"Accompanying my mother at A & E"

About: William Harvey Hospital / Accident and emergency

(as a relative),

My mother has had a severe cough for over a month and going on the national advice she went to her GP who put her onto antibiotics, after the course she still had the horrendous cough which was stopping her from sleeping and causing her a lot of pain.

We accompanied her to A&E and she was seen quickly on arrival, however this was only for a moment. We then proceeded to wait in the A&E with more and more patients pouring in (as is the case every day no doubt). However although my mother and I were fine waiting there were many more patients coming in shortly after us who could not. For example, 2 mothers with children with head injuries came in, one of the children being only around a year old. Then a woman with a severe deep cut on her arm, 3 young women who had to tell the receptionist in front of a room of people that they thought they were having a miscarriage. And numerous other patients. We were waiting for 4 and a half hours for the doctor to tell my mum it was viral pneumonia and send us home.

The other people in the waiting room were also there for at least 4 hours.

The baby with the knocked head was irritable and cried for hours, with the poor mother having to try her hardest to calm him. It took her kicking up a fuss for anyone to even pay attention to the child, and consequently give him stitches. 4 elderly people in wheelchairs were packed into the tiny, hot waiting room blocking the corridors and fire exits. New admissions were having to wait outside of the waiting room, standing up with sprained ankles etc as there was no room.

Both my mother and I work in the hospital and I have to say I am disgusted. She begged us to take her to the Canterbury instead of the William Harvey and I wish I'd have listened to her as it was the worst A&E experience I have had.

Children with head injuries should be a priority. The baby that cried where a lot of the other patients were moaning about could have been in and out of there is minutes instead of making the poor boy and his distressed mother wait for hours. I think there should also be a separate section for wheelchairs, as many patients come in in them. Fans would be great in the summer. A nurse or doctor coming out and telling us what was going on would have made things run smoother but there was not one bit of communication other than them quietly saying names which a lot of the elder patients could not here.

There was even a whole hour when not one name was called. My mum says this was during the hand-over, but surely a hand over should be quick and some staff should still be seeing to incoming patients as there were still many coming in during this time.

The whole thing was very poorly run and I hope that feedback reflects this and something is done about it. I feel the health and safety of patients might be unnecessarily compromised if this s not addressed?

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Response from Julie Pearce, Chief Nurse + Director of Quality + Operations, East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust

Thank you for your feedback and I am sorry to read about your concerns about your mother's care. this is obviously not the level of service we aspire to. The A& E department has been particularly busy over a number of weeks which has created difficulties for our staff. Please accept my apologies and I am very happy to talk with you and mother about your concerns - my email address is Julie.pearce1@nhs.net. I will raise your concerns with our clinical lead for A&E. I hope your mother is recovering well from her illness.

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