"Disgusting Cleanliness in the A&E Waiting Room"

About: Lincoln County Hospital

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Saturday evening around midnight in A&E. Surprisingly, not busy, yet the cleanliness in the A&E Waiting Room was absolutely disgusting! In one area, a whole packet of cheesy-type biscuits had been dropped and scattered all over the floor - some had been trodden in. There were 5-6 empty drinks cans littered about, along with a similar number of empty sandwich-type packets. There were also at least 2 cardboard bowls left around - one of which I could see had sick in it. In A&E reception, there were 2 members of staff - both non-too-busy, one socially chatting with a another member of staff (in green overalls - para medic possibly?) for quite a while (in all, circa 30-40 minutes, on and off). In the hour or so that we were waiting, nobody made any effort to move any of the rubbish. A porter (in dark blue) came and went - chatting to some patients they perhaps knew, before announcing he was going off for a coffee break. They couldn`t have missed the mess. `Staff Co-operation` in looking after their place of work and our hospital A&E Department - absolutely none! `Dignity and Respect`?. Yes, we were treated well by the staff on a personal basis, but having to sit in such a shambolic waiting room meant that we felt that there could be no genuine respect for us, the patients. Certainly, there was no dignity in having to use such a disgusting waiting room. I think it very likely that there would be no cleaners around at midnight. That is no excuse - there were other members of staff, not busy, who could have taken just 2-3 minutes to clean the place up. OK, `Jobs-worth` I guess. No doubt that the Reception staff, or the Para-medic hanging around in Reception, or the porter would all cry "not my job to clean up". Well, it should be! Where is their pride in their work environment? Where is their loyalty to their employers? Where is their genuine care for their `customers`? Of note, we were in the ward area of A&E for nearly 2 hours (for tests/treatment). When we came out, the Waiting Room was even worse. No attempt had been made to clear anything up, and there were another couple of cardboard bowls on the floor. And NO, it still wasn`t really busy! Frankly, if this was indicative of Lincoln County`s ethics and ethos, then it is no surprise that the hospital`s performance is regarded nationally as well-below par. Finally, and to finish on a bright note, we started our visit to Lincoln County in the Out of Hours Medical Department. My partner had been called in following a telephone call with a doctor after we used the 111 facility. All went smoothly there, the place was immaculate, reception staff were very friendly and my partner`s appointment was dead on time. Unfortunately, we were then sent down to A&E for further tests etc. The difference was no less than quantum. In sum, after a bright start, things hit rock bottom when we arrived at A&E! Bob Thompson Welton

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Response from Jennie Negus, Deputy Director of Patient Services, United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust

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Dear Bob - thank you for leaving your feedback; you are entirely right about the importance of the clinical environment - waiting rooms included and your description is, quite frankly, embarassing and simply not good enough. Whilst there are no routine cleaners around at that time there is still a domestic 'response' available and expectations around standards of cleanliness. I have passed your account onto the team in A&E and asked them to ensure they check the waiting room regularly and ensure any mess is dealt with. I am sorry that this marred your visit; especially as the clinical care was good - first impressions are often lasting and as you say in terms of professional image we did ourselves no favours here. Once again my apologies and thank you for taking the time to tell us about your experience. Please be assured we have listened and will act upon it.

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