If we are going to be 'seen/triaged' by nur... - AF Association

AF Association
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If we are going to be 'seen/triaged' by nurse practitioners in GP surgeries should they not have a crib sheet?


This is not strictly about arrhythmias but I think its relevant.

This morning I was diverted to a nurse practitioner instead of speaking to my GP on the phone. I was pleased as I had had enough of the sore throat, swollen glands, tight chest, fever and particularly the fast heart rate (90 resting as measured by my trusty Kardia) that rather spoilt most of my rail holiday in Europe.

He had a quick look at my throat, felt my neck, told me those hurty bumps were not swollen glands and so I didn't need antibiotics though I had a temperature and I should be fine in a few days. He asked what I had taken for it and when I said Paracetamol he first suggested Ibuprofen so I explained my asthma and heart didn't allow it, so Cocodamol came up, had to tell him I had diverticular disease and why that was not advised! Final suggestion was anaesthetic throat spray which he personally thought was rubbish.....By this point I was losing confidence and pointed out that one reason for my exhaustion might be that my heart had been running too fast for at least a week. He confirmed it was running at 100+ but told me it would slow down in the calm atmosphere of my own home - 😠 - nothing to do with being ill of course!

Luckily I had made an appointment online to see my GP next Wednesday, but regardless of the outcome I am going to suggest to the Practice Manager that vital info about a patient should be available as a quick handy reference for anyone seeing someone they don't know - most practitioners nowadays it seems. I could have gone along with one of his suggestions if I had not been alert.

I know many of you have had similar/worse experiences but I hope you'll forgive the rant.

19 Replies

A sign of the times and it will cause Problems I suspect. I am not confident that such practices will work, well it's been false economy in your case, you see the nurse don't get the care you needed and then have to book to see the GP anyway, what sort of efficiency is that. Worse still had you not been on the ball you would have been prescribed meds you should not be taking.

Apart from this person not having a basic overview of you as a patient they are not qualified as a doctor. It takes years then GP training on top and we are supposed to accept a nurses diagnosis, this will become more and more common and end in tears somewhere along the line. I have great respect for medical professionals but in the role they are trained for and qualified in.

A practice nurse has a raft of skills and training but it's not as a doctor. It's all about money money money and it's not good enough. We haven't paid our NI all our lives for this. I for one would pay more tax for a NHS which does what it's meant to do. This practice and many more similar bright ideas are about to be heaped on the unsuspecting public I fear. Sorry double rant over.

barneybin in reply to meadfoot

How true,I agree with what you say,we too were "fobbed off"to a nurse practitioner who did not recognise the severe symptoms of sepsis.

After leaving and collapsing my wife was diagnosed by a paramedic and his prompt action saved her life.

There is nothing wrong with our NHS in my opinion the problem is too many people in the country for all our services but our leaders are in denial

Hope your wife is better now.

What a waste of your time, the nurse's time and the NHS resources generally - and you're still ill, poor soul.

Like all good ideas hit upon by the 'one size fits all' attitude, nurse practioners dealing with straightforward issues like a sore throat sounds like a great way to lessen the GP's load and improve patient care - until it doesn't do either and may actually put a patient in danger. If you had not been aware of your treatment needs and pitfalls, things could have been much worse.

I actually feel some sympathy for the nurse as he must have realised that he was totally out of his depth and it wouldn't be my idea of job satisfaction, certainly!

Wednesday cannot come fast enough, I'm sure - paracetamol should lower your temperature and now you need coddling, hot drinks - especially honey and hot milk, hot water bottle and rest. I find gargling with diluted TCP very helpful but it tastes awful - and stinks!

Hope you feel better soon.

Buffafly in reply to Finvola

Thanks for the sympathy, I think what enraged me the most was being told (what's new) that my fast HB was caused by my emotions! A suggestion like that, accompanied by a condescending smile, does nothing for my BP!

Finvola in reply to Buffafly

Grrrrr - a sharp left uppercut might be a good response - :)

I live in Wales an we have a shortage of doctors,we have had a triage service for over a year and believe me it doesn't work. You first have to speak to a receptionist and then a nurse and then they will ask a doctor to ring you back if they see fit to do so. you cannot request to see a doctor or make an appointment the time it takes to go through this rigmarole of explaining your symptoms is such a waste of time and makes no sense. It is very stressful especially when you are feeling ill anyway.


Agree a sign of our times and it is money and its false economy. I don't feel in anyway supported by GP with long term daily life debilitating problems. I avoid the GP's as much as possible but the few times I go you don't feel supported. This week I did go for my 10 mins appointment. I had to cover 3 simple items all of which were dealt with at such speed it was over in 5 mins and I was out and dazed at that. I went into appointment 20 mins early which suggests I was not the only one dealt with at speed. The previous time I was seen by a trainee doctor at that was comedy capers as she did not have a clue what my rash was. The time before that I was there when they could have done an ecg but the nurse would not consult the doctor and instead they asked me to go to A&E to get it done. The time before that I saw a different doctor who disputed the word I used for the diagnosis I had been given. I may have said the wrong word but discussion became purely about what I might have said rather than the problem it was causing me. All just examples of how it is now. Everyone under pressure and any personal touch or support no longer given. My diagnosis is that its not doing any of us any good patient and staff alike.

It happens in hospitals too. I didn't get to see the Electro Physiologist only his cardiac nurse who related the details on to him. After all the tests and considerations it has been confirmed I do not have AFIB after all but I would have liked to ask the EP some questions

One of the reasons A&E is at breaking point is because people cant see a GP. My ninety year old neighbour spent eight hours in A&E last Saturday night before being admitted, some of that time was in an ambulance outside the hospital, his son told me a lot of people there were just drunk, so very sad A&E should mean just that accident or emergency.

Buffafly in reply to souljacs4

I have been watching 'Ambulance' on TV and it is shocking to see how many calls are for things a good neighbour or family member should be able to help with and how many situations arise through lack of care available for vulnerable people.

Glue in reply to souljacs4

Sad reflection on our society.

My nephew works for the ambulance call service and he has said eighty per cent of the calls are not emergencies .

The NHS is between a rock and a hard place I fear. I totally understand the feeling one is being "fobbed off" with a nurse practitioner but they should be sufficiently self aware to know when to ask for assistance from the GP if they are unsure.

I recently visited my GP re an arthritic knee as I wanted a physio assessment so I knew how best to help myself. One option she offered was non steroidals until I pointed out I was on warfarin. The computer provides a summary of one's conditions. AF is listed along with 2 normal pregnancies now over 40 years ago in my case!!

I was sent to our local minor injuries unit by the practice nurse as I had a bad fall and she was concerned about my wrist. I saw an excellent Nurse Practitioner who did a thorough exam and reassured me. The average cardiac spec nurse is more clued up than a GP as she/he only has one specialty to keep up to date on, but if you have questions you should be able to access the specialist (doc)

I think that any intermediate checking system is fraught with difficulties - essentially because the intermediary is charged with 'weeding out' unnecessary contact with more qualified/experienced practitioners, further up the line. Their natural mindset, therefore, is one of holding back as many patients as possible. OK if they have the knowledge and access to that patients record - and their decision doesn't compromise that patient's well being. In that respect, what I've read above, is very worrying.

Buffafly , I really hope you are feeling better and will get to the root of the problem. I know about the condescending smile! My biggest shock was having a printout of my medical records and finding out that when I was being investigated for a potential cancerous tumour in the pituitary gland I visited the GP for news and on my records he had commented 'anxious type'!

I agree with meadfoot, I too would happily pay much more towards the NHS provided that is where the ALL the money went. All the medical progress that has been made and the longevity many enjoy comes with a big price tag, and I don't begrudge any of it.

I recently had reason to ring 111 i was talked through a crib sheet full of questions at the end the operator said i should speak to a doctor and she (the operator) would arrange the call. I am still waiting and that was seven days ago!!! It is increasingly worrying what is happening to the NHS a service once the envy of the world.

baba in reply to RoyM

I hope YOU have made that call.

It really annoys me when watching the news and talking about the crisis in the NHS, it always comes down to the aging population the bed blocking, winter flu, you name it we are to blame the same people who have worked all their lives paid taxes and contributed in so many ways as did my fathers generation. I am retired now but If I still worked I would be more than happy to pay a little extra every week. alas I am no longer a tax payer as such maybe that's the problem of being one of the aging population, I have the utmost respect for all our NHS staff our excellent doctors and nurses deserve more. The NHS is at breaking point and should be given the resources it needs to save it.

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