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