Royal Infirmary Edinburgh

…so my poor fiancé crashed the car this evening (don’t panic, not the S2k). She was fine when I finally managed to get to her but the car had been in one hell of a shunt. I won’t be surprised if the car is written off.

Eventually we got home, made the insurance phone call and dealt with a few other things. A big mug of sweet tea and some cuddles later and her adrenaline started to fade. That’s when the pain began and the nightmare of A&E appeared, and believe me it has been a nightmare.

She realised that she had a small bump on her forehead as well as one on the back of her head, and there was a growing headache.

Taking a couple of Nurofen we called NHS24 just as a precaution and they advised something I was dreading, A&E.

So off we went and arrived at about 21:30. Nowadays with the modern A&E we have to pay for parking there, I took a mental note as we came over, 2-3 hours is around £3.50.

We waited an hour and a half before going to the receptionists to ask what was going on, after all she had been in a traffic accident and was now suffering from headaches after smashing her head off the steeri…immediately pointed to an empty nurses station.

It took some persistence to attract someone’s attention and be told that we were next. So we waited some more.

All that time phones would ring unanswered as receptionists stood and chatted to other people and moved papers around, staff came and went through the main door, and even patients we’d seen mulling around were leaving.

At one point an alarm sounded and security rushed about and disappeared into the nursing area. The alarm kept sounding. The security staff left calmly. The alarm kept sounding. The receptionists stared at it and miraculously it turned off.

It took another 30 minutes before she finally got called.

The time is now 00:16 and she’s just seen a nurse for less than one minute. The nurse told her that it would be another hour at least for her to see a Doctor! Apparently there’s been an emergency and everyone’s busy.

A three hour emergency which took all the staff.

In those three hours we’ve seen plenty of nurses come and go, and plenty of patients leave, get called by taxis, walk out with their loved ones.

In those first two hours only two patients were seen, and one was in the last twenty minutes. There’s been a few more seen now, and we heard one get told that an X-Ray would be an hour and a half.

Despite this almost three hour wait now, we’re convinced she’ll be given a pill or two and told to come back tomorrow should the headache remain and/or get worse. Heaven forbid they suggest an X-Ray.

I think tomorrow a stern letter will be called for along with a request for refund of the parking for a good portion of the waiting time.

I won’t ask for the forty pence for the distasteful tea and coffee.

01:05 and she’s been called through again. Now the A&E is filled with drunks. Lovely.

01:59 and we’re home. She’s suffering concussion and whiplash, so it’s drugs and careful watch for the next few days. I’m told if I can’t wake her and she’s not breathing tomorrow to phone an ambulance, if she’s sick more than three times or the headache gets worse to head back to A&E (presumably for another three and a half hour wait).

So pills, ice, heat and sleep it is…and tomorrow I can get caught up on the Filmstalker writing I’ve missed!

13 comments on “Royal Infirmary Edinburgh”

  1. ghani Reply

    The A&E wait is always ridiculous and soo frustrating. I hope your fiancee is feeling much better today!

  2. Louise Reply

    What a nightmare. Obviously emergencies should take priority, but at the same time most of the waiting around seems unnecessary. There must be a better system.

    Drunks don’t help either, last time I was in A and E it was a Friday night and I think I can safely say that there were only about 2 or 3 people who weren’t there cos they were drunk and/or injured from a drunken incident. For doctors and nurses that must be frustrating.

  3. Simone Reply

    Oh Richard, please send my love to Zoe. Please tell me she is feeling much better now and doesnt need to go back to A&E?

    As you already know I work as a nurse for the NHS, and one of the problems that doesnt seem to go away is the waiting time for A&E. In the trust I work for we have a 4 hour waiting time target, that all patients must be seen within this 4 hour period, and there’s still a lot of struggle to meet this. I know its an agonising wait but that seems to be the reality with all A&E’s across the UK. With the NHS being in a financial mess we might even see A&E aross the country shutting down, such a shame really because what this is doing is hurting our patients.

  4. Patrick Reply

    so my poor fiancĂ© crashed the car this evening (don’t panic, not the S2k) – I wasn’t worried about the car – I was worried about the fiance!!!

    You even have to pay for parking in the middle of the night?! Jeez!

    I hope she is ok – fingers crossed!

    Send her my love.

  5. Richard Brunton Reply

    Simone – Totally understand the constraints and problems behind it all, I just couldn’t believe how frustrating it is from the “customer” end and how it does look like there’s just nothing happening.

    It must be incredibly hard to work in that environment and have so many tired and angry people to deal with.

    Patrick – many thanks, will do. I’ll let her know about the comments now. She’s resting up with heat patches and drugs.

  6. ghani Reply

    Yes I’m feeling a bit better Richard, thanks — I meant to drop you a line to thank you for your kind words but couldn’t seem to find your e-mail address. If you’d like to email me just drop a line to

  7. pablo Reply

    Thats a complete load of bollocks. “” Simone this is obviously not directed at you. “”

    but, what the f*ck is going on with the NHS? I try to not enter into politics, but i think it will be difficult to avoid.

    Some simple stuff first.

    1. we live in a democracy

    2. we pay taxes

    3. we would like some basic things from the elected folk, like:

    3.1 safety

    3.2 the ability to sleep in relative peace and quiet

    3.3 the least possible number of lies per campaign

    3.2 sanitation

    3.4 medical care when required

    4. Politicians and soothsayers hold the same qualification.

    I realise its more complicated than my “pea for a brain” can probably understand, but surely the medical care should be a priority for every elected individual? as far as i can tell the system is getting worse(much worse).

    How the hell can a brand new hospital be built with (i presume) all the bells and whistles and still not have a basic number of staff to deal with the injured folk? Spend less on the fancy carpark and more on a fair and automated A & E process.

    i can tell you why, there are too many greedy bloody consultants swanning about the hospitals doing fek all while the junior doctors and extremely patient(and well underpaid) nurses are left holding the buck(or impala).

    The government needs(as my dad would say to me many times) a kick up the backside and to stop paying some docotor bloke on orkney 400 hundred trillion pounds because he lives in a remote location. they need to shake the cr@p out of the consultants and give them a reality check(as opposed to a blank cheque) and give a significant pay rise to nurses based on time in service.

    That and they better make more time for Zed. Hope she is feeling better richard and next time i am in the ‘burger i will do my best to stamp my feet until things change.

  8. Richard Brunton Reply

    I agree Pablo, another example of complete mis-management and mis-management of funds. A spanking new hospital – there was a plasma screen in reception – and yet not enough staff.

    She’s doing great now thanks. Day off work and we hope that the headaches and neck pains will be gone.

  9. Lee Reply

    As long as the love of your life is OK. And Zed is too!

    The ERI sucks. When Deborah’s waters broke she was seen fairly quickly on arrival on the Saturday morning at 02-be-in-bed. With a time of follow-up requested by the midwife for 9pm that same night, it was 22:50 when she was seen, being told to avoid coming in at 9pm for the shift change (at 8pm), despite the midwife specifically saying to be in at 9. The 9pm visit on Sunday night was a mere 5 minute wait. No reason at all for the difference, no busier or quieter from one night to the next.

    Eighty fucking quid it cost me in parking that week. Actually I tell a lie, eighty fucking four.

  10. John Gallagher Reply

    You seem to be a very opinionated chap… Is there anything on this planet that doesn’t make you want to stamp your feet and quote various Acts of Parliament & law at people ???

    Lets imagine that it takes you 10 minutes to compose every angry letter that you write, that 10 minutes could be used more wisely and for someone else’s benefit – not just to please yourself on berating someone who doesn’t give a toss !

    Please save your whining, and find a decent use for this webspace.

  11. Richard Brunton Reply

    Hi John. There’s loads, you should read some of the rest of the site and all the other things I read and write on the Internet.

    There’s nothing wrong with knowing your rights and quoting them when other people ignore them or trample all over them.

    Those ten minutes are being spent wisely for someone else’s benefit – is no one else affected by the parking costs at the hospital? Is no one else affected by the waiting times when they have someone with a head injury or similarly bad injury? I think they are.

    You’ll find that all the complaints and moans here relate to services which more than just myself use and where more than just myself have been and can be hit by the poor service of the provider.

    You’ll also find that my letters do not berate people, they are focusing on the service towards the customer, not on individuals.

    Oh, and if they don’t give a toss then they’ll reflect a poor customer service on their company.

    If you look at my complaints, although not all the letters are published here, you’ll see quite readily that they are far from peevish or self-pitying, and are aimed at pointing out problems in customer service and provision within an organisation. They are very factual as otherwise they will serve no purpose. Hence they are not “whining”.

    Since I pay for this webspace and you do not, I’ll not heed your final comment. This is a great use for my webspace and it’s working a treat. After all, you’ve spent the time to comment haven’t you?

    I’m sure your webspace is serving the greater good of all humanity. Perhaps you’ve devouted it to solving the worlds peace problems and instigating more peace, respect and understanding in humanity, or perhaps finding a way to stop global warming?

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