"professional staffing"

About: Derriford Hospital

My wife was admitted to Derriford through the Accident and Emergency department with a (GP) doctors letter at approx. 7PM. We were seen within a reasonable time and triaged, (that is, by a senior nurse) where the other two people were who should have made up the Triage is a mystery, unless you count the always seemingly busy reception staff. The waiting area (for treatment) was poorly ventilated and extremely stuffy. We waited here with boisterous inebriates knee to Knee. It was only when my wife was on the point of losing consciousness that a nurse intervened and took her to a cubicle where medical assessment began with a vigour and efficiency. My wife was soon admitted into the urgent cubicles where she was further assessed etc. At 9:30 we were still there: The Department was very busy and we became familiar with the staff "cry" of: "we are short staffed". My wife sent me home, I have a heart condition, and she was later discovered by a staff nurse who said they were amazed to find her there and she should have been portered up to a ward on the 10th floor, so the Nurse wheeled my wife to the ward herself at 11:30PM On the ward my wife heard the short staff complaint again, but evidence of Agency nurses were present. My wife was moved to Wolf ward where short staffing existed Sunday PM/Monday AM She asked to be unhooked from a machine so that she could go to the toilet, but like everyone else they could not perform that action it was some one else's job, the result was my wife was left to lay in her own excrement because it was change over time and no one was available to help her. Decisions about her medical treatment were formed and changed several times by doctors who "were new" to the ward and thrown in at the deep end because it was the weekend, we suspect. On one occasion an argument took place between two senior members of staff new to the ward, one of whom wanted to prepare my wife for an operation which surprised my wife as she was not due for an operation: After reading the notes properly the nursed came back and apologised to my wife saying it was mistaken identity. Weekend working at Derriford appears to be chaotic on the wards with many imported agency staff trying to cope with being thrown in at the deep end.

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Response from Derriford Hospital

Dear Anonymous From the Emergency Department's perspective it is normal to be triaged by a single nurse and for the initial assessment to direct the nurse to a triage category. I can only apologise for the stuffiness of the waiting area and this is something we will monitor although when the department is busy it can become warm. Unfortunately the waiting with other members of the public is beyond our control but I am pleased the nursing staff acted swiftly when your wife felt unwell whilst waiting. With regards staffing in the Emergency Department we aim to staff to our establishment. This can however be affected by short, long term sickness, and vacancy. If required we would call upon other areas of the hospital to assist. Thank you for your feedback. Kind regards Tim Matron

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