"Waiting times in A & E and holding area for..."

About: Southmead Hospital

I recently attended this hospital on a Tuesday evening with my sister who had a accident with a bamboo cane into her eye. Extremely painful for her, we were taken in by ambulance has her eye was bleeding. We arrived around 7.30pm ish at the ambulance entrance to be faced with à corridor jam packed with paramedics, ECA's and other ambulance personnel. There were people on trolleys on wheel chairs and some standing. It was very uncomfortable to be waiting in this area although the paramedics were awesome. My sister was checked I by the ambulance personnel then it was just a matter of waiting until she could be seen. The waiting corridor was becoming even more full with patients and even more ambulance staff. About 2 hours later my sister was then relocated to the main walk in waiting area where we were faced with probably over 100 people most of them looked like they needed treatment. So still 2-3 hours since arriving at southmead hospital my sister still hadn't been seen to and was in great pain. Finally at around 3am the next morning my sister had her first contact with a medical person/ Dr who spent all of 10 minutes with her gave her some more painkillers, eye drops and then sent her on her way recommending a visit to the eye hospital if required. We just cant believe it took near to 8 hours to have any contact with a Dr. I understand the prioritisation of casualties coming in but was just wondering is the holding area going to be improved and made more comfortable and private for people waiting and is the level of staffing on this area also going to change. There seemed to be only 1 nurse on filtering through everyone. The facilities look amazing but just seems the systems of work in place need a bit of attention.

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Response from Steven Sykes, Advice & Complaints Team Manager, North Bristol NHS Trust We are preparing to make a change

Dear Anonymous – thank you for taking the time and trouble to provide your feedback about your sister’s experience. I hope that she is now feeling much better.

Regrettably, demand for services in A&E departments across the NHS has increased significantly over recent years, and at times can result in delays that are much longer than we would wish, and the NHS target wait time of 4 hours.

Planning for the new hospital A&E facilities was undertaken before the relatively recent upturn in demand and based in the metrics available at the time. Please be assured that a review of the service is underway and we hope to identify how wait times can be cut, particularly at exceptionally busy times.

Please be assured that until the identified steps can be taken patients will continue to be seen in the order of clinical priority, but I appreciate that for a patient in pain any delay will be distressing.

Kind regards

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Response from Southmead Hospital

Dear Anonymous – thank you for taking the time and trouble to post details of the recent experiences of you and your sister. Your feedback is important to us. I am sorry that your experience was so poor, and I regret that we did not have the resources to see and treat your sister immediately. Unfortunately as you may have seen from the recent media reports A&E departments nationally are under extreme pressure, due to unprecedented demand. To try and meet this increased demand staffing levels are set based on historical data, projected demand and available resources to try and ensure that the national target of seeing all patients within 4 hours is achieved. Even so, in the face of the current level of demand the A&E department cannot always see patients as quickly as we would wish. However, everyone attending the department is clinically assessed (triaged) as soon as possible and then seen in order of clinical urgency. I regret that on the occasion of your visit the wait was so long. Your comments about the holding area are understood and a review is in progress. I hope that your sister is now fully recovered. Kind Regards - Steve Sykes Advice and Complaints Team

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