"A&E inexperienced, inattentive staff"

About: North Devon District Hospital

My sister was admitted to A&E yesterday 8th December, brought in by ambulance at approx 11h45. I arrived at the hospital shortly afterwards. From the moment I spoke to Reception at A&E, receiving curt instructions to sit down, they did not know where my sister was but I was to sit down and wait & someone would be out to speak to me. Luckily the ambulance driver recognised me & came across to fill me in, otherwise no A&E staff came out. I took it upon myself after waitin for an anxious hour to walk across to A&E. The paramedic on duty said I could see my sister. this was 13h15 approx. My sister suffers from panic attacks and was in a state, no-one had given her any painkillers, zero attention in fact. (Apart from the ambulance driver who had put a dressing on her leg at the scene). I asked the paramedic what was going on: my sister had a deep laceration to her knee sustained in a fall that morning. She was in pain. After I had asked what was going on the paramedic said she would clean up the wound & proceeded to do so. What would have happened if I hadnt gone over? A nurse appeared & administered 2 paracetamol, saying my sister would need an x ray. I was told to sit down & wait. In this time, no-one tried to make her comfortable, reassure her. We had to listen to the various A&E staff 's conversations, v unprofessional as they made it clear they were not busy & could easily have attended to my sister, who was at that stage the only patient there bar one another man who was told to go home as he had sciatica & should go to his GP. In short, A&E was not busy. My sister was left unattended until approx 2.30 a junior doctor came round & washed out my sisters wound. It was only then that my sister was given an injection to numb the pain. The wound took a lot of cleaning & the doctor did it well. However, she disappeared about 3 times durijg the procedure, not saying when she would be back, or what was going on. Total lack of communciation. Zero bedside manner. When she had gone I asked other staff what was happening, (by now they were attending to other patients who had come in & who had not waited half as long as my sister had). The triage system at this hospital is seriously flawed. No-one could tell me where the doctor was who had treated my sister, they were offhand & unhelpful, seeming v inexperienced. When I asked if my sister was going to have an xray, the junior seeming doctor,when she came back, said it wasnt necessary. I said we would like one to make sure. The docor didnt respond to this, ignored me. At last a doctor came round who knew what he was doing, this was at 3pm, over 3 hrs since my sister had bn admitted. He seemed more senior & capable. He proceeded to stitch the wound instructing the other doctor. I asked him re xray, he said it was not necessary. We insisted we wanted it done as it had bn a bad fall, he did not respond to this. We were discharged frm A&E at 3.45to go to the pharmacy.

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Response from Jayne Kruszewski, Customer Relations Manager, Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust

Dear Marion

Thank you for posting your comments on the website. I was very sorry to see that both you and your sister had such an upsetting time recently during your attendance at the Emergency Department. The Trust takes negative feedback very seriously as we aim to learn and improve services by listening to our patients when they have had poor experiences.

I would welcome the opportunity to discuss your concerns in person and would ask you to contact the PALS department on 01271 314090.

Many thanks

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Response from Peter Brain, Volunteer, Healthwatch Devon

Dear Marion,

The comments and responses on the web-site of Patient Opinion are passed to us at Healthwatch.

This experience you describe was clearly a troubling time, not least because of your being unaware of what was going on.

Please accept the invitation of the Trust to submit a follow-up comment and opportunity to meet someone.

You may wish to contact Healthwatch directly - see contact details below.


More generally we are building a picture of the provision of services in Devon and these comments will help the NHS and other providers develop and improve their services.

If you wish to discuss any health or social care issues with us in confidence, including receiving advice or information about services please call 0800 520 0640, or email info@healthwatchdevon.co.uk or go on-line to www.healthwatchdevon.co.uk.


Yours sincerely

Peter Brain


Healthwatch Devon is the consumer champion for Health and Social Care in Devon.

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Response from North Devon District Hospital

Dear anonymous Thank you for taking the time to leave us your feedback about your experience in A&E in December. Whilst it sounds like her wound was treated in A&E and you were able to go home, please get in touch with us if you would like us to look into your experience. Please contact our patient advice and liaison service on 01271 314 090 Kind regards Katherine

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