"Drink spiking attendance "

About: Northern General Hospital / Accident and emergency

(as the patient),

I attended A&E at the Northern General after my housemates became concerned that I was acting strangely and were suspicious that I had been a victim of drink spiking.

When arriving in A&E I had routine observations performed by an NHSP support worker who did not ask any admission information. From then until the moment I self-discharged I did not see another member of staff to inform them of why we thought I had been drugged, the circumstances leading to admission or to have any of the routine tests for drink spiking performed (even though according to the NHS choices website, these should be carried out in any suspected spiking case, so it can be reported to police).

We were patient, as me and my housemate are student nurses and understand that A&E departments can be extremely busy and we were not a priority. However, when walking past the nurses station to the toilet all the members of staff were sat around. When we eventually became too frustrated and I was getting more and more upset and paranoid about what they were thinking of me, we decided to go home.

At this point a doctor (who we believe to be a consultant) appeared and not only spoke to us in a very patronising manner, pretended to take my pulse and from this assumed I was fine, and also claimed that drink spiking is a myth and it's only used as an excuse for girls who've gotten too drunk. They also told my housemate not to worry so much next time. Both being nurses and having known other people who have been drink spiked, we not only knew that what they were telling us was untrue but we also felt that the uncaring and derogatory way which we were treated was unacceptable.

I was very lucky as I have been informed that I was not left alone at any point during the night, but I could quite easily have been sexually assaulted if I had been alone at any point. Having attended A&E and being treated as though I was being dramatic and was just too drunk from the moment I arrived, not only made me feel angry and upset, it made me realise that no person who could potentially have been a victim of sexual assault would feel comfortable disclosing this to the staff who "attended" me.

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Response from Debbie Fletcher, Patient Partnership, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Thank you for taking the time to post your experience of our Emergency Services. I am sorry for the obvious distress you have been caused as a result of your attendance. We would value the opportunity to inviestigate your concerns in order to provide you with a more detailed response. If you would like to take up this opportunity, please do not hesitate to contact our Patient Services Team on 0114 2712400. A member of staff can speak to you in confidence and assist you further.

Thank you once again.

Debbie Fletcher

Patient Partnership Department

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