"Mixed experience of care with knee pain in Barnsley"

About: Barnsley Hospital / Trauma and orthopaedics Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust

(as the patient),

I had had trouble with my right knee since October 2008. I had been twice to A&E in great pain. I had an MRI scan.

A few weeks ago again I was in great pain and contacted my niece who has a key to my home. I live alone as I am a widow. She called for an ambulance at 11.00am. The answer was your aunt does not tick all the boxes for an emergency. They said they will get someone from NHS Direct to ring me.

After 45 minutes they did. They told me to have some neurofen, which I had already done. If I could have got into the car then I would have. Meanwhile despite the paracetamol and an ice pack the pain got worse. I was very distressed and started to shake and hyperventilate. At around 2.30pm an ambulance arrived so they gave me gas and air. At arrival in A&E they gave me more paracetemol, neurofen and tramadol. I pleaded for gas and air when they removed it and gave me dihydrocodeine.

They took me to x-ray then decided it was not necessary and took me back to the cubicle. I pleaded for gas and air and they fitted a cannula after two attempts, leaving my arm very bruised and sore. They said we must wait for a doctor. He came and said we will admit you to the orthopaedic ward 33. They gave me some morphine. However, when he left a lady came and said they would admit me when her boss arrived. They then decided to aspirate my knee and send me home.

There seemed to have been a mix up as someone then came and told me that my bed had been arranged. My niece questioned the nurse and she replied, “The bed may not be used but we are coming up to the four hour mark in A&E for your aunt. If we don’t move her off our books to the ward we will be fined by the government!”

I was admitted some 4.5 hours after arriving at A&E. I was in the most appalling pain when most of the time it was ignored, despite my distress.

The treatment on ward 33 was excellent. Nursing care, doctors, cleaning staff, auxiliaries were all splendid.

Recently I had to return to hospital as the site of the anthroscopy bled. By then I had acquired a central call alarm system through lifeline. It took 10 minutes for the ambulance to arrive compared to April when I had waited three hours. All my experience of the NHS has been first class. But this time it left a lot to be desired.

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