"Not a great experience"

About: The Whittington Hospital

I attended A&E on a Monday evening. On arrival I was told the waiting time would be 3 - 4 hours. After an hour I was seen by a triage nurse and then told to take a seat. 3.45 hours (4.5 hours in total) after that I was still waiting. I asked the receptionist if she could clarify what the waiting times actually are as I had been waiting for 4.5 hours. She said 3-4 hours. I again explained I had been waiting for 4.5 hours, she shrugged and said I should speak to the triage nurse again. The triage nurse seemed to be constantly charging backwards and forwards determined not make eye contact; in the end I waited around 4.45 hours before receiving treatment. Where is the communication here? I would like to have been told where I was in the queue, or indeed how you prioritise the order of patient care. Or at the very least, I would have liked an honest appraisal of waiting times. I notice an earlier reviewer making similar comments back in February, and you responded that this is being looked in to. What have you done to make things better for patients? Very little as far as I can see. Additionally, the waiting area was pretty dirty. Lots of litter on the floor. I didn't see anyone do a 'sweep' during my 4.45 minute wait. There was also an elderly gentleman who was very disoriented and confused. He came out of the treatment area and the nurses basically sent him on his way, he hung around the waiting room trying to get some assistance from the other patients which was quite distressing for all involved. Eventually the triage nurse did come and speak to him but it did take quite a long time for this to happen. I understand you're busy and stretched and things are tight but where is the basic care and respect for those using your services?

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Response from The Whittington Hospital

Thank you very much for taking the time to share your feedback. Like many emergency departments across London, we are often very busy and are continually working on new measures to see patients as soon as possible. We now have more consultants in the department at key times to carry out a rapid assessment shortly after patients arrive. The Trust has carried out a successful recruitment campaign to increase the number of emergency nurse practitioners who can treat patients with less complex conditions quickly. We have also just opened a new ambulatory care centre which gives more patients greater opportunity to have same day emergency care where appropriate. We now display the average waiting time to see a doctor or emergency nurse practitioner in the waiting area, which is updated regularly. We will continue to work towards keeping waiting times to a minimum.

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