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A n E

When I went A n E sunday with breathing problems my dad told them at the desk ,only to tell me sit down and will be called.20 mins later same again my dad told them I was finding it a struggle, said will call your name out.45 mins later same again.1hour 15 mins got seen to and sent to pucuco ward.they did bood test and admitted me with blood test reading high for a clot in lungs and asthma .it was from 3 in afternood and 7 hours later when admitted to ward 18 before put on a nebuliser and monday moved me to resperatory ward 79. I wont do that again and next time I wiill ring an ambulance.Has anyone else had to wait hours with breathing probs before seen to at A n E

4 Replies

Hi Glynis, I hope you are feeling a bit better now.

I myself have never been made to wait in the waiting area with an acute asthma attack I have always been taken straight through to resusitation, however my mum also has asthma though it is much milder than mine and when she has had an attack I guess clinically she wasn't as bad so she was made to wait for some time although with regular sats, pulse check etc. If you feel that the Emergency Department at your hospital shouldnt have made you wait, maybe you should consider speaking to PALS at your hospital to clarify why you were made to wait for that time and if it was the right thing to do.

With breathing problems A&Es tend to be quite responsible but sometimes when the department is busy people with acute asthma can be overlooked, but it also depends on how you were clinically, if you were having a severe asthma attack by clinical definition they should not have made you wait and you should be taken straight through to resus or majors.

I don't know alot about this, hopefully some other people should come along who can explain a bit better than myself.

In future please do call an ambulance if you are having an acute asthma attack with no relief from you reliever inhaler. Please note being brought in by ambulance or not does not affect how long it will take A&E to see you, it will depend on your condition, but yes for safety please call an ambulance.




Hope you're recovering Glynis, it sounds like you had quite a traumatic time!

The way most A&E departments operate is via a system called Nurse led triage. After you have booked in at the reception area you should be called through to see a Nurse. They will then ask you questions and if appropriate record some basic observations such as heart rate, oxygen levels and Peak Flow.

Based on the Manchester triage system (computer based) and the nurses clinical judgement you will then be assigned a triage category: red, orange, yellow or green. Based on your category you will then be called through to see the doctor. The higher the category the shorter the wait.

Generally the waits are:

Red- to be seen immediately

Orange- to be seen within 10 minutes

Yellow- to be seen in 1 hour

Green- to be seen in 3 hours

These are the maximium times people should wait to see a doctor. For asthma, patients having what is judged to be a severe attack will usually be assigned category 2 Orange or occasionally 1 Red. Other patients will probably get a yellow and this is often appropriate as there will be other, more poorly patients who need to be seen first.

It is worth noting that All patients are triaged in the same way whether they walk in or come by ambulance, calling an ambulance does not get you a higher category automatically. People who have low triages categories who come in by ambulance are often asked to sit back in the waiting room.

Unfortunately the reality is that A&E departments can be vey busy and its a case of doing our best for all the patients in the department. If the A&E you attended was busy and you weren't judged to be that poorly at the time waiting 1hr15 to see the doctor is reasonable.

I do hope this clears things up a little!

Best wishes for a speedy recovery,


(who is working in A&E)


I don't think I have ever waited, I was once parked in majors rather than resus, thankfully a dr who knew me spotted me just before a type 2 resp arrest. When I went into Torbay for a problem with my port a nurse came straight out it appears I am tagged on their system. Calling 999 won't get you preferential treatment and you might be taking up an ambulance that is needed for a critical call.

Glynis I don't understand the treatment you are getting for a clot on the lung, you seem to be saying you are being treated with nebulisers which I have never heard of. Are yoy getting anything else. I aslo don't understand the numbers you are giving what type of blood test was it, was it a normal one or one in your wrist.




I've only had problems once and I think it was a case of very very busy, harassed receptionist and an oversight - I don't blame anyone.

I'd been my stubborn usual self and decided I could get to the hospital alone (I know, I know...), queued up to check in with reception, but was unable by this point to speak in many words, let alone whole sentences so receptionist didn't get all details and told me to take a seat (in very busy waiting room) - I suppose in an ideal world I would have wanted her to notice I was very poorly and I certainly wasn't in any state to make any fuss. Took one of the few seats left in a corner where I also couldn't clearly be seen by anyone to await triage. The problem was that the wait for triage was massive and I was getting steadily worse from an already bad state - I tried to get up at one point to go and ask for help as I knew things weren't good but collapsed back down.

Most of the 'really helpful' other patients were too concerned with getting themselves seen to to help out someone they could see was in trouble - that upset me. However another patient did eventually go up to the triage nurse and was thankfully quite insistent that I appeared to be hardly breathing and needed help. It did seem to be a case of just not being spotted because the nurse took one look at me, measured my sats (87%) and I was wheeled straight through to resus and treated immediately and well.

It was just getting myself actually seen that was the problem and I don't know about others but in the area of London I live so much of the receptionist and triage nurses time is wasted and the system can break down because of very forceful patients (or their relatives) shouting about people going in before them and needing to be seen because they have to get to work etc. If more people let the system work, then it might actually work.


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