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NHS Walk In Centre
Member Name: Allypags
NHS Walk In Centre
Date: 17/01/10, updated on 17/01/10 (501 review reads)
Advantages: good service
Disadvantages: none for me
I was very impressed with the service in the walk in centre in Bristol so I thought I'd share my experience. It wasn't something I immediately thought of doing but if you're unable to get to your doctor this is a brilliant alternative.
It was entirely down to my own stupidity that I ended up needing this service which made me all the more surprised that it was so good - I suppose they didn't know but I almost felt like I deserved to suffer for longer!
I ended up with an infected toe just down the side of the toenail and whatever I put on it I couldn't get it to clear up. I tried just about every kind of antiseptic I could think of and nothing worked. This happened while I was at my parents' house and as I am still registered with the local doctor there it would have been very easy to make an appointment and get it sorted out. In fact my mother told me to do just that and I didn't listen. I thought I'd just keep piling antiseptic on and it would go away eventually. It didn't. It was such a little thing that I thought I could deal with it myself but it got to the stage where I was limping around in my mother's shoes - her feet are a size bigger than mine so this was less painful!
Of course by the time I had decided to admit defeat and I needed antibiotics I was back at home miles away from my doctor (another case of stupidity not registering with a new doctor when I moved) so I didn't know what to do. I was due to go on holiday in a few days and couldn't face ruining that by limping around the whole time and there was also the possibility of the infection entering my bloodstream which would have been rather inconvenient so I needed to get antibiotics fast. This was quite distressing as I faced a very long drive to my doctor - inconvenient as well as painful with a septic foot.
Luckily for me a friend of mine suggested trying an nhs walk in centre so I decided it was worth a go. Having done my research on the internet and tried everything I could think of I was certain that antibiotics were the only way forward but I didn't know if they would be able to prescribe them at the walk in centre and I really didn't fancy the wait if I was going to come home empty handed.
I found the staff on the reception desk very friendly and helpful - they were able to advise me that the nurse would be able to give me antibiotics if necessary. They didn't even mind too much that I couldn't remember who my doctor was. They were also able to give me a very accurate waiting time which I was impressed with because there were quite a few people waiting but they seemed to get people in and out very quickly and I found I didn't have to wait longer than they'd said.
The wait was around an hour and a half which isn't exactly fun but for something that you just walk in to without an appointment you have to expect to wait. They didn't let you leave in this time - I relieved to hear the receptionist telling one man who said he'd be back in half an hour that if he wanted to keep his place in the queue he had to stay there. I would have been very jealous if he'd been allowed to leave as I was in too much pain to do so and just had to sit there getting quite bored.
I would strongly advise taking a book! I forgot and ended up watching a chat show on the tv they had provided with the sound off which didn't really keep me entertained. The strange thing was the sound would mysteriously come back on for the adverts. I also had a bit of a chat with a woman who had tried to sit down on what she thought was a chair and it turned out to be a rubbish bin and was in some pain from ending up on the floor. This really wasn't enough to entertain me for an hour and a half but with a good book I'd have been fine! I assume the waiting time varies a lot but I didn't think it was too bad on this occasion.
Apart from the boredom the waiting room was fairly comfortable and it was nice to see a sign on the door asking people to stay away if they had swine flu so I wasn't too scared about leaving with something worse than what I went in with. I did try not to sit near anyone who was coughing though.
When I saw the nurse she was very nice and seemed to know what she was doing which is always good. She had a good look at it and gave me a new dressing while asking loads of questions. She only gave me the antibiotics when she was satisfied that I'd tried all the other options which was quite reassuring - much as I wanted them it was nice to know they wanted to try other options first. She even took my temperature to make sure it hadn't got into my blood. She gave me loads of advice on how to make it go away quickly and sent me away with a week long course of antibiotics. I had anticipated having to limp to a pharmacy after being given a prescription but was pleasantly surprised that the nurse just took them from a locked cupboard and handed them over.
My only complaint here is that she gave me the highest dose which I didn't realise until I got home and as I'm really tiny I don't think this was necessary and it did make me feel quite strange. I ended up only taking half of the tablets after a while which I know is not a good idea with antibiotics but I felt I should have been on a much lower dose. I didn't complete the course and the infection did clear up. I could be wrong and she did seem to know what she was doing but I do feel that half the dose would have been better although I don't see this as a flaw with the walk in centre as my doctor may well have done the same thing and there may have been a good reason for it.
So overall I was very pleased with the service - it was friendly, professional and efficient and it cured my manky toe!
I would definitely recommend this if you have a minor problem and you're unable to get to your doctor.
Summary: A really useful service