Not last Saturday but the Saturday before, we spent most of the night at A&E with Miss Frugal.
It wasn’t a great experience if I’m honest and although I wasn’t going to share it with you (in case you all think I’m NHS bashing, which I’m not), I’ve just watched a news interview about more proposed cuts to the NHS so I changed my mind and thought I’d tell you about our night in A&E.
Miss Frugal burnt herself with her hair curlers on Saturday afternoon and after doing all the right things to treat it at home, we decided that it didn’t need medical attention but that we would keep an eye on it at home. Later that night we checked it before bed and where it had just been red before, it had turned into a very full looking blister with the red area around it almost doubling to what it was earlier in the day.
We live literally two minutes from a small A&E so we just bundled her into the car to get them to have a look at it but when we got to the hospital there was a sign on the door advising that the hospital were now closing at 9pm rather than being 24 hours. The note suggested we call 111 or drive to the nearest hospital which we really wanted to avoid as we know how busy their A&E department gets and could only imagine how bad it would be on a Saturday night at 11pm.
We called 111 and unusually they didn’t tell us to wait for a doctor to call back, they told us that we needed to take her to an A&E within the next four hours to be seen as the burn sounded as though it might need hospital treatment. Obviously, we’re not going to argue with that so we set off to brave the big A&E with Miss Frugal quite scared at the thought of whatever treatment they might decide was necessary.
Now, I know that an A&E waiting room is never going to be a nice place to wait but this particular night our waiting room seemed to be filled with people who were bleeding – from legs, arms, noses and some impossible to discern areas. It was quite quiet on the most part except from the occasional outburst here and there and the most exciting thing that happened in the first hour we were there was the delivery of a kebab from Just Eat which someone had ordered after waiting for 2 hours at that point.
We sat for just short of an hour before seeing a nurse and being told that the burn was definitely going to need to be seen by a doctor. The only problem was that due to the triage system, there would be another three hour wait for us to see the doctor and that could increase if more serious cases than her came in.
Don’t get me wrong, I agree with the principal of the triage system – if someone needs urgent attention then they obviously should be seen sooner but a three hour wait seemed like a very very long time.
We sat back down to wait but as you can imagine, after midnight the waiting room began to fill with more and more people – lots of them visiting after a night out which meant they were drunk, loud with even more blood than before. After an hour, I couldn’t face another two hours plus of waiting in a waiting room that was now so full that people were standing or sitting on the floor.
I asked reception if she thought it would be worth going to the next hospital over as I knew their A&E was much quieter as it was more of a walk in centre than an A&E and she instantly said yes, that would be fine and she could even make me an appointment so I wouldn’t have to wait when I got there. I wish we’d gone there in the first place but it’s about 45 minutes from our house and not classed as our local hospital so I hadn’t even thought of it. I also wish that someone there had suggested it to us as an option when we’d been seen!
It was one o clock by this time so the receptionist made us an appointment for 1.50 and we headed off (not before paying out car parking charge of £3) and set off for the journey to the next hospital.
We got there and were pleased to see just three people in the waiting room although they were three angry people who were sat talking amongst themselves about how long they’d been waiting! I think the receptionist felt sorry for us as he invited us to go and sit in the children’s waiting room which was much nicer until a poor baby in pain came along and screamed non-stop for the next forty minutes. It was awful – not because of the screaming (although that wasn’t awesome) but because the poor little thing was in so much distress although thankfully I think it was an ear infection rather than anything more serious.
Anyway, after an hour or so we were called through and the doctor got out some dressings and started to dress the burn telling us it looked nasty but that he wasn’t going to do anything to treat it. He said the best thing to do was to cover the blister and leave it to do it’s own thing which was great – it would have been even better if the nurse had just done this at the last A&E though. He mentioned that he was surprised they hadn’t and apologised on their behalf saying that we should have just been allowed to go home after having a nurse check out the wound!
It’s such a shame that out small walk in centre is no longer 24 hours though as we would have been home and in bed before midnight instead of doing a local hospital tour for apparently no reason!
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