"Wasted visit to A&E"

About: Russells Hall Hospital

Following an attack of double vision and an hour later by the loss of vision in the right eye, which lasted about 10 mins, my daughter left work and took us to RHH A&E. This was about 3pm. Check in was efficient but told that the wait was about 90mins. due to there being only one facility for eyes???. We were not told that the eye clinic finished at 4.30 ie the time I may have been seen. I eventually went into the cubical at 5.0pm again waiting about 30mins only to be told that nothing could be done and I would have to go to City Rd eye clinic at Birmingham. The nurse did write a letter for me to take and was told that they had phoned ahead and they would expect me that night. It was now nearly 6.0pm and their check in finished at 7.0pm. Fortunately my daughter drove and we got there before they finished. It turned out I was not expected as they had not received a phone call but they agreed to see me. Again the wait was about 2 hours but after that I could not fault the attention. I received a thorough eye check the result being something had restricted the flow of blood to the back of the eye which meant I may have had a mini stroke (not good news). They are putting me on their list for a scan with strict instructions to see my own doctor asap. The result of this is that RHH should have told me to go straight to the eye clinic and not waste time in A&E.

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Response from Russells Hall Hospital

Thank you for taking the time to give us feedback about our Accident and Emergency Department. We aim to offer the highest standards of care and we are sorry if you feel we fell short of those standards during your visit to our hospital. When patients attend A&E with an eye problem they are seen in our minor injuries area in order of arrival. In most cases, any treatment needed can be given by one of our Emergency Nurse Practitioners (ENP) and patients can then go home. If a condition is more serious, patients are seen by ophthalmologist for a specialist opinion at Russells Hall Hospital between 8am and 4pm. Outside these hours we refer patients to the Birmingham Midland Eye Centre (BMEC) We understand your frustration about the time you waited in A&E before going to BMEC. Unfortunately, it is impossible for us to know whether or not patients need to be seen by a specialist until they have been reviewed by an ENP and so the decision to refer to BMEC cannot happen earlier. We apologise for the poor communication between ourselves and the Birmingham Midland Eye Centre. We have passed your comments on to the matron and lead nurse for the department who will share the concerns you have raised with the team in A&E.

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