"Traumatic experience transferring my grand-daughter from Amazon Ward"

About: Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust / Child and adolescent mental health Peterborough City Hospital

(as a parent/guardian),

We received a call from the hospital asking if we would be able to escort our grand-daughter from the Amazon Ward to the Darwin Young People’s Centre. My grand-daughter has suicidal tendencies; the hospital wanted an appropriate adult to be able to oversee the transfer. We received the call at early afternoon; the hospital said they would arrange the transport for one and a half hours later.

We arrived at the hospital in plenty of time but the transport did not arrive. We waited a while and then made enquiries about the transport. Three hours later we still did not have any transport, we were advised by the ward staff to go and get something to eat in the hospital restaurant. We did so leaving my mobile number with them in case the transport arrived.

Whilst we were in the restaurant my grand-daughter tried to choke herself, clearly she could not be left unsupervised and the ward had put her under 15 minute observations.

Another 3 hours later there was still no news of transport and half an hour after this it emerged that the transport had not been ordered as they said it would be. The hospital offered to arrange for the transport then but it was too late in the evening for my husband to be driving (he was going to follow the hospital taxi in our own car) and also for my grand-daughter to be put through a transfer. We offered to spend the night with my grand-daughter in her room. The staff were very appreciative as they did not have enough people to provide this level of supervision. A put-up bed was provided for me and my husband used two chairs to rest on.

In the morning the ward staff were told that transport had been arranged for a time in the morning – we had 10 minutes or so to get ready. Neither of us had a change of clothes, we had not taken our medication the previous evening or in the morning so were feeling the effects of having missed it. My grand-daughter had to get ready – the driver was getting agitated waiting for us. We left without even a cup of tea.

At the Darwin Centre we were offered a cup of tea and had to see the staff to go through details about my grand-daughter. Also to go through all her belongings to make sure she had everything she needed and settle her in. However the driver was getting hassled by his bosses to get us back to the Peterborough City Hospital so that he could get on with the next job – we ended up leaving earlier than I would have liked as I was not able to see my grand-daughter properly settled in.

I want to make it clear that the ward staff on the Amazon Ward were kindness itself. Had we known that there were problems with the transport we could have hired a private taxi and gone better prepared with our medicines and with a change of clothes. In the end we were away from our home for 24 hours with nothing but the clothes we were in. It was a very traumatic experience and feel I need to tell you so that it does not happen to other people.

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Response from Lesley Crosby, Deputy Chief Nurse, Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

I am so sorry to read about the problems you experienced with the hospital transport. I have taken the liberty of sending your feedback to one of my colleagues, who manages the transport contract, so that we can learn from your experiences. I would like to thank you for the kind comments you made about the staff on Amazon Ward and will ensure that these are passed on. Once again thank you for taking the time to feedback to us.

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Response from Annie Ng, Head of Patient Experience, Cambridgeshire And Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust

I am sorry to hear about the problem you had with your grand-daughter's transport from Peterborough City Hospital to the Darwin Young Persons Unit of Cambridgeshire & Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust. I hope that your grand daughter is fully settled on the Darwin unit.

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