This is Care Opinion [siteRegion]. Did you want Care Opinion [usersRegionBasedOnIP]?

"They need more space"

About: Altnagelvin Area Hospital / Emergency department Altnagelvin Area Hospital / General Surgery Northern Ireland Ambulance Service

(as a service user),

I arrived at A&E approx 1pm. Paramedics were reassuring, kind and professional. A&E staff were amazing. I felt well looked after once I was seen. However the downside to my experience was waiting in a wheelchair for approx 6 hours in the corridor.

I understand that A&E is a shared and priority-driven service. I am happy to wait. However, the area allocated for patients is meager, crammed and stressful. At least 10 people had to stand for hours. My husband who was with me was one of those standing. When waiting for long periods of time while in pain it's important to have someone with you. It's not okay to say that one should wait without support.

At Altnagelvin there has been great investment in many areas of the hospital. The ward that I was moved to (24) is a new ward. The individual rooms are of a very high aesthetic standard. If one has to stay in hospital this does make it feel more pleasant. The nursing staff, auxiliary staff, cleaners and tea/dinners staff are all kind and helped pass the day. The doctors were approachable, caring and explained their thinking in relation to my illness.

Regarding A&E. This area of the hospital requires the same level of investment and planning as other areas.

The Dr's and nurses need more space. Their supplies are tightly packed in small storage areas. They are constantly waiting for work top space to write notes etc. This obviously impacts on waiting times for a resolvable reason.

The A&E waiting area. It is the only area of the hospital where you feel a burden as a patient. The facilities are sparse. There should be a play area for young children. For older people or those who are very ill... chairs that are priorities with head and leg support. I was in A&E for a total of 12 hours. I was fortunate that I had a thick shawl to give me support to lean my head against the wall. No-one offered me water or food. I was not able to go and get any but fortunately I had brought my own water. For those who had no support, to have volunteers in A&E would make the biggest difference. We all hear about some members of the public mistreating properly in A&E and abusing staff. That is terrible but maybe a warmer and more caring environment would go some way to help this.

Do you have a similar story to tell? Tell your story & make a difference ››


Response from Rachel Deane, Equality & PPI Officer, Equality, PPI & Patient Experience, Northern Ireland Ambulance Service 11 months ago
Rachel Deane
Equality & PPI Officer, Equality, PPI & Patient Experience,
Northern Ireland Ambulance Service

Involve you in decisions about your care

Submitted on 15/12/2020 at 11:59
Published on Care Opinion at 16:42

picture of Rachel Deane

Dear Chassisdj57

Thank you for taking the time to share your story and your lovely comments about our paramedics. I'll make sure the Area Manager for West reads this and shares with his staff.

I hope you are recovering and wish you all the best.

Rachel - Care Opinion facilitator

  • {{helpful}} {{helpful == 1 ? "person thinks" : "people think"}} this response is helpful

Update posted by chassisdj57 (a service user)

Dear Rachel,

I was heartened to receive a reply in the first instance and glad to hear that my comments will be passed on. Many patients don't have the energy or inclination to pass on their comments when they are unwell.

I am doing much better. Thank you for your best wishes.

Kind regards,

Response from Colleen Hamilton, Sister, Emergency Department / A&E Altnagelvin Hospital, WHSCT 11 months ago
We are preparing to make a change
Colleen Hamilton
Sister, Emergency Department / A&E Altnagelvin Hospital,

ED management duties

Submitted on 22/12/2020 at 08:57
Published on Care Opinion at 10:35

picture of Colleen Hamilton

Dear chassisdj57,

Thank you for taking time to tell us about your experience in ED. As Sister in ED I feel it is important for you to tell us of your experiences in order to allow us to improve and develop our service in a way that may provide better care to people in the future.

Currently during this pandemic the Trust have changed the guidance around who accompanies people to hospital this is an attempt to reduce the risk and the spread of the COVID-19 to the general public. This is a policy that is under continuous review and the trust will reduce these restrictions when infection rates are under control.

As you have mentioned our waiting area is small and cramped and lack of facilities are evident. Over the past few months we are currently developing a new waiting and ambulatory area to the front of ED, hoping to provide a larger waiting area, with family friendly facilities. We hope to have this operational early in the new year.

I am sorry to hear that you had not been offered a food or water during your time in the department. This is not something we would like to see happening and our staff are approachable and willing to help provide refreshments when asked. There are designated meal times but due to the limited number of meals provided daily and the volume of people in the department it can be difficult to provide to all patients, but we always provide food to patients on request.

I do Feel that your suggestion of the volunteer service would be very beneficial and something I will take forward to the volunteer team. This may also help highlight the need for refreshments for those in the waiting area.

I hope that if you ever feel the need to use our service again, your experience will have improved and we meet your expectations.

  • {{helpful}} {{helpful == 1 ? "person thinks" : "people think"}} this response is helpful
Response from Breidge McGavigan, Ward Manager, Acute Medical Unit (AMU) Unscheduled/ Emergency Care, WHSCT 11 months ago
Breidge McGavigan
Ward Manager, Acute Medical Unit (AMU) Unscheduled/ Emergency Care,
Submitted on 22/12/2020 at 14:26
Published on Care Opinion at 14:47

Dear Chassisdj57,

Many thanks for taking the time to post your comment regarding the care you received in ward 24.

As the ward sister, I am proud to hear your positive feedback about the team.

I am glad that you found your stay in ward 24 pleasing, the new ward environment is equally as pleasant for us staff to work in.

We strive to provide a high standard of care to our patients and to communicate effectively, in a friendly manner throughout the multidisciplinary team, and therefore I am delighted to hear the nursing staff, support services and auxiliary staff were 'kind.'

I appreciate how difficult it is to be in hospital during these difficult times and therefore I am glad the medical team took the time to explain your illness to your and that you found them approachable and caring.

I will pass your feedback to all members of the team during our team meetings. Your feedback will boost the team morale.

I hope you are keeping well,

With kind regards


  • {{helpful}} {{helpful == 1 ? "person thinks" : "people think"}} this response is helpful
Next Response j
Previous Response k