until it had reached the point of failure and had to be surgically removed. This evening I developed the same symptoms that I displayed in the run up to the failure of my kidney. Anxious to get urgent help to protect my remaining kidney I dialled the 111 service. An hour after my phone call a clinician rang me back and said I should attend the Urgent Care Centre at St Georges for investigation and antibiotic treatment. I asked whether I need a reference number to quote at the hospital and was told 'no, it's not possible to for us to send over your details on Friday nights, but the hospital will be used to people arriving who have been sent by 111. This is not what happened when I got to the centre. I followed the signs at the door of A&E to the 'Navigator Room' and explained why I was there. The man inside just stared at me incredulously and said, "I don't know anything about that. We can't see you, you will have to register in A&E and be triaged there" I don't know where the fault lies - is it with George's or is it with 111? If it's with Georges they need to sort it out; if it's 111, then someone from Georges needs to contact them to explain how the system works. Just staring is not an adequate response.

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Response from St George's Hospital (Tooting)

It is with regret that we read of the communication you received. The Urgent Care Centre provides a walk-in service for patients with a range of minor injuries and urgent medical problems whose condition is urgent enough that they cannot wait to see their next GP appointment but who do not need emergency treatment in ED. It is staffed by Emergency Nurse Practitioners who work alongside GPs, Emergency Department medical and nursing staff. You do not require an appointment to be seen. We always advice patients in an non-emergency to either contact their own GP for an appointment first or call 111 where an out of hours GP appointment can be arranged. If 111 service deems that your medical condition is more emergent then you will be advised to go to your nearest ED. Our Urgent Care Centre is located within our ED which means every patient has a medical triage first to make sure they are seen in the correct environment by the right clinician with the right set of skills. If you would like to talk to the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) please get in touch on 020 8725 2453 or by email on pals@stgeorges.nhs.uk

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