Negative experiences resulting from service downgrades, closures and the so-called “Path to Excellence”

Feeling Guilty About Using the NHS

I developed a rash on one of my fingers, then I got a strange red mark on another finger on the same hand. The middle joint on both of the affected fingers then swelled up and became painful. This took about a week and a half to happen at which point I went to a pharmacist (as we are advised to do) who said that I should see a GP. When I phoned the GP clinic to make an appointment I got the feeling I should be in more discomfort before seeing a GP, so I cancelled the appointment, and at the time of writing I am hoping that it will get better on its own.

When I was younger I did not stress about going to see my GP (who was always the same person, it was a very stable organisation). I did not have to worry that I might be putting the health service under extra pressure unnecessarily. No one that I am aware of ever thought to consult a pharmacist first, because the whole point of the primary care GP was that they were the first port of call, the clue is in the name 'primary care'. I remember seeing my GP without fear for relatively minor issues like hay-fever and acne. Now I am worried about presenting anything that might be seen as trivial or time wasting, but at the same time I am worried that my rash and joint pain, which has not yet gone away, will get worse or is a sign of something serious.

I don't make many appointments to see my GP, and things seem to have changed a lot. When I phoned up I was at first referred to their website, but I stayed on the phone to speak to the reception. Their website is slightly confusing, but thankfully not as bad as this.
I recently went to see my GP to see if anything could be done about a painful ganglion cyst on my wrist. I was told that care for this is now on a list of treatments that are no longer provided! Since it is relatively minor I will put up with the pain and hope it goes away. I can't afford to line the pockets of a private surgeon.
South Shields Residents Have Your Say

I have to share this ..... shame on you the Commissioners of South Tyneside Hospital!!! .....

My 2 yr old son was struggling to breath last night I called an ambulance ... (paramedics were fantastic) it's was 9.10pm last night when we left my home in Hebburn on route to STH. Only when got to shields were told to 're route to Sunderland as STH will not accept any ambulances after 9pm because they close at 10pm!!! (I know they close) They had to re' route a 25min journey to Sunderland Hospital.... in total a 45 min journey in an ambulance to help my son who has croupe and could not breath through is airways.

At no point am I having a rant about the NHS Staff who were amazing!! but the fact how long it took going to Sunderland taking that ambulance off the road for that amount of time as they had already travelled from (over the water) the fact it was before 10pm but unable to attend STH. I didn't have my car as I travelled in the ambulance I am fortunate for great friends who picked me up.

But what about the families who get sent home at 1am like me and have no transport or can't afford a 25 min taxi fare !!!! It's shameful to put all of the children in ST at risk and the pressure to ambulances. It is also disgusting to put that much pressure on parents of ST who don't have the support or resources ....What if a child dies because you were closed......or even worse because a parent could not get their child to Sunderland hospital !!!! Shame on you commissioners this should never have happened ....ST should not be closed!!!!
Jacqueline Boddy:
Travelling to Sunderland

From where I live next to South Tyneside Hospital (STH) it's three buses. I had to go to Sunderland the other week to have an ultrasound on my hands. Surely STH could have done it. I'm seventy and lucky enough to have a bus pass. The cost for families must be terrible, especially if money is tight. Also if you have children who have to be collected from school. Not everyone has support.

I've paid for taxis there too. £18.00 there. £16.00 back - and that's daytime rates. What if you had to go through the night? If you have no money for the fare I can see ambulance calls increased.
Denise Jopling Faill:
It's unfair to the people of South Shields. We are not a little village we have a very substantial population here, we need our hospital. Anyone in their right mind doesn't want to travel to Sunderland by bus... Our elderly will have difficulty. This I know by my mam visiting someone in Sunderland - 3 buses later, hours later, she's exhausted. People could become fatalities due to the travelling times. We need to keep our hospital in South Sheilds. It is amazing XX
Karen Truman:

Granddad had to go to the stroke unit in Sunderland. It meant he got less visits as trying to get to Sunderland was hard. It was a 15 minute walk, a Metro and a bus for my nana to get there on public transport. Expecting a 85 year old woman to do that twice a day for weeks is daft. It meant she could only visit when someone took her in the car.

My nana had previously been on the stroke unit at South Tyneside before it closed, and the care and attention was lovely. In Sunderland the ward was much larger, the staff didn't have as much time for the patients, and it was like they just wanted rid of my granddad off the ward.