Sugar-coated help from NHS Direct

My husband was taken ill with a raging virus. There was no cold or chest infection, yet, by the middle of the following night, he was losing a lot of water. At around 3am, he became worse, so I rang NHS Direct. A nurse rang back 10 minutes later, and I explained what was wrong. She then asked to speak to my husband. When he put the phone down, he told me the doctor wasn’t coming, and the nurse had told him to take honey and lemon. I wanted to ring back, but my husband was so upset, he would not let me. Even if there had been an infection in his chest, where would he have got honey and lemon from at 3am on a Sunday morning?

He was no better throughout the rest of Sunday, so I rang again for a doctor around 2.30pm. Just over two hours later, a nurse rang back; after further discussion, she said it would be three hours before a doctor could come.

At around 8.30pm, a doctor arrived. She was very nice but, after examining my husband, she admitted that she did not know what was wrong, as she had never seen anything like it before.

I also went down with the virus and, after about two weeks, I rang NHS Direct for help with dehydration, and was told to go out and buy Lucozade, Vimto, Coca-Cola and lemonade. I could not believe my ears.

I ended up having acupuncture treatment. We would never call a doctor unless it was serious, as I have been a complementary therapist for 20 years, so I do not use a doctor except in an emergency.

Obviously, some of the nurses do not have enough knowledge, and there is not much point in employing more of them if they do not have enough experience. – D. Robertshaw, Wollaton, Nottingham

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Written by What Doctors Don't Tell You

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