"As percieved by worried relative"

About: William Harvey Hospital

My wife suffered a heart attack and was taken from home in Tunbridge Wells to the Cardiac Care at William Harvey. The medical care and speed of care was brilliant - no issues at all.

The hospital fails miserably in internal communications. I followed the ambulance from T/Wells to Ashford and was about two-three hours behind. After parking I entered the main entrance at about five pm. There was no receptionist to be found, and a cleaner suggested I ask at the A&E reception.

The A&E receptionist searched for admissions on her computer and said that my wife had not yet arrived at the hospital..

Many thoughts raced through my mind - had the ambulance broken down? Had an accident? Been diverted to another hospital?

No joy from A&E reception, so I wandered off wondering what to do next. Another patient who had obviously gone through this experience suggested I visit the Cardiac Care ward before complete panic set in.

Easier said than done. Another cleaner (seemed to be an abundance of cleaners about) told me the Cardiac Care Unit was in the Red Zone. A door marked Red Zone led me up two flights of stairs to a locked door. Back to the closed coffee shop, I studied all the signs until I found Cardiac Care in the Green zone, one floor up.

Still not knowing where to go, I was wandering the 2nd floor and was asked by someone who or what I was looking for. It turned out this was the Consultant Surgeon who had treated my wife on admission and they took me straight to her.

Two hours later, my wife's son arrived and again was told that she had not arrived at the Hospital. He phoned me to ask which Hospital my wife had gone to, and obviously I was able to put his mind at rest.

I would stress the medical and aftercare score 10 out of 10, but the communications leave a lot to be desired. They cause great anxiety and confusion.


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Response from William Harvey Hospital

I am so very sorry that you had these worrying concerns.

We recognised that 'After Hours' communications were poor once the Receptionists had gone home and are currently installing 'Info Points' at various parts of the hospital.

They are telephones where you will find a choice of numbers to select with one press of a button.

After hours you will be able to select the Operator, for instance, and they will be able to find the information you need.

I am glad to learn that someone was able to help you - but this is certainly not the experience that we would wish for patients' families, so I sincerely hope that the 'new' system will help people in the future.

I hope that your dear wife is now on the road to recovery.

Please convey our apologies for all the upset and anxiety to the rest of your family

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