"State of A & E"

About: Milton Keynes Hospital

My wife went to A & E on Monday evening with an injured arm after a bike accident. We arrived at 6pm and finally left at about 9.35pm. The care she received was excellent and the staff were all very good. But the dull and colourless waiting room was crowded, not very warm (one old lady constantly complained), the TV was not working, nor was the hot drinks machine. There were no magazines. The seating was not very comfortable. In sharp contrast, the X ray waiting area was bright, clean and had a working TV - and no patients in there! But only 4 magazines, none very appealing. Most of the adults in A & E were waiting for over three hours and one young man, aged just 16, had to wait with a head injury for a very long time. With not much effort, things could be very different. 1. The mother of the 16 year old with a head injury had a great idea: register patients and carry out an initial assessment and then offer to text them about half an hour before they are likely to see a doctor. That way, those living fairly locally could go home and wait there in far greater comfort. Some may not wish to do this - and could, if they wanted to, remain in the waiting room. Patients returning back late would just have to wait their turn and those choosing not to return would be no different to people who currently decide not to stay and leave of their own volition. 2. People waiting to register on arrival could be told what information will be required - name, date of birth, address - and complete a form with the information or send a text as they wait. This would speed up the initial registration. 3. A member of staff (or volunteer) could perform a greeting and support role, like banks and stores often provide, which, carried our sensitively, would reassure the sick or injured and their families (especially those with small children). This would be especially pertinent for those for whom English is not their first language. 4. Ensuring the TV and drinks machines are in good working order should be more of a priority. And surely there could be magazines or newspapers to read. 5. Brighten up the room by painting it and maybe have some posters up. Most doctors' waiting rooms have far too much information on walls and boards and health-related literature which never gets read. There must be some expertise available to redesign waiting rooms to make them comfortable, attractive and soothing for people experiencing considerable stress and pain. This all seems terribly obvious and I can't believe that the hospital couldn't implement such improvements immediately. Such small actions could make a real difference to the quality of care being provided. To be frank, the space needs "humanising" to complement the brilliant human care provided by staff under huge pressure. I would be happy to expand on these ideas. I work in the fields of pastoral care, education and regeneration in local situations and internationally.

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Response from Milton Keynes Hospital

Thank you for taking the time to post your comments - we're very pleased the care your wife received was excellent. However, we are very sorry that your experience of our hospital waiting areas was not a positive one. Could you please contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) on PALS@mkhospital.nhs.uk or call 01908 660033. Thank you.

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