"Will never go back!"

About: Croydon University Hospital

Last night was only my 2nd experience of this hospital. I thought given that it had been in the news a few months ago for putting significant improvements in place etc that it might have improved.

We thought my 5 year old might have appendicitis as he woke up doubled over in abdominal pain so rushed him in to the Children's A&E. He was literally rolling on the floor at the reception desk with 4/5 members of staff not taking one bit of notice. An unfriendly receptionist eventually 'put his details into the system' and told us to wait in the extremely uninviting, crowded and hot waiting area. It took over 45 minutes for anyone to even look at him (many parents moaning they hadn't been seen and had been sitting there 4/5 hours so I guess we were lucky!!) ...we were told by said receptionist that they were very busy and 'there was a child dying with them that was taking priority'. Obviously fair enough but not what I would expect to be told in an abrupt manor when potentially my son could have a very serious condition.

We were eventually seen by triage and given a bed straight away on the a and e unit. This temporary A and E unit is completely unfit for purpose. The temperature must have been high 80s, low 90 degrees. We were told they had no way of controlling the temperature. Being 7 months pregnant I was unable to stay with my son continuously as the heat made me feel repeatedly faint and had to keep going outside for air. We were told we couldn't be moved as we had been there waiting over 4 hours we had to be seen in that specific room!?!?

On one of my many walks in and out of the Children's a and e unit I reported a pile of vomit to reception that had been on the floor for over 2 hours, trodden in and apparently not noticed. The cleaner that we saw cleaned our room twice - it was token. Swept a broom/ mop in the doorway and in select parts of the room. both times managing to miss the food and mud on the floor. What's the point?? To say they've done it, clearly.

There was a complete lack of communication between staff and between staff and us. They had misplaced my sons notes so a nurse was writing things down on scraps of paper in their pocket. I was asked his name 4 times by the same nurse and even wrote it down for them on one of their scraps of paper. It was chaotic. We were told nothing. Made to feel we were in the way when trying to find out from reception what was going on. Told on several occasions it was a different department we were waiting for, 'not us'. Quite frankly I don't care which department/ outsourced company the care is being provided by - surely they have a system up and running by which they are able to communicate and work efficiently together. Surely hospitals expect to be busy at times and plan for this?

Fortunately my son didn't have appendicitis. I fear what would have happened if there had been a serious problem. Can't fault the doctors but overall, a disgraceful and shocking service. Croydon NHS should be ashamed!

Story from NHS Choices

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Response from Croydon University Hospital

Dear Harriet

I am very sorry that you had such a poor experience in our children’s A&E at what was clearly a very worrying time for you and your family. Thank you for taking the time to let us know.

We are currently building a brand new Accident and Emergency Department at Croydon University Hospital.

This new facility will be much larger and will include a dedicated children’s A&E, with its own waiting area and play room.

However, this will not open until 2017.

In the meantime, we are continuing to provide A&E services in temporary facilities at the hospital.

Our cleaners normally work very hard to keep our hospital clean, and it is disappointing to learn that our usual standards were not maintained during your visit.

We are also working to quickly fix the temperature control issue within the A&E department.

I am sorry that this added to your discomfort and anxiety.

We are always looking to improve our services, and it would be very helpful if we could discuss your concerns in more detail.

This will help us to address the issues you’ve raised.

You can contact me on 020 8401 3352

Graham Richardson

Deputy Manager, PALS and Complaints

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