"One Life Centre in Hartlepool"

About: North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust

(as a relative),

Recently I took my husband to the One Life centre in Hartlepool. On entering the centre I began to explain why I had brought my husband who was experiencing a lot of pain accompanied by vomiting. I was not given the chance to finish my first sentence when I was told by the receptionist that I had to make an appointment and handed me a card with a phone number on it, she said I needed a mobile phone because I would be rung back by a nurse.

I thought that given the fact my husband was bent double in pain and had to keep going outside to vomit that it was ridiculous to be asked to ring someone to make an appointment to see a doctor in the place we were already in. I did as I was told, and another receptionist whom I believe was uneasy with the fact we were being asked to ring someone to make an appointment when even she could see that my husband clearly needed to see a doctor as soon as possible rang the number on their phone and handed it to me. I spoke to a staff member who took details of my husbands symptoms and then told me a doctor would ring back. I could not believe that my husband would have to wait even longer.

After some time a doctor rang back and my husband went through his symptoms as I had already done with the first phone call we were asked to make, the doctor told my husband they would arrange for a doctor to see him. We waited and recieved another phone call from a staff member who said we could see a doctor later that night ( why does the centre need two receptionist at night if this is normal procedure?). My husband was in excruciating pain by this time and a couple of people waiting made several comments about the ridiculous procedures that this centre has in place before you can see a doctor. The fact the receptionist did not seem to react as someone was becoming increasingly distressed because they were in so much pain makes me wonder whether common sense exists or if the staff at the centre fear that if they were to make an informed decision on the fact that someone is very ill in front of them and something needs to be done NOW they may lose their job? I believe a security guard actually spoke to a receptionist prompting her to speak to the doctor.

On entering the doctors room accompianied by the receptionist the doctor took one look at the state of my husband and told the receptionist to get an ambulance immediately. The doctor was very good and my husband was apparently suffering from an inflamed gall bladder and said he was not happy that the person I had spoken to on the phone in the beginning had not realised that I had described the classic symptoms of infamation of the gall bladder we should have been directed to North Tees hospital immediately. Clearly the seeming lack of common sense and action by the receptionist added to the distress, the inability to recognise classic symtoms by what I believe was a triage nurse on the phone meant that my husband had to be given morphine twice in the ambulance because by this time he was in severe pain, then the journey out of town to North Tees Hospital were he was admitted.

In addtion and this probably is the MAIN POINT is that a town the size of Hartlepool has NO A&E department, had there been an A&E in Hartlepool my husband would have not had to endure the ridiculous almost farsical procedures of the One Life Centre we should have been directed straight away to North Tees Hospital surely the reception staff are told to tell patients their limits within the centre. I think that it is not good enough to say that patient care is priority it is contradictory, when you expect thousands of patients who at some time in their life may have to travel out of a town the size of Hartlepool to recieve care related to their particular illness and think that services are being made better. Furthermore, I think that produres at this new heath centre are so inadequate in the evenings it does not promote confidence in the management and staff.

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