NHS England: A Call to Action
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GP's and A&E

I have unfortunately this year had to use A&E five times. Why? My surgery was unable to see me when I was unwell, so I battled on to work and ended up collapsing and being taken by ambulance to A&E. I felt really guilty taking up their time (even though I needed treatment) as I felt I could have been treated by my GP.

The staff are always kind, but you can see they are really stretched. While they treated the immediate problem, I was referred back to my GP to find the cause. It took another four emergency visits by ambulance before the tests were finally done which diagnosed my problem. Each time I spent several hours on Oxygen, or drips taking up their valuable time.

If there were more drop in centres for minor injuries maybe it would alleviate the strain on the A&E department.

I really feel A&E is being used as a catch all for a lot of problems which do not need to be treated there. If people can't see the GP it appears they turn to A&E when sometimes speaking to a pharmacist can sort out the problem.

Our surgery now has a notice on the door saying they are aware there is a problem getting appointmants with your GP - it has now been there two months with no change.

7 Replies

Firstly I think you had a good reason to need an ambulance, not like some idiots who seem to think that the ambulance makes a good free taxi, secondly, I thought it was bad at my GPs lol, something needs to be done with all the health services as they are so short staffed and starved of equipment but the main thing is they get you sorted out one way or another.

Take care


1 like

The new NHS are making all the (Right) noises but not delivering . Welcome to the Tory health service


Like a lot of other threads reporting the experiences of many people and their carers, there is a lot of sense in your observations, that the access systems to GP need to be revised, that pharmacists can offer very helpful professional advice and this aspect of their professional ability is under-used, and that A&E is over-used and is the wrong place for some of the treatments that people need. I have joined in with the systems to help the NHS coordinate better, but I think the public in general needs to be clearer about what our responsibilities are when seeking treatment. Some people have left conditions to deteriorate before seeking treatment, which makes it harder to treat and recover. Some people do not need A&E but our health systems need to be more accessible. I have read a lot about A&E being blocked by so many people whose treatment need is alcohol-related and we need better systems to identify acute and chronic problems, and provide the right treatments, all of which could be better arranged, especially in relation to the issues identified in this thread, which seem to call for better triage and diagnostic process.


Hi, The answer is to try to be assertive at the time you first needed help. It is not up to the receptionist to turn you away, if you are so unwell that you need to see a GP immediately then you are entitled to do so and should go to the surgery and say you do not feel well enough to wait until an appointment is available. Then if they turn you away and you end up in A & E by ambulance you should write to your local health authority patient liason and explain the situation - being expected to wait is fine if it is not urgent but if you are that unwell your GP would normally see you. You can also go to the local drop in centre if there is one near you as they are really helpful too. Sue


Drop-in centres are the answer but some are closing or now asking you to make an appointment. I used a drop-in when I couldn't see my GP for a while and again when I wanted a second opinion. Otherwise I would have gone to A&E because I had a complaint that needed to be seen. The 111 service is longdrawn out with questions they need to ask when you need an immediate response.


Your GP surgery should have a duty doctor on each day who you can discuss the best way forward. If you cannot speak to a GP you can ring 111 for advice and, if necessary, call out an out of hours GP, arrange for a paramedic to visit you at home, transport you to hospital to the urgent care centre (manned by GPs) or A&E.

I am bias about my treatment as I do have an excellent GP surgery , Balham Park (GPs: Behind Closed Doors) and St George’s (24 hours in A&E). Due to (now) End Stage renal failure I am a ‘frequent flyer’ to hospital. I call an ambulance rarely but when ill take a cab. It is difficult to know who needs treatment as I’m rarely in the waiting room for more than five minutes. I am either admitted to a short term ward or the Renal Unit. But the pressure in our A&Es comes from inappropriate use - often people made have an illness which isn’t endangering but can wait. Instead of having patience and use other pathways they are happy to fill A&E.

I doubt not your need to see a doctor but

1. Try and make an appointment with you GP, You may have to wait but they will see you

2. As to speak to the duty GP. He or she will ring you back. If the receptionist refuses ask to speak to the Surgery Manager

3. Walk in Centre or Urgent Care Centre managed by Specialist Nurses or GPs.

4. A&E - You dont have to call an ambulance. You can self-refer but you will be triaged to find the best pathway for you


Until the ethos of NHS changes this MAD situation will still occur .The whole structure & organisation defies reason & ethics wasting the valuable resources supplied by us ! For this they blame & victimise the patients with negligence disabling further especially if classed as Vulnerable .

Surely it is realised emergency urgent action by the academically medically qualified to Research following NHS Constitution makes sense & would prevent the statistics being at an all time low for the prevention of early fatalities .Surely you should not have to become acute to access fair treatment .With classic heart failure symptoms caused by their deliberate unintelligent ,antibiotic policies I died 3x of cardiac arrest when they had targeted me over 10 yrs into early retirement with their unreasonable Cuts & withholding antibiotics.And still this is happening.


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