"Receptionist at Children's A&E dept rude and..."

About: Southampton General Hospital

I visited the children's A&E department with my 2.5 year old daughter after we both had had a nasty fall onto a concrete surface and both hitting our heads hard. My daughter was unresponsive after the fall, so I was more concerned about her welfare and the bump and bruising she had sustained on her head. On entering the children's A&E, I went up to the receptionist who was, at the time, typing and only glanced in my direction and then ignored me completely. I waited for at least 10 minutes!! before I asked if this was the reception for children's A&E, to which the receptionist again glanced in my direction, then continued to ignore me. I asked again, to which the receptionist replied 'yes, but I am busy, you will have to wait', then carried on typing. Given my daughter had just sustained a head injury, I was shocked at the blasé attitude. The receptionist neither seemed to want to acknowledge us or find our want was wrong. Another five minutes passed to which I said to 'lucky, if this not an emergency!' to which the receptionist responded 'well this is!' then got up and 'flounced' out of the room, leaving me still standing at reception. To add, it was not busy, we were the only people waiting and there was just another patient in the waiting area. At the same time, there seemed to be a lot of other staff standing around in the background doing very little. Eventually, another member of staff attended us and took down our details - this was at least a full 20 minutes now that I had been standing in the reception area. As an ex-trained nurse who had previously worked at the hospital, I was absolutely appalled at this persons attitude particularly as time is of the essence when dealing with emergency situations - every case may not be an emergency, but that needs to be decided as quickly as possible, so patients are seen and treated immediately if required. It just not acceptable to ignore certain injuries, head injuries being just one of them. Needless to say, when we entered the assessment areas including 'triage' we were treated with the utmost kindness, dignity and respect. The staff were extremely helpful and understanding - it just such a shame that the receptionist was not the same. I have never written on line reviews before, but I felt so badly treated that I felt compelled to write this one. It is clear that the reception staff in A&E do not receive sufficient training for their posts, because they lack any kind of understanding of what is an 'emergency'.

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Response from Southampton General Hospital

We were so sorry to learn about the fall that you and your daughter had and were very disappointed to read about the reception you received when you attended the Children's A&E department. What you describe was unacceptable and we expect all our staff to deal with everyone in a timely, polite and friendly manner. Your feedback will be shared with the manager for this area. We trust that both you and your daughter have fully recovered from the fall you had.

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