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"Emergency admission not so good at Northampton"

About: Northampton General Hospital (Acute)

(as the patient),

An ambulance was called on 17/09/06 for my 81yrs old Mother,it took 2hrs to arrive.On arrival I went to book Mum in ,I had to walk past a group of youths at the entrance to Casualty ,they were swearing and shouting I felt very intimidated.

After joining Mum we were put into a cubicle we waited about 15mins when a nurse came and put a drip in and take Mums obs. After giving Mum an injection for her pain she left.

Mum stayed on that trolley from 2am until 9am as there were no beds available. Whilst waiting I saw people fast asleep across chairs ( a nurse told me that one elderly man had been in every night for the last four nights), he gets a cup of tea in the morning and then goes on his way. Another man they called Peter came in was given a cup of tea, when he brought his cup holder back he had a dog on a lead, he walked right through casualty to the nurses station, I could not beleive such things go on. The floor was filthy, there was a blood stained bandage by the coffee machine, there was rubbish on the floor.

My Mum was taken to Medical Admissions at 9am.A very pleasant porter took us there. On reaching the ward a nurse showed us the bed. She took Mum's records, jumped herself up onto a table and crossed her legs and sat reading Mums notes. Although she was a pleasant nurse I found her actions sloppy and unproffessional.

Mum was in a bay of six beds, five were occupied by men, Mum found this very upsetting. The same evening Mum was transfered to Spencer Ward, she was happier being with three other ladies.

Mum is partially sighted, she is quite frail, she was left on her own in the bathroom and she fell, she has a bad pain in her hip now. The nurses told me that they are very short staffed and said that they are working fourteen hour shifts. Some of the nurses are nice but, there were two nurses that were very abrupt, I was not happy with there attitude at all.

Mum was in the Northampton General for eight days because she was poorly, over that time.

What myself and my family saw was a real eye opener, parts of the hospital are a mess, some nurses are overstretched, some had trouble with their appearance, their hair was untidy, one had long hair not tied back. The wards I saw were cluttered and untidy.

My friend had a fall while on holiday in Weymouth last week. He stayed overnight in Dorchester Hospital and had a very different excperience.

Why didn't Northampton get it right? It was a miserable experience for my Mum.

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Response from 16 years ago
Submitted on 02/01/2007 at 15:32

Thank you for taking the time to send a very complex and detailed account of your mothers experience at Northampton general hospital, because I am unable to identify you I will deal with your comments in a generic fashion

I am unable to comment on the service of the ambulance, as we have no information made available to us with details of their schedule for the day in question. If you would like the ambulance service to explain the delay in attending to your mother you will need to contact the Two Shires Ambulance service.

As you observed on the evening of the 17th Sept.the A&E department was very busy, we are not able to choose who attends the department and we turn nobody away. We do have a security service that respond with great efficiency to our staffs need for backup when required.

It is appreciated that the environment that we work in can be intimidating for people who attend the department and with this in mind the staff will address any situation if asked to do so by patients or carers.

In common with all Trusts Northampton general endeavours to accommodate all patients who require admission within 4 hours of the decision to admit. We reach this target 98% of the time. Clearly on this particular evening we had a sever shortage of beds and apologise for not being able to get your mother on to EAU until 9am.

We do appreciate your comments about some regular patients who attend the department, there are some people who over the years require our help in many different ways and it is our policy to help every individual.

With regard to the patient who took his dog to the nurses station, the only dogs allowed into the department are guide dogs and this particular patient was and is asked to leave his dog at the entrance, it does depend on the patients condition and attitude to staff as to whether he complies with the request made, when he does not he is removed from the department quickly.

As you observed on the night of the 17th the department was very busy and the nursing staff were caring for a considerable number of patients, if you brought the state of the coffee area to their attention and they did not respond I do apologise. The coffee area is not in view of the triage area and the nursing staff would have been giving their full attention to direct patient care.

When admitted to EAU I am surprised and saddened by the unprofessional behaviour of the nurse attending to your mother.

It is our standard to reinforce the need for professionalism and I have asked the Head Nurse/Modern Matron for the EAU area to bring your experience to the attention of all EAU staff and reinforce our patient care values

I have shown your posting to the staff on Spencer ward. As you have not given the names of staff who were abrupt all were addressed with your comments and issues raised all of which are being dealt with by the ward sister with immediate effect

We do hope your mother is now progressing well.

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