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"Depressing and frustrating visit to childrens A&E..."

About: Southampton General Hospital

What I liked

There were two paediatric radiologists in the department. They were excellent. Thank-you.

What could be improved

Clearly the department was busy. This was due to the lack of staff rather than too many patients. We observed extra staff being placed in the department to help speed things up as the four hour breaches continued; unfortunately this just slowed things up and caused more errors. My son's personal details were divulged to the parent of a little girl because the member of staff had not even looked up from the clipboard.

Child friendly food in the vending machine. All my son wanted was fruit and all we could offer him were cans of fizzy drink, chocolate bars or crisps. This is a health establishment - healthy snacks for children please.

Broken things - there were things everywhere with notes attached warning staff not to use them. These ranged from trolleys with missing wheels to computers with viruses.

Posters taped to windows - there were posters taped to windows all at an angle and ripped. It was like being at a bus stop.

Domestic waste bags for paper towels in the toilets. The only bins available were clincial waste - this must be costing a fortune to dispose of.

Security. For a Childrens A&E Department it did not feel secure at all. There were groups of youths going through the department seeming to use it as some kind of short cut.

Lighting and office waste in the car park. The car park was hazardous, littered with broken office equipment and inadequately lit. It felt very unsafe.

Anything else?

We attended the children's A&E Department expecting a long wait. Six hours later the ordeal was over. Sadly the hospital was the only place we could get an x-ray on a Sunday. The system was already working with minimal staff at the end of the bank holiday week and all we did was add an avoidable burden to the workload. Couldn't the hopsital work with other providers in the area to offer extended x-ray services at the weekend? This time we had no option but to wait but would gladly have travelled anywhere else in Hampshire to avoid the experience again.

The staff were very apologetic; they should be able to feel proud of the service they offer not have to apologise for the system that had failed us all. logo


Response from Southampton General Hospital 10 years ago
Southampton General Hospital
Submitted on 15/09/2011 at 16:33
Published on on 16/09/2011 at 04:00

We’re sorry to hear about your experience but would like to thank you for your detailed comments. All this information has been passed on to the relevant departments for further review and has been used to make changes and to inform our future plans.

As you mention, it was a bank holiday weekend when the hospital is always busy, but the Trust does make plans for this and we do work with other local NHS organisations to steer patients towards alternatives and to coordinate provision of services such as X-ray (a service for over-12s is provided at the RSH minor injuries unit). We are sorry that no alternative was offered on this occasion.

To respond to some of your specific points:

• We apologise if there was a breach of confidentiality and have reminded staff of their responsibilities for data protection and patient privacy.

• Other types of food including fruit and healthy snacks are available in the hospital concourse and restaurant but we will certainly look at reviewing our provision in the emergency department as you make an important point. Currently the type of vending machines in this area cannot store fruit but there should have been water available, and this has been addressed.

• The out of service equipment has been reported to our estates department and emergency department and car park staff have been reminded of the correct procedures for ensuring items are taken away and that signage is professional.

• The torn and sticky-taped posters have been removed.

• Sometimes paper towels do count as clinical waste in a hospital context because they may contain blood, saliva or other fluids. However, we have now requested additional ordinary household waste bins for this area.

• Your concerns about safety in the department and car parks have been brought to the attention of the head of security and the lighting issue will be looked at as part of our ongoing transport review. We do have on-site security guards and CCTV 24 hours a day. There are key codes on doors to the inner treatment areas and generally only relatives or carers of patients are permitted to remain in the waiting area.

We do not get your contact details from NHS Choices so if you would like a further response from us please contact our Patient Advice and Liaison team or 023 8079 8498.

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