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"Poor experience"

About: Royal Victoria Hospital / Accident & Emergency

(as the patient),

I attended a&e during the early hours of Friday morning following an extreme reaction to a medication. I have no history of psychosis but a couple of hours after taking the tablet was having vivid, violent hallucinations which were absolutely terrifying me. I rang the out of hours gp and was advised to go to a&e. 

On arriving at a&e the receptionist asked what was wrong with me. I didn’t feel comfortable discussing this in the middle of a busy waiting room. 

The triage nurse didn’t even look at me when taking my history. I was terrified from the hallucinations I was seeing on the walls and felt completely ignored. I assume they thought I was on some sort of illegal drugs.  

We were then brought through to a waiting room, we waited for an hour before I was called. This was to get bloods done. I asked the HCA what they were for and they said they didn’t know. From the bottles I knew it was an FBC and U&E so I can only assume they had assumed I had taken an overdose. There was no informed consent to take my bloods considering I didn’t know what they were for.  The HCA then tried 5 times (I didn’t mind) and then finally I said normally they come up well with a BP cuff. They scoffed at me and said I didn't need them anyway. 

Back out in the waiting room, there were two other patients who appeared to be under the influence of something having an argument that was becoming aggressive. They both stood up and squared up to each other. I went to tell a nurse, who asked me to show where they were. I didn’t really want them to know I was the one who had told staff. By the time we got down to that part of the waiting room they had both sat down again. The nurse commented that there was no fight, and pointed at me and said that I had said there was a fight. I feel this put me in potential danger, when I was already highly vulnerable. 

After that we moved to be away from the men. By this time the hallucinations had settled and were not scary anymore, so we decided it would better to go home as since I was no longer acutely unwell a&e was not the appropriate place for me and my GP could manage it in the morning. I informed a nurse of this however I was contacted by the police in the morning saying I had absconded. I understand Wednesday night was particularly busy and this was probably a miscommunication. 

I am also a healthcare professional, and I completely understand the pressure the service is currently under. However I am very disappointed with my experience which I don’t think can be excused with the current pressures and staffing crisis. Kindness and compassion costs nothing, takes seconds and makes a huge difference.

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Response from Linsey Sheerin, Service Manager for Emergency Department and Emergency Care Village, Emergency care, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust last month
Linsey Sheerin
Service Manager for Emergency Department and Emergency Care Village, Emergency care,
Belfast Health and Social Care Trust
Submitted on 06/10/2021 at 11:10
Published on Care Opinion at 11:10

Dear Dei2021,

My Name is Linsey Sheerin, I am the Service Manager for the Urgent and Emergency Care service at the Royal Hospital. I am saddened to read of your poor experience when you attended the Emergency Department.

On arrival to the ED reception staff routinely ask why you have attended, the reason for this is to highlight any time critical presentation and communicate this to nursing staff. I am sorry that this made you feel uncomfortable in front of a busy waiting area.

You have articulated how kindness and compassion costs nothing and makes a huge difference to the patient experience, it is with deepest regret that this was not your experience when you attend. This is not the standard of care we wish for any patient. Please be assured that your feedback will be shared with all staff to highlight the importance of communication both verbal and non verbal and how this leaves a lasting impact on how we make our patients.

I sincerely hope you are currently well and if you would like the opportunity to discuss your experience further with you, I can be contacted via email


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