"Poor communication between departments"

About: Royal Sussex County Hospital

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I dislike giving bad reviews for the NHS as I know how completely overworked and under-appreciated they are. I've had several out patient and A&E visits to the RSCH in the past 15 months, and all have been fine - delays here and there, but to me these are just minor annoyances. The staff have always been friendly and helpful, and I've been given no reason to complain. On Saturday, I was taken into A&E after a bad fall and was promptly x-rayed due to the severity of the pain and the swelling. The gentleman that assessed me suspected a bad ankle sprain, but, after pointing to an area on the x-ray, he said he couldn't be sure if there was a fracture there or not, and that the fracture clinic would be able to advise. I was given crutches and told to call the fracture clinic after the bank holiday, but was given nothing to support or immobilise my ankle. After two days of rest/ice/elevation, I am still in considerable pain, still cannot weight-bear, and both sides of my ankle are swollen, blue and purple. I called the fracture clinic early this morning to advise them of this, only to be told that not only are there no appointments until next week, but that they are also no longer booking appointments and that I must call A&E. When I then called A&E, I was rebuked and told I must book appointments through the fracture clinic. I was told that the fracture clinic had advised A&E to make no appointments over the bank holiday weekend. Firstly, surely if someone even suspects there is a fracture, they should have immobilized the joint - with a back-slab (which is what I was expecting) or some other support - particularly if they are aware of how busy the fracture clinic is? Secondly, the lack of communication between the departments is phenomenal. To not be able to weight-bear, stand or walk and then be told that there is no fracture clinic appointment until next week is appalling enough, but to then have departments communicating different information to patients is just unforgivable. I have now lost complete faith in the RSCH.

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Response from Royal Sussex County Hospital

I was very sorry to learn of your experience and unreservedly apologise for the frustration and inconvenience this has caused you. At the time of your attendance the process for booking fracture clinic appointments had been changed to allow patient's to book their clinic appointment before leaving the Emergency Department. Regrettably, due to an increased number of bank clerical workers on duty over the Bank holiday weekend, not all staff were aware of the changes and incorrect advice was given. I have shared your experience with the Associate Director of Nursing for the Emergency Division who has confirmed that all staff are now aware of the correct procedure. If it would be helpful to discuss this further or any other aspects of your clinical care please do contact us directly either by email: complaints@bsuh.nhs.uk or by telephone 01273 664511

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