"A&E - Rude / Uncaring Staff"

About: Whipps Cross University Hospital

I was at outpatients for an appointment and the staff were very polite and respectful. When I finished, the porter took me to the A&E, as I had sprained my back. When finished, I asked the receptionist if she could book a taxi for me to return home. I explained that outpatients had booked a taxi for me to attend my appointment, as I had a back injury and could not use public transport (and was on welfare benefits so I couldn't afford to pay for this myself). She rudely informed me: 'If you want a taxi, then pay for it yourself.' As outpatients were now closed, I contacted switchboard, and they were shocked by the receptionist's rudeness. They put me through to the A&E Manager(?). The Manager started firing questions at me: 'Why can't you pay for a taxi yourself?' Because I don't have money for a taxi on me. 'Why can't you use a debit card?' Because I have no money in my bank until tomorrow. 'Why can't you take the bus?' Because my back is too painful to cope with a bus journey. 'If you are not in the A&E building now, then there isn't anything I can do to help you.' I'm outside A&E, you could probably see me from the window. 'Not unless you're on the roof''. Thereafter the Manager met me in the A&E building. She stared at me in a snooty manner, before asking me the same questions again, twice. Then, quite bizarrely, she started glaring at my carrier bag, before demanding to know what was inside it. I informed her, 'just some of my stuff'. She pointed to a small box, demanding to know what this was. I informed her it was a disability aid, given to me by the outpatients. I noticed that she kept trying to analyse my bag. Then she retorted: 'What makes you think that the hospital would pay for your taxi back to your home?' I explained outpatients had booked a taxi for me to get to the hospital. She demanded to know where were my family and why couldn't I ask them to collect me. I informed her that none of my family lived in London. She asked me twice why I hadn't asked outpatients to re-book the return journey. I explained that the taxi needs an allocated time, and that as I did not know how long I would be at A&E, I couldn't get this booked until I had finished. She finally concluded in a patronising manner: 'You're too young to have any kind of a back issue' and that the hospital would never pay for a patient to be returned home in an ambulance or a taxi, for a minor issue like yours.' Realising that I was getting nowhere (except to be further humiliated), I walked away, and it took me over 20 minutes to get to the bus stop. The bus journey back was a nightmare (the bus kept braking hard, and there was the neverending traffic jam around Romford Road). Then I had to take another bus to get back home. As a result, when I finally got home, I was in agony. This was an appalling way by A&E Manager at Whipps Hospital, to treat someone with an injury.

Story from NHS Choices

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