Elderly women ignored during collapse in GP surgery after being refused help

My gran collapsed in GPs’ surgery and staff refused to help

“I thought she was dead:” Viral Padharia with his grandmother Prabhavati Kachra and wife Rima at their home in Edmonton

Mark Blunden
28 March 2012

Receptionists at a GPs’ surgery refused to call one of eight doctors working there after an 84-year-old woman collapsed in agony in the waiting room, it was claimed today.

Prabhavati Kachra was close to passing out with chest pains and thought she was dying but her grandson said staff would not let him call 999 from their desk phone — citing concerns over patient confidentiality.

But one of them offered to send GPs an email, said Viral Padharia, a 33-year-old council worker, who added: “When we got to the surgery she said her legs just turned to jelly. She was clutching her chest and wasn’t responding to my voice. I was really worried she was having a heart attack. Even the receptionist admitted, ‘She looks bad’, ” he said.

Mr Padharia said it had echoes of the Little Britain “computer says no” sketch. He said: “They were more keen on trying on their new earrings.”

He took Mrs Kachra to the Evergreen Primary Care Centre in Edmonton for a routine check-up last Monday but as soon as they arrived she began to feel unwell.

Mr Padharia, of Edmonton, said two members of the public helped his grandmother into a chair. He ran to the reception desk and asked staff to call one of the doctors. But they refused to leave the desk to knock on a door or even phone them, agreeing only to send a “flash email message” which would appear on the GPs’ screens.

He then asked if they would call 999 but claims they again refused. Mr Padharia, a father-of-one, said: “They said I would have to call 999 myself because I have all the details. But I told them my phone was in the car.”

He claims reception staff refused to let him call the ambulance from their desk phone and he was forced to get his mobile and ring 999.

Mr Padharia said: “They could have done something, they have special numbers. I was in tears, I thought my grandmother was dying.” It was only after paramedics arrived that Mr Padharia said a GP appeared to understand what the commotion was about.

According to Mr Padharia, one paramedic told the GP as he examined Mrs Kachra on the reception room floor: “You should have been out here 10 minutes ago.”

She was taken to North Middlesex Hospital, treated for gall stones and discharged six hours later.

NHS North Central London said it had not received the family’s complaint, but was “concerned to hear” of their claims and urged them to call the PCT’s Patient Advice and Liaison Service.

Practice manager Hugh Weller-Lewis said the family’s claims would be investigated.

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