"Visit to A&E, Derby Royal Hospital"

About: Royal Derby Hospital / Trauma and orthopaedics

(as other),

In response to a telephone questionnaire from The Derby Royal Hospital Public Relations people, the following report is our experiences following a visit to the A&E Department on a late evening in July 2014:

My wife woke on the following morning with a painful swelling on the back of her right hand, above and around her middle finger. During the day the pain increased along with an increase in the size of the swelling. She took a couple of Paracetamol pain relief tablets that didn’t help, so at approximately 23: 00 hours I decided to take her to the A&E department of the Royal Derby Hospital.

A very pleasant male receptionist booked us in and told us to take a seat in the waiting area. There was a notice on the reception desk stating that currently there was a 2 hour delay in patients being seen by a doctor.

However not long after we were seated, a hand-cuffed person was brought into the reception area and then released by Police. He immediately commenced to annoy and harass people in the waiting area who were clearly distressed by his behaviour. This continued until he was warned by the pleasant male receptionist that security would be called if he continued with his harassment of patients in the waiting area. A warning that was ignored by this arrogant man.

Approximately 1 hour later my wife was called to the reception desk again to establish her personal details and the reason for her visit, by a woman in uniform, then offered 2 white tablets presumed to be Paracetamol tablets with a small beaker of water.

Three hours after arrival we approached the reception desk again and asked another uniformed woman who had appeared from the area behind the reception desk, exactly how much longer we would have to wait to be seen by a doctor as my wife’s pain was troubling her. We were told that it would be “soon”, as A&E was extremely busy. Following a further 15 minute wait we decided to leave. Apart from the uncomfortable seating we were not prepared for an indeterminate wait to see a doctor, as my wife was very tired and she had more effective Ibuprofen pain relief and anti-inflammation tablets at home.

The next morning, we were seen by Dr. Chan Sin at our GP’s Surgery at Spondon, who examined my wife and supplied documents with his recommendations, telling her to attend A&E at Derby Royal Hospital immediately, which we did arriving at approximately 10: 00 hours. There then ensued a further 2 hour wait for examination by a doctor having been informed that A&E was very busy once again. Dr. Chan Sin had recommended that my wife remove or have removed, a gold ring on the third finger of her right hand to avoid any further complications. She managed to do this prior to attending DRH A&E Department.

Following a further approximately 2 hour wait, my wife was eventually sent to the Pulvertaft Hand Centre for further processing after being finally examined, and having a blood sample and X-ray of her hand taken. We believe that A&E staff did not have sufficient experience to establish the cause of my wife’s injury.

The Pulvertaft Hand centre by contrast, was everything the A&E department wasn’t. Courteous, efficient, with attentive reception staff, AND she was seen within 10 minutes of arrival. The doctor and staff involved were extremely concerned and correctly diagnosed her injury quickly. There couldn’t have been a greater contrast in attitude toward patients, contributing to a very pleasant atmosphere in the whole department.

My wife was quickly fitted with a “yoke splint” to the fingers on her right hand by a very pleasant physiotherapist, Chloe Phillbean, who arranged a follow-up appointment, and allowed to depart after a total of almost 5 hours in the Derby Royal Hospital since arriving at A&E reception that day. Adding to this waiting time the previous evening 3 hour wait, a total of 8 hours is the waiting time at the DRH to have a hand injury treated.

We find this treatment of indigenous elderly people totally unacceptable and hope that we will not be further penalised for responding to the DRH questionnaire. Our conclusion is this:

“Do not expect any sympathy or service from the derby royal hospital if you are an indigenous old person, a pensioner, and / or in need of urgent non life threatening treatment, certain exceptions excluded”

My wife and I have PAID our National Insurance Contributions and taxes without default for over 50 years and therefore have established without doubt, our right to medical treatment at any hospital here in the UK and participating hospitals abroad. Neither of us has ever abused the system.

We are thankful and grateful to the Almighty God for our good fortune and reasonably good health, but during this visit to A&E we witnessed preferential and prioritised processing of patients in the waiting area that was alarming and difficult to understand.

We have no objection to foreign medical staff being employed, or to foreign individuals being treated, but an accurate description of the hospital and for whom it is intended would be much more honest. We are octogenarians and very much appreciate the security offered by a national insurance contribution system.

I also believe that we were deliberately ignored because of our age, appearance, and apparent non-life threatening nature of my wife’s injury. This is unacceptable behaviour.

We do not accept the claim that ALL users of hospital facilities and services are equally “entitled” to these services or treatment. Membership of any organisation or club is dependant on the need for fees to be paid, valid for facilities and services provided by that club or organisation.

National insurance Contribution should be PAID by ALL individuals to fund their access to medical treatment and services. Apparently this is NOT the case.

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Response from PALS Team, Patient Experience Team, Patient Experience Team, Derby Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Many thanks for your feedback following you and your wife's visit to our Emergency Department at the Royal Derby Hospital. We were sorry to hear your experience caused you both considerable distress and would value the opportunity to respond to this matter more thoroughly. However, to do so we would need more specific information and therefore if this is something you would like us to do, please contact our Patient Advice & Liaison service (PALS) team on Freephone 0800 7837691 or via email on dhft.contactpals@nhs.net who will do their utmost to assist you further.

Many thanks once again for taking the time to provide us with this feedback, as all feedback is important to us as this allows us the opportunity to learn lesssons and implement changes wherever possible, to ensure the services we provide can be improved. In the meantime please accept our sincere apologies for your poor experience when attending our Emergency Department and for any additional upset caused on this occasion.

Kind regards

The patient Experience Team on behalf of Derby Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

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