HEALTH – “Patient vs Cumbria Healthcare” Claire Thompson

Expectations of the patient vs Cumbria healthcare

Frantically searching for an inhaler….No relief. I made one call.

I called @CHOC_cumbria, Cumbria Health on-call, GP out of hours service.

Asked a series of questions, the call handler determined I needed an ambulance to provide an nebulizer.

She dispatched a crew.

And that’s were it started.

My initial expectation. To be told to make my way up to Choc based at Cumberland Infirmary, at the

allocated time by the call handler, to receive a steroid, at the most an nebulizer and I’d be back home.

The NW ambulance crew arrived, after nebulizer and initial checks, she assured me that everything was

ok, the crew member was puzzled “perhaps there was something else happening that she wasn’t

detecting” she decided to take me in to @NORTHCUMBRIANHS A&E.

Reviewed by the A&E Registrar, he determines quickly that my breathing is settled ?” but would want to

check bloods and chest x-ray to rule anything out. He asks “if anything else going on for you right now”

I explained I had been lethargic and not slept well recently, but medically, fine.

An all clear from blood results and x-ray, the Doctor approved my discharge with a suggestion I speak

with my GP of a plan, should I have the same episodes again. And he reassured me that having asthma

himself, it can be panicking and actually the anxiety of the attack that can feel it much worse.

With that information and before leaving, the Doctor then went on to tell me that his boiler had broken

at home, he was doing his first of 4 night shift, having to have a shower at work and knowing his children

were deeply upset not having there routine evening bath. That he would look forward to Saturday when

he was off, he could bath his little girl and the boiler fixed, heat resumed. We both agreed and

recognised the strain of working and raising families. With that he wished me well with a smile and

wave “take care of yourself”

I left A&E and whilst waiting to be collected I called my GP surgery. Answered by a empathetic

receptionist she advised me that the GP could see me that very morning in the open clinic, and she

would make note of the events that morning.

It had been 3 hours since my initial call to CHOC and I was sat in the GP waiting room, reflecting on what

I had just experienced

I was ultimately overwhelmed by the care and compassion, despite the ambulance crew near end of

night shift, A&E so busy already, a tired registrar and GP surgery that despite just opening its doors had

15-20 waiting in its open clinic.

I was called into the GP, we had met once before. She had read the notes from receptionist and listened

as I translated what the Registrar had informed me.

“OK” after listening to my chest. She explained that as the A&E Doctors had confirmed there was signs

of infection and oxygen sats perfect “think we need to concentrate on helping you” she spoke to me

about personal management for stress and anxiety, something that could be related to my respiratory

attack. and of a service by Cumbria Partnership Foundation Trust, First Steps. I would need to self refer

to the workshops, but she felt that that’s what was needed at this stage.

I listened and read the information given and agreed to her recommendation. With the Doctor

confirming and reassuring me I was only human, working hard and raising family.

Leaving the clinic and driving home, 4 hours after my initial call, I had received care by 5 NHS services, 5

different NHS services over 5 organizations, each one unaware of my patient journey that morning but

nor most importantly the outcome.

Technology aided the journey, perhaps, but something else was responsible for joining up those


Because of basic human emotional intelligence and care and empathy of each of the staff I interacted

with that morning. I was on my way to being fixed, no medical procedure, no surgery needed, just those

having the time for me as a patient to realize that there was something, even I hadn’t noticed was


I already have great faith and passion for healthcare in Cumbria. I’m raising my young family here, I have

a large brood of siblings and their families and my parents who are or will receive the care from one , all

or more of the fantastic services we have. And all driven by just decent caring kind warm people.

That’s what makes Cumbria special


Claire Thompson

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