"Problems at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, Accident and Emergency"
About: Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh at Little France / Accident & Emergency Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh at Little France Accident & Emergency EH16 4SA
Posted by steviant (as ),
I attended Accident and Emergency last night with an elderly relative. She is a diabetic and had been unable to measure her blood sugar levels, which she is required to do in order to take her insulin.
I have a number of observations to make about the service we received. I should make it clear that the care she received from the nurses was very good, and that they were kind and courteous throughout, despite clearly being under enormous pressure.
The service is clearly operating well beyond its capacity. The waiting area is entirely inadequate, with insufficient seating. We waited an hour and a half to be triaged, but were fortunate as my aunt had a seat throughout this period. Some patients were not so fortunate. Additionally, it was impossible for my aunt who is hard of hearing, to hear the names being called by the nurses for triage from her position at the far end of the waiting area. It was clear from the number of times that individuals had to be called for repeatedly, that it is quite possible for patients to miss their 'turn'. This is also obviously delaying staff, who have to repeatedly ask for the same patients.
I also noted that the information board providing the names of the lead staff for the unit was empty, making it impossible for patients or relatives to ask to speak to anyone senior should they have concerns. This may be a deliberate policy, but in that case I would suggest the board should be removed, since it gives an entirely false expectation.
Having been triaged, we were told that although the nurses had no concerns, they could not discharge my aunt. This could only be done by a doctor, but there were no doctors on the unit after 22:00 hrs. As a result my aunt was moved to the Out of Hours Service to be discharged by a GP. I am astonished that the major Accident and Emergency Unit for Edinburgh and the Lothians has no doctors available after 22:00 hrs, despite being extremely busy. Effectively this would mean that no patient arriving after 20:30 (our arrival time) could be seen by a doctor, without additional and significant delay. I do not consider this acceptable, and I cannot believe that units of a similar importance elsewhere in the country are run on this basis.