Vikki tells her story.
“A very expedient and efficient service that goes above and
beyond to provide the best care possible”
“My line manager at work told me that they were introducing this private GP service as a free benefit for all the employees and suggested downloading the app and having it on our phones ready in case we need it. I did that a while ago and completely forgot about it.
I became quite poorly and tried to get a doctor’s appointment with my NHS GP for maybe three or four days consecutively with no success. By that Friday, I was feeling significantly unwell and remembered that I had the app on my phone, so I thought it was worth speaking to a GP just to put my mind at rest. I didn’t think it was particularly serious, but I filled in the application, and a GP called me quickly on the same day.
The doctor told me that based on my symptoms, she prioritised that call with me as she was quite concerned. We went through the details of some of the symptoms, and she asked how I was feeling then. I said I kept fainting and could not really stand up. She advised me to call an ambulance or have someone to take me to A&E ASAP. She was very caring; it wasn’t just a tick-box consultation; she was genuinely concerned about me.
I had my son with me, so I called a friend, who is actually a paramedic, to come and help me get my son to childcare before I could go to the hospital. When she arrived, she took one look at me and said I was extremely pale and looked ill. She had to assist me with standing up, as I could not do that myself, and then drove me to the hospital.
We used the information from the GP consultation when she checked me in, and I was rushed through Majors pretty quickly, where they took my blood. They tested my haemoglobin, which instead of being around about 110, was only 60, so they knew something was critically wrong.
They also checked my blood pressure, which was exceptionally low, so I was put straight on to a blood transfusion. My haemoglobin level wasn’t improving, so they knew I was losing blood internally. I had a CT scan, and it revealed that I had a quite rare, about 5 centimetres giant stromal tumour on my small intestine, which is a soft tissue sarcoma. They couldn’t operate straightaway because my state was critical. They kept giving me blood until I was well enough to undergo anaesthetics and finally have the operation.
God knows what would have happened over the weekend, especially with my little boy around, if that GP did not convince me to go to the hospital. There were no obvious symptoms, so I would never have thought it was something as serious as a tumour. I can’t praise that GP I spoke to enough for being so caring and kind; there was a real human element there. I appreciated that because sometimes, when you speak to your GP, it can be very clinical, and you don’t feel that sort of care element.”