"Please focus on the standard of care"

About: East Surrey Hospital / Accident and emergency South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust / Emergency ambulance

(as a friend),

Attended with a friend who had collapsed twice following bleeding and recent surgery , and the delay and diverted ambulance meant she was driven to A&E by us. Explained to reception she had collapsed twice, symptomatic when seated and this had lasted for more than an hour. She was asked to be seated. We asked on two occasions could we have her observations taken as she was unable to remain upright in the seat, eventually when the nurse called her she collapsed and instead of basic life support measures of asking her to lie down this nurse stood to the side and instructed us to put her on the chair; another friend and I are both doctors were appalled at the lack of expertise but were not in a position to instruct of basic life support. 

The nurse then proceeded to defend themselves seeing our dismay that “we called you twice”. This comment seems only to have the intention to pass the blame despite repetitive warnings there was a sick patient and what was incredible was three adults and the patient had not heard her being called so this was completely untrue. Even if this was the case if a patient who is unwell and not responded to calls would common sense not ensue to look for the patient that me be collapsed in the waiting room or a toilet. 

The problem with having medical experience is it is very clear that staff may behave confidently but not competently and we fear for the general public that may not realise the standard of care that should occur can not give objective feedback of their care. This experience echoed past significant events where patients have arrested in waiting rooms from poor triage and arrogant and disinterested staff. 

Whatever their preconceptions of how unwell a patient in the emergency waiting room is it is their job to work out of protocol and triage - post operative, bleeding, two collapses unable to sit..... please focus on the standard of care and maybe peer to peer feedback is needed on review of cases and follow up of your cases. Please do not wait for an arrest, please triage. Could the nurse triaging this patient please receive this feedback directly. There was no professionalism or basic empathy both paramount to the nursing profession. 

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Response from Nicola Shopland, Divisional Chief Nurse for Medicine, Medicine, Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust

Dear Extremelyconcerned123

I am sorry to read of your experience and whilst I am not familiar with the case you refer to it does sound as though you did not receive the care and compassion that you and your friend should have had. I am sorry that you have cause to doubt the professionalism of our team.

If you would like to share the details of the case with me I am happy to review and share the learning with the ED team. My email is nicola.shopland@nhs.net.

Thanks for your feedback.

Nicola Shopland

Divisional Chief Nurse Medicine

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Response from Marie Clifford, Patient Experience Officer, South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust

I was very sorry to hear of your experience. If you would like us to look into the reason for an ambulance not being available for your friend, please contact us using the details below and we will investigate.

I hope your friend has now received the treatment they need and they are feeling much better.

Best wishes


Marie Clifford

Patient Experience Officer

South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust

Nexus House, Gatwick Road, Crawley, West Sussex, RH10 9BG

Patient Experience Team: 0300 1239 242

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