A&E – The Morning After Pill

Working in the A&E Department at my local hospital at the weekend for the out of hours was never dull.

I would work part-time one evening a week and part-time Saturday evening and Sunday mornings. For the out of hours service and we were kept fairly busy at a steady pace.

A&E was very different. They never knew how busy they would or would not get until it happened.

I loved the buzz and learned so much in the time I worked there.

Working in a GP Surgery and in an A&E Department was so VERY different in lots of ways.

GP Surgeries, and the out of hours service was mainly for people wanting to see a Doctor for minor ailments, prescriptions and referrals onto the hospital. Along with “well” people visiting to see the Health visitors, Nurses or the doctor to have medicals or forms completed. Of course we had the terminally ill patients that needed the care from the whole team at the Surgery.

Then at the hospital you would get in the more urgent cases – A&E = Accident and Emergency. But it never failed to amazed me just how many people used the A&E Department as an extension of their Doctors Surgery. People would often come in for a prescription, for a simple cough or a sore ear – the A&E Department would be bursting at the seams and people would still come in and want to be seen.

Foreign students cottoned on very quickly that if they went to see a GP they would have to pay – but present themselves at A&E they would not be charged.

One patient that sticks in my mind was a young girl about 19 years of age walked up to the Reception Desk around 7.30 pm one Saturday evening.

The A&E Receptionist took her details and entered them onto the computer – she asked the usually question

“What brings you to A&E this evening”?

The girl replied “I want go get the morning after pill”.   

Now working at the GP Surgery I am fully aware that this is an emergency – a woman has up to 72 hours to take the morning after pill after unprotected sex. The longer she leaves it the more chance she has of being pregnant.

At the Surgery we always would fit someone in with an appointment immediately if they requested this.

What I could not understand was why this girl had come to  A&E Department when she could have phoned her surgery and been put through to us working for the out of hours service (the emergency out of hours for local GP’s) Waiting in A&E she could have been there for hours, seeing us in the out of hours she would have waited about 10 minutes.

The A&E Receptionist realised that although this was an “emergency” it could in fact be dealt with the doctor on call that I was working with. So she asked if the Doctor would see her – I was happy to help.

I went over and took the girls details for our system. She then confirmed that she wanted the morning after pill. I had to ask her when she last had unprotected sex – as this would be important for the Doctor and then this information would be passed onto her own Doctors Surgery when they opened up on Monday morning.

Her reply was “I haven’t had sex yet – I want it for tonight as I am going

She seen the Doctor and after a long chat in how to be more responsible she was sent away with a flea in her ear.