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"I have never experienced anything like this before"

About: South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust / Emergency ambulance William Harvey Hospital (Ashford) / Accident and emergency

(as a service user),

I have had to go to William Harvey A&E 3 times within the last few days, due to covid complications.  It was not my decision to go - I was taken twice by emergency ambulance and the other time, when no ambulances were available, by car. I found the ambulance crews absolutely brilliant,  extremely knowledgeable and professional, kind & compassionate.  I couldn't rate them highly enough - but what really saddened me was that once I arrived at A&E and were handed over, all the brilliant work the crew had done in getting me there, and taking down every detail, was undone in a moment.  The A&E staff didn't want to know.   I find it really upsetting to think of all that work going to waste :-((   And this is at a point when the NHS can't afford to waste resources more than ever (very depressing).

I then got called into a room where I was assessed only by "tell us what's been going on", when I was in no fit state to tell yet another 'story'.  I appreciate you've got to be fairly tough to work in A&E, but to be shouted at by a doctor because you 'shouldn't be here' (it was 999 who took me there, but never mind), & belittled for having medical conditions they hadn't heard of, spoken to like an idiot (by another doctor) because I had to use a wheelchair, left in the waiting room all night,  not knowing what was going on, no food or drink,  no one checking on me, no kind words, no compassion,  makes me feel completely worthless (They did not seem to want me there, and got rid of me as soon as they could - that is why I had to keep going back). 

They weren't even busy - some were chatting away to other patients about any old topic - I just couldn't take it in.  In 25 years of long term health issues, and used to being misunderstood,  I have never experienced anything like it before, and I'm left traumatised.   I hope I never have to go near the place again.  Sadly, I have often been disappointed, but never before on such a scale as this - they were all in it together, and were left to behave as they wanted to behave.   Grown adults - I seriously began to wonder if they were clowns dressed as doctors.


Response from East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust 4 weeks ago
East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust
Submitted on 02/02/2021 at 09:03
Published on Care Opinion at 09:03

Thank you for your email and we were very sorry to read about the concerns you raised. We would like to take this further for you and would ask that you contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Team (PALS) on 01227 783145 or via our email address, which is You can also log onto our website and click on the relevant ‘C’ to be taken to an online form, which you can complete with your concern and submit to us.

Update posted by Beige (a service user)

I will be contacting PALS as soon as I have sufficiently recovered. However, I doubt it will achieve anything. I don't want an apology, as that would achieve nothing. Unfortunately I know how good people can be at letting themselves off the hook. I don't think anything will make the hospital any safer for me in the future - it feels like there is an immediate dislike for anyone with conditions they haven't heard of before.

I now also know how much I was misled regarding follow up care - I didn't believe them at the time, because all they wanted to do was send me packing ASAP. Two staff members were speaking to each other over the phone, in a language I did not understand, in front of me (one of them had already refused to see me and had gone into their office), and they then gave me false promises so that I had no choice but to go home, in a worse state than I'd arrived in. And sure enough, what they said would happen did not happen, so I had to see a doctor privately instead at considerable expense.

I don't feel that the hospital can ever be safe for people with more complex needs.

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