"Outstanding care and service from NHS 111 & SecAmb"

About: Medway Maritime Hospital / Accident and emergency NHS 111 South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust

(as the patient),

After much deliberation and arguing with myself, I phoned the NHS 111 service on in early August for some advice and support.

I had recently been discharged after a prolonged stay in hospital post spinal surgery and was concerned about new onset pain, numbness, raised temperature and increase in symptoms associated with my IIH.

The call handler was swift and efficient in taking my medical history, reassuring me as she went along and after deciding on the best course of action (whether to pass me over to a clinical advisor or not), she informed me she organising immediate and urgent help from an ambulance - she even took down specific instructions on how to find my property as it isn't completely obvious from the road). It was dispatched on blue lights and the team arrived very quickly.

The team (who I learnt were a private crew) were extremely attentive and reassuring and it was brilliant to see how they worked together, the female crew member completing the examination and the male crew member completing all the paper work and taking my medical history. The team were calm throughout and their behaviour reflected to me, instantly reassuring me I was in safe and competent hands and would be brilliantly cared for by them.

They transferred me to MMH and took me in, somewhat painfully, to the ED. I observed a quick and thorough handover and the team and, following the nurses instructions, reluctantly found me a trolley in a corridor, got me comfortable and warm and we said our goodbyes.

I was then left on a trolley in the corridor for 90 mins with other equally as or more sick than me patients, with no observations, no monitoring and no pain relief; I was transferred to a cubicle and then left for at least another 20 mins, before being seen by a doctor.

Sadly I had to constantly repeat myself and my history was still inaccurately recorded. I was given pain relief, gratefully in the form of IV morphine.

I am saddened that more attention was paid to my recent spinal surgery than my neurological problem - both equally concerning to me and although a CT head was completed, this will never show any pathological changes for IIH/Hydrocephalus; after this no further review was done of my neuro condition (not even a fundoscopy) either whilst in ED or whilst on the ward for 3 days.

I was looked after well on the ward after we managed to eventually get my pain managed and under control, but am still disheartened by the lack of attention to my neurological problem (it appears from the outside that this is due to my care not being delivered at MMH). As a patient who will have to frequent the ED throughout my life for my LTC I can only hope it will be better managed in the future and not with just a CT and then no further examination or review and a request to see my Neurologist asap.

I had amazing first experience of using SecAmb, but sadly it was somewhat marred by my experience in ED and the approach to looking after my long term condition.

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Response from Medway NHS Foundation Trust

I was very pleased to read that you received an excellent service from both 111 and SecAmb, however I was disappointed to read that you then felt that the service in the emergency department was less than satisfactory. Please accept my apologies.

The department is small and we often have more patients than we can adequately accomodate hence our aim to improve services for the future.

If you would like to contact me, Pauline Brooker, Matron on 01634 830000 bleep 594 I would be happy to discuss your experience further.

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Response from Louise Hutchinson, Patient Experience Lead, South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust

Dear Bailey80 I just wanted to thank you very much for taking the time to provide feedback about your recent NHS experience. It really is encouraging to know that the NHS111 service worked well for you, and that the ambulance crew that attended you provided such good care and reassurance. We know that NHS staff do a great job almost all of the time, but it is so nice for our staff to hear it from patients. If you would like me to pass on your kind comments to them, and if you have time, please do email me at louise.hutchinson@secamb.nhs.uk, letting me know the date of your call and the address at which we attended you. I do hope your recent IIH symptoms have eased somewhat, and please do always call us without hesitation if you feel you need our assistance. With thanks and very best wishes, Louise

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