A Gosford cleaner was turned away from three separate care centres after suffering a needlestick injury in a public toilet.
David Crisp, 40, was performing cleaning duties in public toilets on Trinity High Street in Fareham when he picked up a piece of tissue paper. Concealed within was a dirty needle, and Mr Crisp unwittingly pricked himself.
Immediately seeking the advice of his employer, he was advised to go to Accident & Emergency. But when he arrived at A&E at Queen Alexandra Hospital, Cosham, he was told that he would have to see his GP – ostensibly because it was 2PM and so within General Practice opening hours. However, when his wife rang Brune Medical Centre, Rowner Road, Gosport, she was told that David should go to A & E as that was the protocol for needlestick injuries.
Mr Crisp then tried the Guildhall walk-in Centre in Portsmouth, where staff gave advice but said that they could not treat him.
Attempting to get a clear picture of the suggested procedure, Mr Crisp rang NHS 111 at 7PM, only to be told that the best place to go was A&E.
Eventually, he was seen and treated. He has been given vaccinations and will receive blood tests and boosters over the next year whilst awaiting initial results. But understandably, the delay has caused a great deal of distress.
Mr Crisp said:
‘The whole day was shambolic and it left me feeling very emotional and angry – even several days later. I was concerned about HIV and hepatitis C, worried I could have either of these and that I was delayed treatment. I was turned away from A&E as it was 2pm and was told to see my GP.’
‘After all that I couldn’t believe I was being sent back to the place where it all began,’ said Mr Crisp.
‘What made me angry was I needed treatment quickly but was left waiting several hours instead.’
Even after the event, official NHS protocol for needlestick injuries is not entirely clear. Each care centre believed they were doing the correct thing by redirecting Mr. Crisp, as emphasised by their respective statements after the incident.
A Queen Alexandra Hospital spokesman said:
‘Our needlestick policy is that within working hours patients should visit their employer’s occupational health service or their GP, and out-of-hours should go to the emergency department for a risk assessment and appropriate follow-up.’
Meanwhile a representative of the Guildhall Walk-in Centre stated:
‘The contract we operate under does not permit the team working there to carry out blood tests on patients who are not registered with the centre, unless the GPs have reason to believe the patient has cancer.
‘As a result of this contractual obligation, we refer patients that have been pricked by a potentially dirty needle on to another NHS service for tests.’
Whilst Dr Stuart Morgan, senior partner at the Brune Medical Centre, defended the actions of the practice:
‘It was our firm understanding patients with needlestick injuries should be seen in A&E. We have apologised to the patient for any impression given that we were not willing to see him, and we have been in contact with several NHS services to ensure he has received appropriate treatment.
‘We are entirely satisfied our receptionist did everything she felt appropriate in the circumstances.’
A Clinical Commissioning Group is now looking to streamline and homogenise the policies of all practices to ensure that there is no repeat of this type of incident.
If you have been affected by a needlestick injury, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team for a free consultation. If, like Mr. Crisp, you feel you have been let down by a medical service, then our clinical negligence team can help. Call us on 0800 888 6888 or email info@HH-law.co.uk
Source: Portsmouth News