I’m in Edinburgh this weekend to attend a wedding. I’m in a very nice hotel and they let me check in early. So far so good.

You may recall that a couple of weeks ago I had to have an unexpected operation. It all went well, but every day I have to go to my doctors to have the wound dressed. I will spare you further detail. But it’s a very simple two minute procedure, but it’s important it’s done every day to keep it clean, allow it to heal properly and avoid any risk of infection.

Obviously I can’t go to a doctor’s surgery in Edinburgh on a weekend, I mean God forbid they should open when people want to use them. So I just googled “NHS walk-in centres” and couldn’t really find anything. Odd, I thought. Anyway, I eventually located a minor injuries unit at the Western General Hospital. On their website they say “Clinic staff treat adults and children over one-year-old for a wide range of injuries, including minor cuts and burns, infections and stings, suspected sprains and small bone breaks (from shoulder to fingers and knee to toes).” Excellent, I thought, that’ll do. So I called them and told them what I needed done. “No, we don’t do that. You’ll have to go to A&E”. I protested that this was neither an accident, nor an emergency, that any nurse could do the procedure, that I had even brought the dressing with me, but they were having none of it. “We don’t have any walk in centres, you’ll have to go to A&E”. And there’s only one A&E in Edinburgh, the Royal Infirmary.

So this is my dilemma. I’m not sure I can face A&E two days running and potentially having to wait four hours and then miss the wedding, but on the other hand, if I don’t go I risk the wound getting infected. And for the (English) NHS that would involve more treatment over a longer period of time.

So far I have praised the NHS to the hilt for the hospital treatment I have had and the care provided my both GP surgeries I go to in London and in Tunbridge Wells. But today, I feel frustrated.

It’s so clear what the answer is, as well.

UPDATE: So, an hour later, I’ve phoned NHS 24, which is the equivalent to 111 in Scotland. Very nice, helpful lady. She suggested I go to the minor injuries unit at the Western General (see above). I explained I had already phoned them and they wouldn’t see me. She then phoned them and they said they would see me, but they couldn’t pack the wound because they don’t have any dressings. This is a hospital we’re talking about here.

I then phoned three private GP clinics, none of whom could help either. They either didn’t have the staff on to do this sort of thing, or they refused to see me without a formal GP referral, despite me explaining quite clearly what needed to be done.

If I go to A&E now, I miss the wedding, which I have come all this way for. If I don’t I risk infection. Thank you NHS. Thank you very much.