"Experience of A&E and Stroke Unit"

About: East Surrey Hospital / Neurology

(as the patient),

I was diagnosed with Parkinson's in November 2012. My symptoms have been well controlled with medication but have recently started to manifest themselves again (bearing in mind this was in the context of a stressful time both professionally and personally). Recently, after calling 111, the paramedic who attended took me to A&E. My only symptom was tingling and numbness in my right arm. In A&E I was seen relatively quickly and referred to the AMU (Acute Medical unit). I was told I would have to stay in overnight for observation. I was then told that I would have to be assessed by a stroke consultant and was taken for a CT scan (which was clear). I explained that I went through all this before being diagnosed with Parkinson's and that I would rather talk to a neurologist but was put on this "Stroke" highway which saw me taking up a stroke bed for six days. I was admitted around 17h00 on a Saturday and did not see a stroke consultant until the tuesday (after walking off the ward and threatening to leave the hospital). I asked the consultant whether he could talk to a Parkinson's neurologist to see whether it could be linked -he just looked me blankly. The test he requested were not ordered and I therefore had to stay another day for the MRI and the Doplar. Doplar clear but MRI broken so had to stay another day (by which time I am climbing the walls). Finally released around on the 6th day after all the tests being clear with no diagnosis or explanation and just a recommendation to contact my GP to bring forward my neurologist appointment. What a waste of NHS money and time!

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Response from Ben Mearns, Chief of Medicine, Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust

picture of Ben Mearns

Dear Peanut17

I am very sorry to hear about the frustrating time you had during your admission with us. I can understand that you felt that you were not being listened to and that you felt the investigations requested were not helpful and delayed your discharge.

From the limited information here I can understand why the medical team would have felt that they must rule out stroke as a cause of your symptoms and this may lead to the investigations that you detail. I am also sorry that the MRI scanner needed to be reapired which delayed matters and unfortunately we only have one MRI scanner that can scan patient's heads.

I would be very keen to look into your case and let you know whay things were done as they were as I suspect that if the medical team had communicated their concerns in a better way at the time then you would feel more reassured.

Please do email me on ben.mearns@sah.nhs.uk if you would like me to look into your case in detail and get back to you or else please do accept my apologies.

Dr Ben Mearns

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Response from Stroke Association, Stroke Association

We noticed your post and thought you may be interested to hear about the work of the Stroke Association and how we may be able to support you. Stroke Association is the leading charity in the UK changing the world for people affected by stroke.

Our Stroke Helpline is there for anyone who has been affected by stroke in any way. You may want to know more about stroke and its effects, be looking for practical information and support, or simply someone to talk to. The Stroke Helpline is open Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm on 0303 30 33 100. You can also email us at info@stroke.org.uk. We also have a range of services across the UK, providing information, advice and support to stroke survivors and their families. You can find out if there is a service in your area by contacting the Helpline.

We were sorry to hear of your experience and that you feel you did not receive good care. It sounds as though the hospital is willing to look into your concerns but if you are still unhappy, it may be helpful to contact the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS). PALS is an independent organisation, there to ensure that the NHS listens to patients, their relatives, carers and friends, answers their questions and resolves their concerns as quickly as possible. You can telephone PALS at East Surrey Hospital on 01737 231958 / 01293 600399, or email them at pals@sash.nhs.uk

Finally, you can also find lots of information about stroke on our website at www.stroke.org.uk. You can read about our services, read or listen to other people’s experiences and download all of our publications free of charge. There is news about our campaigns to improve services for stroke survivors, national and local events and our research programmes. You can also join the Talkstroke discussion group where you can share your experiences with other people who have been affected by stroke.

I hope that this is helpful and that you are now getting the support that you need to make the best recovery possible.

Stroke Information Service


Stroke Association staff are not medically trained and the information provided does not replace information given to you by your own healthcare provider.

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