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Hi all, latest from Jeremy Hunt (Health Secretary) is about stopping people being able to go to A&E without a GP referral. Beggars belief. Hopefully this won't happen as if you read down the article, due to pressure from the BMA, they seem to have shelved Hunt's previous plan to make all GP referrals go before a panel for approval (aim of that was to cut referrals by 30%). Hopefully the BMA and other medical organisations will be opposing this nonsensical and dangerous A&E proposal too.

EDIT: Please do join the debate and give your opinion but do it without using personal insults or bad language. Remember - "The site is not a place to name and shame, or to post negative feedback on individuals. Bad language and insults will also not be tolerated. There will be a zero tolerance approach to such posts."

Thanks, mrsmummy.

88 Replies

So none of us dare get a pneumonia when the docs are closed then!


How dare you even think to get it I agreed with expletive and have the joy of saying it out loud lol xx

It is beyond belief and very scary angie. If I had not sat stubbornly in A&E in feb 2015 I would be dead because my GP had failed to recognise pneumonia and an empyema for 6 weeks, despite four visits and the same hospital had refused my consultant to admit me because I lived in the next county!

That's a terrible position to be in for anyone... things are very scarey for patients and I'm sure the nhs staff feel the same which is now why Tescos have brilliant shelf stackers as the rate of pay is the were right to stand your ground I would do the same until I was sorted we know our bodies and it's conditions xxx


Scary times eh?

Can’t see how it would work really as many would just turn up at A&E regardless. Jeremy, bless him, needs to get real.

In the news this morning: GP’s must ask whether a person is gay or not! You couldn’t make it up! Xxxxxxx

I hope that everybody refuses to answer the sexuality question sassy.

i would struggle with the sexuality question because i do not get half the words. i am a girl and happily a girl. but there is no box for just girl. it is all big complex words to choose from. please do not criticise I struggle with words.

On the news this morning, they were wanting people to declare their sexuality, which is different to gender. But since the advent of transgender (yes I know it's been around for yonks but it's very current now) there will be many more boxes for sexual orientation. All gets pretty confusing if you aren't used to it.

They were claiming this was necessary to meet the requirement of equalities legislation, to ensure that everyone, no matter what their sexuality, got equal treatment.

I once read an article about a tribe in Siberia who recognised seventeen genders. That would offer enough choice surely.

On a slightly different but related to the sexuality note -

….I did get feel personally and deeply offended to the point of tears recently….

As a mother and very proud to be one, I was soooo upset and deeply insulted when it was reported that the NHS in their ‘infinite (!!?) wisdom’ decided that they will no longer refer to pregnant mothers as pregnant mothers, as this will offend pregnant transgender people! So when speaking about pregnancy the term to be used is pregnant persons……!

After calming down, so many questions of disbelief… many thoughts….will the child have to call the ‘person' who has given birth ‘person’ as opposed to mother? ‘permy’ as opposed to mummy? pers as opposed to mum?

I just have one indignant reply - do not attempt to strip me of my very distinct honour of becoming a mother!

There is a section - and it is only a section though a very vocal one - who are very active in promoting their agenda and this is a good example of the lunacy of it. I know quite a few trans people and none of them talk like that.

I think the insane are running the asylum now O2!

There should be a 'prefer not to say' box, littlepom.

Even if people turned up at A and E , I guess they could refuse to treat them if the patients weren't authorised.

I don’t really see how they could knitter. Doctors and nurses are there to help and care so if someone was so ill at the weekend say, no doctor appointment so no referral, would they really be turned away?

Our son was very ill a few months back (sepsis) and his wife took him to A&E where he was well cared for and treated. It was on a Sunday. A matter of a few weeks later he had his tonsils out.

Crazy times we live in. Take care xxxxx

Hi sassy, I have been in A and E in the past, and have seen and heard a patient being told to go to their GP, they were not given treatment at the hospital.

Admittedly it was during the week. One weekend when I had an asthma exacerbation , A and E wanted to refer me to the out of hours clinic instead, but changed their mind.

I also once refused an X-ray during another asthma attack, as I had had so many....I was told to go home as I was refusing treatment.

There was an enquiry after that when I complained.

Yes knitter that seems harsh but some do abuse the system. It would be difficult to enforce for all though l feel as it’s very hard to get a Doctors appointment in many areas and would take time for them to do a referral anyway. It just doesn’t make sense.

We all need to stay well it seems. Enjoy your day. Xxx

They quite likely haven't thought it through properly Sassy. Sometimes these outlandish suggestions get made then diverting us from something else they want to push through.

Very true O2. x

I think they float these ideas just to see what reaction they get. If it's bad they quietly 'forget it'.

That's nothing new though sassy as people always have abused the system since inception of the NHS, The policymakers know this but choose to ignore it and put the blame on them instead as though it's a new phenomenon. x

Dare I say it, there are out of hours doctors!

yes but you may have to wait the nurse used the 111 triage service, I was given the telephone as the usual questions had to be answered plus BP, TEMP and Sats after what was seemed a while she said a doctor visit been made it may be a little after midnight in actually it was 4:15 am he left with a script for ab's but said they could wait for the next day.

Hi Knitter it might be that the person told to see her GP due to her condition was not classed as emergency. A&E is for emergency and you wouldn't believe the amount of people turn up at A&E with conditions a chemist could deal with not only the A&E people would ring for a ambulance because they have broken a finger nail very sad.


You're supposed to call 111 on occasions like that. The only time I did that they sent me to A&E anyway, where the response was, they always send people to A&E regardless. More important is that people understand what an accident or emergency actually mean. Difficulty breathing and chest pain are always emergencies. I nearly got sent home from my previous hospital, whereupon my husband suggested they read my notes! Attitudes changed a bit then, and I saw A&E consultant and was admitted. On the other hand, when I watch 24 hrs in A&E they often show people in the waiting room with tiny scratches that only require a sticking plaster!

Hi O2Trees

Interesting article.

It does however, add to the debate about GP surgeries being open longer in the evenings and definitely over the weekend.

The NHS cannot just take something away that saves lives without replacing it with something at the very least as good. And how will it possibly work? Will this put a larger workload onto the already overstretched ambulance and paramedics service because EVERYONE will have to call them first?

I read Andrew Green's opinion on the 30% cuts in referrals and liked what he had to say, but have not seen whether the plans are definitely shelved. It would appear that many surgeries are 'ignoring' what was asked of them though.

I am bemused how those that sit in an office looking at the paperwork and charts can decide on a plan of action without having frontline experience.......

I think if There's a May wanted to improve her popularity ratings, the one single thing she could do would be to reshuffle Hunt out of cabinet, out of government and out of this universe ( well, one can always dream!)

He must be one of the most disliked politicians there is.


It would be a bit like shooting the messenger though. I am sure the pm can get rid of anyone she wants so she must approve of Hunt. He is only carrying out Tory policy but is being blamed for it. Put the blame where it belongs instead.

I do.

With the senior cabinet minister who is the head of the department that comes up with these 'ideas'. He is paid to to take both the blame and the outcry.

Yet another wearer of a jobsworth hat who feels the need to justify their position by coming up with crackpot ideas, the "we have to be seen as doing something" mentality. This idea is downright dangerous.


It puts the fear of god up me as I am ageing and face each day waking up feeling permanently crap. At least my GP is going ahead with me in things I do to keep well and stat out of the surgery.

Maybe those who hold power should remember the song.....' There but for Fortune Go You and I'

Joan Baez wasn't it Knitter?

yes in the movie about some space scientists and they had to destroy what they created. M/s May could take a lesson here.

I think what Mrs May creates may well destroy her!

just been looking at the reports on this and came across this -

NHS un-named spokesman statement: "It is wrong to suggest or imply that the NHS will do anything other than continue to provide A&E care for all patients who need it, nor are there any plans to prevent patients from visiting A&Es alongside the other options now available foe non-urgent care such as NHS 111 or urgent treatment centres."

A Department of Health spokesman - again un-named - said ministers and officials discuss many ideas without them ever reaching the stage of being proposed as policy.......


They always deny stuff though don't they? It's a standard tactic, but the suggestion has been made. So next time it's made it doesnt seem quite so outlandish. That's how people are nudged into accepting things they wouldn't have earlier. Not saying this is what is happening here though but it could be - time will tell.

People are named in the Standard article though - Dr Helen Thomas, national medical advisor for integrated urgent care at NHS England, says Jeremy Hunt has mentioned this to her a few times and she may pilot it if there is political support. Hopefully the BMA will ride to the rescue as in the article . . .

"But the British Medical Association (BMA) said forcing ill patients to go through an extra layer of bureaucracy would cause further delays and was too risky."

I think thats why I put .....hmmmm..... Being an optimist, I do try to find a positive angle in things. I think the clue was in 'un-named'.

Yes, I did read that Standard article too, and am now going to read the BMA views and news online as often as possible as it does give a clearer sight into what is happening with NHS from the inside rather than headlines and spins to sell newspapers.

Last year my 19 year old grandson was taken to A&E and admitted with meningitis. If he had been turned away... Just doesn't bear thinking about.

No it doesnt Lyd - the whole thing is bonkers.

link to article of un-named NHS spokesman statement -

Thanks. I have put the link with the article. For future reference, to edit what you have written use the little 'v' next to the 'like' button.

It would appear that whenever the incumbent government is in trouble with concerns over such things as brexit negotiations and dodgy tower blocks the dear Mr Hunt is dragged out with some ridiculous suggestion with regard to improving the Nhs or rewarding it's staff with pay freezes.I am thinking that as dangerous as most of his daft proposals are they are just the warm up act for future horror's but for the time being thankfully they are a means of distracting us from recent issues....................skis and apolitical scruffy cat

That's a political observation right there skis :D

I was just thinking of the times I have gone to A and E. They were all for very good reasons and they were all when doctors were closed . Twice was for dog bites (many years apart) when I knew I needed a tetanus jab straightaway. The 3rd time was when I had a very severe chest infection, was in a lot of pain and couldn't breathe, this happened late one evening. The last time was being sent there by the doctor coz of a large abscess which was very infected. They incised it under a general anaesthetic and I ended up being kept in for 3 days.

So without A and E I could have had tetanus (twice), pneumonia, and sepsis. It would have cost the NHS a lot more to sort those out later....

Ps the article did say 'without a doctor OR a 111 referral' as well O2. x

Well 111 has proved many times to be rubbish Lil :(

Very true :) x

i actually think it is a good idea that only a medical professional can refer you to accident and emergency. I personally never go to accident and emergency as I am afraid I will be told I did not need to go. I always ring a care coordination centre who triage me as otherwise they know I would wait til life threateningly ill before I sort help.

Well I should imagine most people don't have a care coordination centre to triage them first? If you didn't I wonder if you would go or not?

i did not have one while at university and I would only go to hospital if I collapsed and then I would end in resus. i left it till i was life threatening as i did not want to waste nhs time.

Well I do think you were lucky you made it but I don't think this is to be recommended. Don't forget too that by not going earlier it probably cost the NHS more money to treat you as it was much more severe by then.

There have always been time wasters in the NHS and this is nothing new despite the Govt's/general public's attempts to blame them for the current crisis. x

that is why i would like to be sent by a medical professional.

I agree with Lil above JV - it would have cost the NHS more, and also taken more toll on your body and health to have left things that late. If you want to be referred or seen by NHS professionals first and you are that bad, you are entitled to call 999, and you will get very well trained paramedics triaging you.

you are entitled to your own ideas. i will stick to mine.

That is your prerogative of course but l would never risk Petes life and wouldn’t hesitate to call 999 if necessary. X

I should hope not sassy! Most of us have enough common sense to realise when it is an emergency :) xx

i am autistic and common sense is not there. i do not have anyone to ring for me. i get for most it is easy to know what to do but for me it is not easy and in the past i have been turned away it was horrid. i still say i would rather be sent by a medical professional

Hmmm - I can see that if you've had that experience in the past then it could feel easier to have the authority of a medical referral behind you if you need treatment.

Maybe your doctor could give you a check list of symptoms of your main conditions so you could know when it was ok to call 999?

a speech and language therapist is working with me to create a list using sounds.

Ok fair enough. You did reply in your post though that you don't think anyone should go to A and E without referral. x

Trouble is if you ring 111 you first get a lay person who asks questions whose answers they don't understand, then they pass you over to someone with medical qualifications e.g paramedics etc who send you to A&E automatically. The attitude of suing for the slightest mistake has caused everybody a lot of problems, as they are terrified of missing something. It is a very difficult situation for us all, and not getting any better.

I made the decision recently to dial 111 as it was a Saturday and I was a little concerned. When I say 'little concerned' I really mean majorly concerned!

The realisation was that I did recognise and remember most of the questions they ask as they do have a set list of questions. These are followed by grading of how severe/mild etc the problem is per answer to each question.

But that being said, it really worked for me this time. A prescription was sent to my local chemist(Lloyds).

However, it was sent - electronically - to the Lloyds chemist attached to my surgery...which of course is closed! I discovered this when calling my local chemists(Lloyds) to see if it was ready. This then got even more amusing as they still did not have it an hour later. It was then found to be at the chemist up at the other end of town -why? - because they had recently purchased my local Lloyds chemist!

Thank goodness for the willingness of my neighbours son, as he fetched it for me.

In the past, upon dialling 111 and answering questions, I have had both paramedics and an ambulance turn up! On 2 separate occasions!

Truly shocking stuff he's coming out with CLEARLY i would say more tad stronger BUT value being member of blf & hu

But what i will say is given GP i for one would not be here if it was not for my ability to go AE in emergancy.

And i dont have enough finger's for people i know who would not be here IF lost abilty to go AE

Also its not like GPs are open 24 / 7

OMG words fail me - how depressing. It's a vicious circle - people frequently have difficult getting an appointment with their GP - some end up going to A & E - now they have to see their GP, which they have difficulty doing!

I once spent ages struggling with infection and a temp of 40 on the 'phone to the outfit who came before 111. In the end I called an ambulance and when I told them they said 'never call them when you are as unwell as this, always call us. Another time the ambulance broke down outside my home and we had to wait for another to come 10 miles away as they were having to deal with a drunk who, after being checked over had nothing wrong with him and was sent on his way. The crew were so frustrated that I had to wait so long in the state I was in and they were being messed around with a time waster.

As we seem to be in for a horrid winter and many difficulties are expected at hospitals, I expect Gov are anticipating poor media coverage and would love to give soundbites that A & E have managed well under their watch. No mention, I would suspect, that mortality has gone up.

I reckon James Naughtie got it right in his introduction where he mispronounced Hunt. Was going to put it up but we have had a warning - you can still find it on utube though. I remember when it happened and it made my day!


Yes, hahaha - I heard it too at the time cof, wonderful. But boy, did you have a bad experience there. A clear example of how mad this suggestion is.

Thankyou so much !!!....I had not heard it, just knew about it. And hadn't thought to view it on certainly made me laugh out loud!

And laughter is the best medicine.....

My gp surgery, normally excellent, has had a notice in red on its website for at least 6 weeks, saying they're only able to offer urgent appointments at present. 3 local surgeries have closed & they've been forced to take on 000s of extra patients. No wonder people go to A&E!

Hi Hanne - same has happened in Folkestone where two surgeries closed. The other surgeries have said they don't have the capacity to take more patients on, so no doubt they will be going to A&E with non-emergencies - what else can they do?

I think they can be forced to take on more patients, whether they're full or not, if there's no other spare capacity locally. Pointless, as the new ones won't be able to get appointments either. Still, just blame the patients eh? Of course there ARE stupid people who turn up with trivial ailments but I don't believe many would sit in a crowded waiting room for 4hrs if they weren't genuinely concerned. Last time I was in A&E, about 2wks ago, there were people sitting all over the floor, holding young children etc. It was a Sat morning when of course surgeries are shut. I won't even mention the joke that is the 111 service! 😡

It rather defeats its purpose. A and E is for accident and emergency.

Well I for one rang my GP on 2 occasions over 2 days and he came doing home visit. Both my legs were so red and swollen beyond belief and my oxygen levels which he didn't check on 1st visit where through the roof. Didn't send me in only on his return visit to my home the next day did he ask me did I want to continue staying at home as had oxygen there or go hospital. Luckily I chose hospital as when ambulance arrived a bit later on my my signs where showing I should be dead they were that bad.. That was the start of my Type ll respiratory failure. I certainly should have just gone straight to A&E as I ended up in 3 comas and not expected to live.. Was in 3 weeks so I would be very nervous about waiting for a GP referall .

How can we get a referral when we go down with an asthma attack we need help immediately what are they thinking of

I saw that..what happens at night and weekends?? The ambulance service will be overwhelmed. It is getting ridiculous.

Looking back on two occasions during the last 2 years when I required attention,the first a multiple facture of the right femur and the second most recently when I split my head open : had I needed a referral to go to A&E I would not be here to write this blog.

Senior politicians should have skills acquired in the work place and not look back to their days at Oxbridge for the skill set necessary to do the job.

Do you not wait long enough for to see a gp. Never mind waiting for hand writen letter. The world has gone mad

So we could end up waiting a week for an appointment that needed A&E to deal with straight away? It does not make sense at all?

I have had a couple of A&E visits that with out O2 straight away could of been fatal!


He's been called worse and by people more vocal than myself!

To say I am gobsmacked by this is an understatement. It is called Accident and EMERGENCY, How can it be classed as an emergency if you have had time to book an appointment with the doctor, then see the doctor to get a referral, it is utter madness. What would happen if you had a heart attack and are on the floor unconscious. The more I think about it the dafter it seems. Jeremy Hunt needs to think this through properly from every angle not just the financial one.

Isn't this the reason A&E have triage. If you are about to croak yet get seen immediately, if you've got a splinter you get to wait 4 hours, if you've got a cold you get sent to the (external) pharmacist.

Last time I took the wife to A&E every, literally every, person who examined her said we had done the right thing to fetch her in. This was after looking up symptoms on nhs choices.

Last time I called to out of hours gp number i was xfrd to 111 predecessor who without telling xfrd me to 999 and paramedics turned up. Asked me why I had called an ambulance, I hadn't but they said it wasn't that unusual for them to be sent without the patients knowledge. Fortunately they were able to resolve the situation without a hospital visit tho she did have one helluva headache afterwards.

Yes, triage - like the time I was in A&E with broken ankle waiting for the X-ray and plaster, and a man came in with a verruca!

Another crazy idea that just shows how out of touch with reality this government and its ministers are. And beware the argument that oh well some people abuse the system - that was the same sort of argument the government used against us viz. the disabled to introduce the present system that has us jumping through hoops (although not literally although I'd love too) to access what we are entitled to, although by their own figures the percentage of those who were playing the system were so small as to be financially negligible, especially compared to the monies paid out to their 'friends' at ATOS and other such private companies, that has served only to disenfranchise many of us unfairly. The same argument has also been used with the unemployed etc. funnily enough they did not stop MP's expenses (also abused by some) or bring in hard sanctions and private companies to monitor them - I wonder why?...........

Great post - so true.

Hear hear undine, well reasoned and well said. 👌

Thank you both xxx

You're welcome undine x :)

Hi just liked to say i stay in scotland i. Had blood clot. And lung infection. About 3 years a go. Was given all med to take at home. Best thing that could to have. As it did not catch anything worse in hosptail. Bad if you have no family around to help but keep saying this world is mad. Gp . And hosptail dont get you some thing like swine ful comes along. Hope everyone keeps on fighting .god. bless take care . Love sent to everyone

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