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Patient of Loughton



“what is happening to local NHS services??” - mixed messages and a mixed-up ambulance service in a chest-pain emergency

Some interesting experiences last weekend: I’m 75 and live in Loughton. Late evening, pain in chest top left side but localised, not spreading or severe. Phoned NHS Direct who put me through to local Out of Hours GP service – NHS Direct said “your symptoms not severe enough to bother a paramedic ambulance”. Out of Hours doctor said “why didn’t you phone for an ambulance at once ?” Ambulance came from Hertfordshire; didn’t know West Essex area or hospitals. Fortunately the SatNav worked fine, though driver had never been to Whipps Cross before & didn’t know the A & E layout. Great attention though on the paramedic/clinical aspects. How are ambulances now organised ? Are there many cross-boundary trips like this ? Paramedics told me that “if my symptoms had been those of a major heart attack, they were instructed to take such cases to BASILDON hospital” – even though Whipps is the nearest. Is this true? Does the public know this? What are the reasons? The rest of the story is much more positive. Speedy first check-up in A & E, transferred to Emergency Assessment Unit. A very thorough range of tests applied, able to discuss with two Consultants (General & Cardiology), great nursing on the EAU – and pretty good food as well!

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