"A&E and some communication problems"

About: William Harvey Hospital

On Sunday, 27th Sept 2015, my daughter was in severe pain suffering problems with spinal discs / tear etc. There were initially some problems with her GP and call-backs. Eventually called 111 and she was told "not to call an ambulance but to get yourself to A & E and I will tell them to be expecting you......". It took 3 of us to get her into the car and I myself drove her (carefully and painfully!) to the Hospital - her older daughter had to stay at home and look after younger sisters. Arrived at A&E about 7pm.

When I arrived, I parked as close as possible to the A&E entrance and went to ask for some help to extradite her from the car. Everyone flatly refused saying that it was against the rules, that I should have called an ambulance!!!!

So I returned to the car and we was halfway through trying to get her from car into wheelchair (I myself am disabled and walk with a stick) when a Nurse happened to walk by, saw that we were in real difficulty and came to help. Once the Nurse had helped us inside, things did change somewhat and she was taken directly into the major treatment area and helped onto a trolley. After a little wait she was given some pain relief, which helped for around 25 minutes before it wore off. She then spent the next 2 hours plus almost constantly screaming and yelping in pain before being given further pain relief via I.V. Which fortunately worked well and she visited a different planet and drifted in and out of sleep.

There are 2 things which I would now like to say about the 5 hours spent in A&E:

There was a Staff nurse involved in her treatment, who it has to be said, seemed unable to understand what we were asking, and for the most part their replies were noticeable by their silence. When this nurse did offer a reply, it had little or nothing to do with the question asked! This is not a complaint about the Nurse personally, but it does highlight problems involved with the language barrier. It was around 3 hours before my daughter was seen by a Doctor.

In favour of the staff in general, we had great sympathy and admiration for them as they appeared to be completely overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of patients. At one time, I counted as many as 9 trollies crammed into the isles and spaces outside of the numerous cubicles, and the waiting room was full.

At around 12:30am my daughter was transferred to the emergency assessment unit. She was a lot more comfortable and I left her sleeping. At about 04:30am on Tuesday morning (29th and after being transferred to another ward because a Surgeon "has some concerns about her symptoms"), a Nurse helped her to the toilet where a large insect was seen (by both) and after the Nurse stood on it, it was discovered to have been a cockroach!

In general though, her treatment is good - if a little slow sometimes. It does appear that staffing levels could be better as there were some occasions when there were no Nurses to be found for a few minutes.

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Response from William Harvey Hospital

I am truly sorry to hear about the experience you and your daughter had.

It must have been very frustrating for you both.

We need to investigate the issues you have raised and I should be very grateful if you would ask your daughter to contact us.

She should contact PALS (Patient Advice and Liaison Service) on 01227 783145 or 01227864314 or by email on ekh-tr.PALS@NHS.net.

Alternatively you can complete a complaint form accessed through our website www.ekhuft.nhs.net

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