"Cardiology treatment"

About: Derriford Hospital

My father had a heart attack 4 years ago & had one stent fitted at RDE in Exeter. Whilst on holiday & presenting with the same symptoms he had ignored 24 hours before his last attack, we persuaded him to attend a walk-in clinic in Salcombe. The doctor there saw him at 6pm last night & referred him to Derriford. We arrived at 7.30pm & he was given a bed on the medical assessment unit (extension of A&E). The care on the ward by the nurse attending was fantastic. He had several tests but each one was spaced several hours apart and no one in charge seemed to be making any decisions, yet through the day he got progressively worse. On the Sunday Dad had walked 12 miles on the coast path from Wembury to Erme Mouth. Very hilly. Today he couldn't walk 200m & fainted whilst lying down & has abnormal high blood pressure. The ECG's were inconclusive, as were blood tests. He had a mini scan at 1pm, after which we were told he would have a big scan (rather than an angiogram) if the tests were inconclusive still. The doctors clearly were not talking to each other, each thinking the other had thought they had told us about the results of each stage but hadn't. At one point a doctor told us he was being discharged to go home. When we objected as to his state of health, the doctor told us his tests would be reviewed by a cardiologist. By the time one was available to look at the results (9pm) it was concluded that they needed to do a big scan (which we knew in the first place but it was by then too late to do the big scan). We found out afterwards that there were no beds available on cardiology all day. He has now been in the MAU for 30 hours and we are no closer to a diagnosis. We are not getting any information or contact from senior doctors, who appear to keep sending a junior doctor to us (who hadn't in the first place even read his notes) to deal with a situation they are ill prepared for. We are worried that to get proper treatment in time to prevent him becoming more seriously ill we may have to self-discharge & drive him ourselves to RDE Wonford A&E, risking him having a heart attack on the way.

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Response from Mary Anderson, Senior Quality Facilitator, Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust

Good morning

Firstly, I would like to apologise to your family for the problems you encountered during your father's recent admission to Derriford Hospital and for the concern this caused your family. We would welcome further contact with you to give us the opportunity to look into the circumstances of your father's admission and how we might have managed things differently.

If you feel able to speak to someone about your family's experience, please contact PALS (Patient Advice and Liaison Service) and we would be happy to feed back to the teams involved. PALS can be contacted on 01752 439884 or via e-mail at


Kind regards


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