"Banished to a Waiting Room"

About: City Hospital campus / Respiratory medicine

(as the patient),

Suffering from Lung Fibrosis coupled with a chest infection. I became so breathless at home that my wife had eventually to call in our GP who arranged for me to be admitted to a local hospital as an emergency case.

The ambulance summoned by the GP failed to turn up and we had to dial 999 to get an ambulance 6 hours after seeing the GP.

I was delivered to Nottingham City Hospital Jenner Emergency Admissions Ward where there was no bed available from my arrival at 20.00 through until 03.30 next day. During this time I sat in a chair in a waiting room having been given oxygen to assist my breathing.

After a bed was found in Red Bay I tried to rest but was awoken after about 1 hour to be assessed by a doctor then left to rest until the ward came 'alive' at 06.00. This was my first night of no rest!

I was seen by a team of doctors by 10.00 that morning, medication prescribed coupled with oxygen intake. I was advised that I would be transferred to a General Ward as soon as a bed was available, there being no beds available in the Respiritory Ward. For the next four days I remained in the Emergency Ward, there being nowhere else to put me. During this time I established that there was nowhere for patients in my condition, sort of 'walking wounded', to take a bath or shower. The only facility that I could find was a washroom that only had a sink with the type of taps operated by the elbows and a mirror on an adjacent wall that allowed a shave to be taken.

So for five nights, very little rest, the ward being constantly busy as you would expect of that type of facility. Indeed on the fourth night a patient died in the bay so everyone was woken up from about 02.00 until 05.00. On the fifth day after some improvement in my condition I prevailed upon the doctors to send me home where I could at least get cleaned up and get some proper rest, which I considered to be essential to get me back on my feet. To my relief this was agreed and I was discharged though I would have to wait at least 3 hours for my wife to return home,(she was visiting at the time.), so she could get me some clothes and a taxi.

In the meantime a very brusque Ward Sister approached me and told me that she needed the bed I had occupied and that I must vacate it and return to the Waiting Room again until my wife returned. So to end my sojurn I ended up in the same waiting room as I started in, in my pyjamas and dressing gown. This time for 3 hours although I did get a cup of tea which was an improvement on the first visit to the infamous waiting room.

There was a lot of rumour circulating in the hospital that many wards were closed for deep cleaning and in fact the Emergency Admissions Ward was operating in temporary accommodation while a new facility was being re-furbished. At no time was any of this explained by staff to patients and certainly in my case some explananation would not have come amiss and at least I would have known why things were not quite to the standard expected of a NHS hospital.

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