"Avoid at all costs - 7 hours @ A&E"

About: Queen Elizabeth Hospital (Gateshead)

Attended the x-ray department with my 88 year old mother for a pre-booked GP arranged x-ray. A fracture of her elbow was clearly visible and we were instructed to go to the A&E department for treatment. After a short wait at A&E which did not appear to be busy we were seen by the triage nurse and taken through to the ward. The nurse informed us the orthopaedic surgeon was on duty and would be with us shortly. We were shown to a very small room used for eye examinations and left there for over four hours. No-one explained why or how long we would have to wait and after about four hours I spoke to a nurse who informed me they were very busy and the surgeon would be with us as soon as he could. After about five hours we were moved to a cubicle - not to be seen by the surgeon - but because the person who was in the cubicle was swearing and being difficult - this person had actually been admitted to the ward a full four hours after us. After waiting a further 45 minutes I informed the staff I was removing my mother and taking her away - either to the RVI or home. My mother was considerably distressed by this time and as she has dementia and cannot be left alone, I was rather distressed myself. Within five minutes the surgeon arrived and assessed mother and after checking the x-ray (another 15 minutes) applied a (very messy) half plaster. We were sent for another x-ray and on our return to the ward the cubicle was occupied and we had to wait in the corridor. Eventually after another lengthy wait (approx 40 mins) the surgeon finally checked the x-ray and discharged my mother. A dreadful overall experience. My dog gets better treatment at the vets than my mother received from Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Who is responsible?

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Response from Queen Elizabeth Hospital

We're sorry to hear about your experience and what you describe certainly falls short of what we expect for all our patients. As is the case across the country at the moment, the A&E department has experienced times of immense pressure within recent weeks. We are, however, opening a new Emergency Care Centre, which has its own dedicated x-ray department to help reduce any delays like this in the future. You can see one of our A&E matrons or contact our PALS (Patient Advice and Liaison Service) on 0800 653 0667 or pals@ghnt.nhs.uk they can collect some more details from you and look into what happened in your case on your behalf. This will enable us to look into the situation in a more detailed way.

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