"Massive hospital, not enough staff"

About: Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital

Terrible experience and I hope I never have to go to this hospital again.

Was sent there after going to a 'walk in' where all my paperwork was done and I was given an envelope to hand over.

I had blood in my urine and was in a lot of pain in my kidney area. I have cysts on my kidney and was concerned this was causing my pain. My blood pressure was also raised.

I gave the receptionist the envelope and then took a seat in the main waiting area. After 2 hours I asked at the desk for some pain relief, I had to go to the 'green area' to find a nurse. They took me into a room, gave me 2 paracetamol, took my blood pressure again, put a tag on my wrist and showed me to another waiting area. At this point I was made aware that I would have a long wait.

I have a form of spina bifida and use a walking stick to help my balance. The waiting area was small for such a big department and there are not many chairs, so due to this and the confined space, I stood in the corridor.

I felt really ill, sweating, palpitations and in pain. I felt if I stood there much longer I would collapse. I went to find a nurse to tell them I was leaving because I felt the next person would get seen quicker if the staff were aware I had gone. I needed to get home and sit down before I fell down.

This was an awful experience and whilst I know every A&E department is busy and I am not the only sick person in the North East, this was scary.

The main waiting area felt like a shopping forum, then you get put in different areas waiting to be seen. These areas are small and confined and whilst there seemed to be several staff milling about, no-one seemed to know what their purpose was. I waited over 2 hours to get a ID bracelet put on. I didn't even get to the 'blood sample' stage and in all this time, I only saw 2/3 people get called in. You shouldn't have to collapse in an A&E department to get seen, this is the reason for you being there in the first place, to prevent this happening surely?

This was a scary experience and I was petrified I would need an ambulance and get taken back there. Awful, truly awful. Why build state of the art hospitals, when the NHS haven't got the staff to run them properly.

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Response from Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital

Dear Sir / Madam,

I am so sorry that your experience of care has been so poor - we wouldn't want any patients leaving one of our hospitals feeling this way. Its very concerning to hear that you didnt feel safe.

I want to be able to act on the feedback you have given but I am limited by what I can share with the teams when your post remains anonymous. I would be very grateful if you would consider working with us to help us understand more and improve ? My email is annie.laverty@nhct.nhs.uk - please get in touch.

I hope you are feeling considerably better now.

with kind regards, Annie