"Mixed opinion!"

About: Darent Valley Hospital

3 years ago I gave birth at Darent and found the staff absolutely fantastic, particularly my midwife. I had also used the A&E department and found them first rate. A month ago my mum was taken to A&E with chest pains. She was seen promptly and even though it took an age to wait for test results, she was admitted to the Clinical Decisions Unit after a few hours and the care she received on there was excellent. Constant monitoring, attentive staff etc. she was referred to Chestnut ward for a stent in her heart and the care she had there too was excellent. When she experienced chest pains a week later, we took her back to the hospital as per the instructions from the cardiac ward. She was admitted to CDU again and was told she could see a cardiologist. There is no cardiologist available for in patients at the weekend! Only emergency on call ones. Mum waited for 3 days and even though she was seen by whichever doctors and pharmacists were visiting the ward, they all had a different diagnosis which worried mum even more. She was discharged being told the stent needed time to settle, only to have extreme chest pains 3 days later and had another ambulance ride to A&E! Within an hour we had 2 very different diagnosis, from unstable angina to stress. Mum was feeling ill and the staff very much ignored what she was saying. Eventually she was taken to CDU again where she felt largely forgotten. Eventually she saw someone who sent her for a CTScan to check her lungs. No one told us why! This added to the panic. Mum was discharged two days later, still feeling very unwell but with a string of out patients appointments to attend. The staff said they were too busy to do her discharge letter and we waited a week for this to arrive by post. Constantly I found myself having to ask what was going on. On one occasion, the staff were singing and dancing at the desk which when you are trying to find out information is very out of place. Medication was altered without any explanation, the pharmacists were saying different to the doctors and the nurses were just run off their feet. At least, some were. Others preferred to dance.... Having been so impressed on previous occasions, I was very disappointed with the care my mum received. A lot comes down to the staff working in the ward at the time. Some deserved medals, others deserved marching orders. I overheard a doctor saying that he would only do a quick round one morning as he wanted to go home early! Mum is not old and is able to speak up, not everyone in that ward could and it was heartbreaking to see such sick people ignored. On our first trip to CDU no one was ignored. Staff had changed on the subsequent visits. Shame. We still don't know what mum has wrong exactly, even the GP is confused with the notes sent through. Has Darent become a victim of its own success?

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Response from Darent Valley Hospital

Thank you for taking the time to tell us about yours and your mother experience at DVH over the past month. I am pleased that you were impressed with the level of care and attention during first presentation. I am however sorry that you felt there were inconsistencies in communication and level of clinical interventions during subsequent episodes. Although DVH does have on site cardiology cover at weekends, we do have emergency cardiology cover provided by St Thomas Hospital at weekends. The on call medical team are able to contact the team if they are concerned about a patient. Alternatively all other cardiology inputs happen during weekdays. Moving forward, the hospital is indeed consulting with the specialist Doctors in order to provide a 7 day cover at the hospital. This initiative is still at a planning stage. As clinical specialist, there are often differing clinical diagnosis to a presentation to ensure that the right treatment plan in put into place. I am sorry if this has cause undue worries and concerns. On discharge, it is our expectation that patients are sent home with a discharge letter. In the event of delays, we do aim to post discharge letter in 24 hours of discharge. I am sorry this was not the case. I expect all teams to portray a high level of professionalism within the clinical environment. I am sorry this was not the case in your experience. Finally, I would like to give you assurance that we aspire to providing good care in supportive and professional environment. Fawez Molotoo Matron Clinical Decision Unit/Medical Short Stay

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