"Doctor 'above' assisting physical needs of patient..."

About: Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham

I am writing this on behalf of an elderly relative who was in a and e because of confusion and distress. We waited four hours for a doctor which is acceptable in this environment. The doctor was polite and respectful towards me and my relative on the whole but when asked for assistance to go to the toilet the doctor ignored this request initially and then stated this situation ' was not his territory'. My relative was distressed and confused but certain he wanted to go to the toilet. He has a lung disease and is quickly fatigued after movement. My relative had to walk alongside the doctor to a reception area where he had to stand and wait for assistance. I feel that he was not treated with dignity and respect at this point. After his return my relative wanted to get back onto the trolley in the a and e bay. The doctor said this also was not his territory and requested that his relatives should assist him onto the trolley. We were happy to do this but disappointed with the doctor's attitude. On a positive note, the doctor listed to my view that my relative was ill enough to warrant admission onto a ward which was fortunate because the following morning he was diagnosed with a potentially serious condition. My relative had been discharged earlier the same day after being informed that he was not going to receive a blood test that had been planned to take place before the decision to discharge. I just wonder if the blood test would have revealed the condition and the distress of being discharged and going back to A and E the same day could have been avoided.

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Response from Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham

Thank you for taking the time to provide feedback about the Emergency Department at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham. We welcome all feedback and would like to assure you that all comments are taken seriously and acted upon as part of our ongoing commitment to improving patient experience. We are pleased that some aspects of your relative’s experience were positive but we are very concerned to hear that you have concerns about lack of dignity and respect shown when your relative needed to use the toilet. All staff regardless of role are expected to treat patients with respect, and to maintain their dignity at all times. It is completely unacceptable that this does not appear to have happened on this occasion. The senior staff responsible for the area where your relative was treated are very keen to investigate what has gone wrong and take action to improve the service they provide. Without further details they are unable to fully do this so they would be very grateful if you would provide contact details so they can speak to you directly. Please make contact via our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) team who will be pleased to put you in touch with the relevant staff members. PALS can be contacted by phone 0121 371 3280, by email PALS@uhb.nhs.uk, via the hospital website http://www.uhb.nhs.uk/pals-form.htm or in person by dropping in between 9am – 4.30pm (Mon-Fri) to the PALS office located to the left of the Information Desk in the main entrance of the new Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham.

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