What I liked
We attended the Children's Accident and Emergency department with our 16 month old due to a moderate allergic reaction. Despite the fact that it was clearly exceptionally busy, a fact the staff confirmed to us as having been the case for much of the day, he was seen immediately. Our son has some other allergies as well as a rare and complex cardiac issue. Often these issues need to be conveyed and explained repeatedly and generally serve to prompt little more than an anxious response from health professionals. The usually results in a protacted period in A&E, followed by a spell in a Medical Assessment Unit and a seemingly unnecessary admission to the paediatric ward of usually less than 24 hours.
The approach taken by the nursing staff, consultant and paediatrics at the Royal Bolton was quick, pragmatic and, refreshingly, not excessively risk averse. Our knowledge of our son's condition was fully considered in providing his care and we felt that we were able to contribute to his care fully too.
We were visiting family when this happened, so this is not our local hospital. Signposting to the site was good and we were impressed with the existence of a Children's A&E. As a result of our son's health problems we have to make more trips to A&E than most and hence were pleased to avoid the inevitable delays caused on a Saturday evening by drinking related issues and the 'Anything and Everything' brigade in general A&E departments.
Overall, we spent little more than an hour in A&E, our son is almost fully recovered without the need for admission. This spared him, my wife (who is 5 months pregnant) and I the usual experience of anxiety, lack of sleep and inconvenience that we face in situations such as this.
What could be improved
On the evidence of this visit, very little.
The professionals we came in to contact were an excellent example of what can be achieved by involving patients, parents and carers in their treatment. Chiefly
i) Asking for information once and transferring it between professionals rather than asking patients/parents repeatedly.
ii) Involving patients/parents in decisions about care- it will improve the patient experience and may reduce admissions. This reduces the impact on A&E, MAU, wards and keeps the commissioners at the PCT happy too.
iii) Consultants- listening to patients, parents and carers of patients with rare and/or complex conditions. It is exceptionally unlikely that you know more about it than they do.
"Efficient and professional."
About: Royal Bolton Hospital Royal Bolton Hospital Bolton BL4 0JR
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