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Quality of Healthcare at London's Walk-In Clinics and Emergency Rooms

A young family member staying in London at this time, studying abroad, has been to one Walk-In clinic twice, a couple of days apart, and then to an ER tonight, trying to get a rash diagnosed. at the clinics, she saw nurses, and at the ER tonight she thinks the guy was an EMT. They keep saying it's nothing serious, that they feel it is heat rash, and and that she has no other symptoms to be concerned about. But the rash is miserable at certain times of the day, and nothing is relieving it much for her. They're just telling her to try different things from the drugstore. She is used to living an air conditioned life here at home in the States; of course, London is very warm the last couple of years in summer, and she is in a room with no AC, and no exhaust fan in the bathroom. Anyway, how difficult is it to see an actual doctor, and also I have been surprised that she has not been charged for her visits to clinics and the ER?

Posted by
273 posts

In order to study abroad, the Tier 4 visa requires a NHS fee to be paid ahead of time, so that's how she's covered and is not getting billed.
Her university's health office should be able to tell her how to get to a dermatologist. The walk in clincis are too generalized, she probably needs a specialist.
I hope she feels better soon.

Posted by
5104 posts

To see a doctor she needs to be registered with one. This is something that she would have been encouraged to do when she enrolled on her study course.

It is very warm at the moment and has been for several weeks, I've seen an increase in heat rash and if there are no accompanying symptoms such as a fever or high temperature then in all likelihood that's what it'll be. Attending A&E for a rash without any other concerning symptoms is an inappropriate use of stretched resources, the walk in centres are intended for that very purpose (or even a pharmacist).

I'm also not sure why the quality of healthcare is being brought into question simply because your relative has not been happy with the diagnosis provided.

She has been diagnosed; she’s been told it’s heat rash and to try some medication. I’m not sure what else she’s expecting. Certainly going to the ER with a rash is not the done thing here, although it sounds like she didn’t know what else to do.

Tell your young family member to go to a pharmacy and ask to see the pharmacist. This is the best approach with something like this. They will be able to recommend the best medicated cream. They will also be able to advise if it’s more serious than just common-or-garden heat rash (of which there is a lot around). If it’s dermatitis for example. But still, a pharmacist would be able to recommend creams for that.

I’m not sure what to suggest if she’s already tried various creams - or indeed what a doctor could do to alleviate it.

It is ridiculously hot here in the UK, exceptionally so - I think probably the most prolonged period of heat we’ve had since 1976 - and I’m not surprised someone used to AC is suffering.

But it’s just one of those things. It’s stupidly hot; people get heat-rash. We do the best we can with the medication available.

I guess she could find a private dermatologist if she’s still not satisfied, and pay through the nose.

Posted by
1065 posts

As it's been around 30C for xx Weeks now I've developed a heat rash on both legs (on the sock line) so I can understand the diagnosis, BTW not ER over here but A&E (accident & emergency).

Posted by
20 posts

Sorry, I meant to ask how good the quality is, not imply that it is not good. The people administering this program did not do a good job with distributing information to families. she went to the medical clinic on site at the school and they couldn't see her for 11 days so that's why she's doing walk-in clinics. She went to a&e because she was miserable and none of the medicines are working. She is talking to a pharmacist right now, says she can't stand the pain and itchiness this morning.

Posted by
660 posts

I get heat rash too... i use ‘Eurax’ cream, available from Boots. Clears it up in hours.

Posted by
20 posts

I appreciate your answers so much. I haven't heard from her in half an hour so I think the pharmacist must be trying to help her. I believe she will need to drop out of her program... It is affecting her so badly. 🙁

Posted by
7844 posts

I hope that family members will encourage her not to drop out. A heat rash is temporary and she will get relief from Meds or weather change soon. A drop out decision is long term.

Posted by
13237 posts

If it is bothering her this badly it might actually be shingles/Herpes Zoster rather than heat rash. Yes, kids can get it if she had chicken pox - had a stepson who was 20 and was miserable with it. Looked like heat rash. IF the suggestions from the pharmacist don't clear it up by tomorrow perhaps she should return to the pharmacist and ask about the possibility of shingles (not sure what it would be called in UK??)

Shingles can actually make you feel bad all over. I had rash, no blisters but mostly felt awful all over. My skin hurt - even in places where the rash wasn't.

Posted by
8262 posts

Is this the same young family member who was staying a couple of nights at the Notting Hill BnB before flying home?

Posted by
1895 posts

I found the pharmacists in Europe pretty good at helping to diagnose symptoms, we went to Boots in London and were helpful. I also agree that it could be shingles and that other factors such as stress and homesickness could contribute. Hopefully she'll get some cream to help relieve the pain/itch. I was sick in London on vacation alone and I know how lonely it can be when you don't know anyone. Hopefully she feels better soon.

Posted by
20 posts

UPDATE: To make a long story short, my young lady is feeling noticeably better now, and I believe the hydrocortisone cream that she started yesterday helpd the discomfort/healing most of all. She is still going to see a doctor from her program for a checkup when she can get an appointment, but hopefully it will clear up quickly now. I appreciate all the advice that you guys gave, and your concern for her. Yes, Claudia, this is the Notting Hill B & B visitor. 😊