"Early Pregnancy Assessment Unit"

About: Warrington Hospital

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I'm 6weeks pregnant & have started bleeding. I contacted my GP surgery & they were very good at getting me an emergency appointment. I saw the GP who said she would fax a referral letter to the early pregnancy assessment unit, they would ring me the following day & make me appointment for a scan. She said they would try and do the scan within 48hours. I've bled all night and I have significant cramping. No one has rang me. I rang the assessment unit to confirm they have received my referral, they haven't. I have been passed from pillar to post by both GP and assessment unit, neither accepting any blame nor offering apology. It took several attempts to get through to either service. Eventually through perseverance the services spoke to each other rather than through me. My referral was accepted, but there are now no appointments left until Monday morning. I have to wait 116hours since first contacting NHS services to find out if I am actually miscarrying, because a service didn't receive a fax referral sent through at 5pm. The staff I spoke to at the assessment unit weren't rude but were dismissive. The GP surgery at least found my referral re-faxed it & contacted the assessment unit to sort out the appointment. I work in the NHS, I am a hospital based clinical pharmacist on a dialysis unit. I would be horrified if any of my patients have felt the way I have felt about the NHS today as a consequence of my actions. NHS staff need to remember to care more about patient care & empathy than their systems, especially when those systems fail. The experience of helplessness & vulnerability today has made an awful situation 100 times worse. And surely Caldicott principles have been broken - my referral was faxed to an unmanned fax machine & has since gone missing. The GP surgery blames the assessment unit - because they had a record of the fax having been sent. The assessment unit blames the GP surgery for not ringing through a referral too, & not receiving the fax. Either way I don't care, both are to blame for being obtuse. All I need is to access a service in a timely fashion without having to check-up on communications. I'm now being advised that I may have to go to A&E... why is it whenever services fail you are advised to go to A&E? This experience has distracted me and my husband from the incredible feeling of loss & grief (if we are right to grieve? as yet we don't know), all this could have been prevented with a little empathy and a little diligence. I will post this on both services for their consideration & improvement. While writing this my husband has succeeded in speaking to a nurse. The nurse & her colleagues have redeemed some of my hope in fellow NHS staff and managed to slot me in tomorrow. Which means I can get reviewed & some closure. And therefore return to work my patients sooner. It shouldn't have been this hard to get seen, but I am grateful that patient care is still the number1 priority for some staff. Thank you

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Response from Warrington Hospital

Thank you for contacting us and we are sorry to hear that these communication issues caused a problem for you at a very difficult time. We'd be grateful if you could contact our PALS services so that we can look into the issues in a bit more detail as it is important to ensure that any problems do not happen in the future when a referral is made, please email us via pals@whh.nhs.uk so that we can do this.

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