"Not pleased with wait at Russell's Hall Hospital A and E"

About: Russells Hall Hospital / Accident and emergency

(as a relative),

My mother is in her 80s and has numerous medical problems, the most serious being that she is now in the advanced stages of vascular dementia.

Recently, she experienced unexplained chest pain, commented that she could not breath, started coughing and heaving and stated that she was going to be sick. The episode was short lived and she only vomited a little saliva. Nevertheless, I rang 111 to seek advice. This resulted in the attendance of the emergency services, who examined my mother and took an ECG. The ECG was not showing anything abnormal but their advice was that she go to hospital. I requested that she go to New Cross, as we had previously had bad experiences at Russell's Hall. Ambulance Control denied my request so I stated that in that case we would decline their offer of hospital attendance, as everything had settled down and my mother was comfortable. The ambulance crew were insistent that my mother should go to hospital as a normal ECG only showed the 'here and now' situation and that only blood tests would indicate if my mother had suffered a heart attack or similar. So, reluctantly, I agreed.

We arrived at the hospital shortly after 8.30 pm. My mother was given an ECG at 8.45 pm and another at 9.20 pm. The nurse informed us that the second ECG was normal and that she was very sorry but we would have to go to the general waiting area to wait to be seen by a doctor. No bloods had been taken from my mother at this point. I asked what the waiting time was. I was told that the next patient to be seen had already been waiting for 2 hours and 40 minutes.

The waiting area was packed and very noisy with few if any seats available. I informed the nurse that my mother was in the advanced stages of dementia and was incontinent at times and that a 3 hour wait in the waiting area, so far as I was concerned, was not an option. To cut a longer story short, I discharged my mother and took her home.

I had been told upon my arrival at the hospital that no cubicles were currently available in A and E because there was a backlog of patients waiting to go to wards that did not have beds available. This meant that my mother was initially taken to another are to have her first ECG and then moved into the A and E area to wait for her second ECG to be done.

I do not understand why no bloods had been taken from my mother to determine if she had suffered a heart related attack. Was she going to have to wait 3 hours or more to be seen by a Doctor only to be told that bloods would need to be taken followed by another long wait for the test results and another wait the seen by the Doctor again?

Needless to say, that if my mother suffers another chest pain, I shall put her in the car and take her to New Cross myself. Only, and only if she is in a life threatening state, will she ever go to Russell's Hall Hospital again. Should that happen, I shall have her transferred to another hospital as soon as I can, even if I have to move her to a private hospital.

I feel that Russell's Hall Hospital is a disgrace.

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Response from Alice Ford, Communications and Staff Engagement Officer, Communications and Patient Experience, The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust

Thank you for taking the time to post a comment about your mother’s experience of our A&E Department. It is very disappointing to hear that you were not impressed by the care we provided to your mother and that you were unhappy with our processes. We do aim to offer our patients the highest standards of care to all our patients and we are sorry if we have fallen short of those standards on this occasion.

Our Accident and Emergency (A&E) Department is an extremely busy area and we can appreciate that a lengthy wait is not ideal for anyone who has continence problems. We are disappointed to hear that your mother’s condition was not taken into account and appreciate that this cannot have been very comfortable for her. Please accept our apologies for this.

We aim to treat, admit or discharge all of our patients within four hours of arriving at A&E in line with all hospitals nationally. Patients arriving in A&E, both by ambulance or their own transport, are triaged by a senior nurse and priority is given based on the nature and severity of their illness or injury. This means that our most poorly patients are seen first.

The triage nurse will identify what tests, if any, are needed, taking into account a number of factors including a patient’s medical history, the problem they have presented at A&E with and their current clinical condition. It is difficult to know what decisions were taken and why without consulting your mother’s A&E notes.

As part of our ongoing commitment to improve patient care, your feedback has been forwarded to the matron who looks after our Accident and Emergency Department.

If you would like us to look into your concerns further please contact A&E lead nurse Victoria Perry on (01384) 456111 extension 2162. She would be happy to discuss your concerns with you further. If you prefer, you can also contact out Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) on free phone 0800 073 0510 who will happily look into the issues you have raised on your behalf.

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