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"My experience in A&E and Orthopedic ward of CAH"

About: Craigavon Area Hospital / Emergency Department Craigavon Area Hospital / Orthopaedics

(as a staff member posting for a patient/service user),

I came into the emergency department of CAH yesterday afternoon with a swelling in my right knee. This was causing me immense pain and I knew that it needed to be checked. My experience in A&E was so much better than I had expected. Surprisingly it wasn't busy at all and this meant that I was triaged very quickly but as the day went on the A&E department began to get a lot busier and meant that everyone had longer to wait. During this time after being triaged but waiting to be seen I didn't feel updated or informed as a patient, I felt isolated and forgotten about and didn't get offered any pain relief. Eventually 2 hours later I was taken in to be seen by the doctor. 

The doctor looking after me was called Dr McKenzie, and I cannot fault one element of his care. His demeanor and attitude  to work was exceptional and he made me feel like I could trust him in what he was saying and doing. I felt in such safe hands as he explained to me the possible cause for my swelling and we discussed a plan of action for every eventuality i.e. if it was gout I could go home and if it was an infection I would need to stay in. This meant I felt informed as a patient and involved in decisions surrounding my care. He carried out a painless procedure of using a needle to get a sample of fluid from the area around my knee and sent it off to the lab. As we waited for the results Dr explained to me that there had been some miscommunication between the lab and himself and this might make my wait a little longer, but I didn't mind as I was kept updated during this time. 

When the results returned it was decided that I would need to stay the night so I was moved up to the orthopaedics ward. Here I have been made very comfortable and the staff just cant do enough for me. I had lots of questions for one of the nurses regarding the regulations of visiting and family dropping a bag off to the hospital which she was more than happy to answer. This showed me that the staff are willing to help me whenever they can and can explain everything to me if and when I ask. 

In terms of covid risk, at no point in my experience so far have I felt a risk to contracting covid in my visit. I am very happy with social distancing and avail of the many sanitizer dispensers throughout each area of the hospital I have been to. The staff washing their hands and wearing all the appropriate PPE is also very reassuring. The domestic staff are never off their feet cleaning which also assures me this is a clean environment. 

Overall I am very content with the quality of care I have received so far. I think communication between the staff and I couldn't be better and I know they have my best interests at heart. 


Response from Stephanie Doherty, Ward Sister, Orthopaedic Ward, Southern Health and Social Care Trust last week
Stephanie Doherty
Ward Sister, Orthopaedic Ward,
Southern Health and Social Care Trust
Submitted on 13/09/2021 at 18:14
Published on Care Opinion at 18:14


Thank you for taking the time to share your positive experience on the ward. I will be sure to pass this on to all the team to encourage them to keep working hard.

I wish you a speedy recovery.

Many Thanks

Stephanie Doherty

Ward sister

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Response from Lisa Dougan, Clinical Sister Emergency Department, Acute Directorate, SHSCT last week
Lisa Dougan
Clinical Sister Emergency Department, Acute Directorate,
Submitted on 13/09/2021 at 19:21
Published on Care Opinion at 19:21

picture of Lisa Dougan

Good Afternoon,

Thank you for sharing your story via care opinion on your experience in the Emergency Department.

Firstly I am sorry to hear of the pain and infection you had in your knee, it can be extremely unpleasant.

I am glad to read that you had a quick assessment on arrival to the ED with the triage nurse however I apologize that you were not offered pain relief or kept updated on your wait. This definitely would have made your wait more comfortable. I will be sure to share your story with my colleagues to raise awareness of the impact that these small steps can have on a patients experience.

It is heartwarming to read such kind words towards Dr McKenzie and I will be sure to share your gratitude with him. It is always such a morale booster, to have a pat on the back every now and then, so thank you.

I hope you continue to improve in the trauma ward.

Kind Regards


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