"A&E reception"

About: Chesterfield Royal Hospital

My mother had a very bad fall and we were unfortunate enough to decide to take her to A&E on the advice of a off duty GP. The receptionist was extremely rude to my mother and I. When I explained that my mother had Dementia, so was very confused and upset I met the response 'well it's a long wait and medical need is prioritised here so she'll just have to wait like everyone else'. I hadn't actually requested she was seen earlier than others all I was doing was providing her background, as requested!

My son had managed to get her to sit on an empty chair just around the corner to which the receptionist stated ' she can't sit there either she'll have to sit over there', pointing to the busy waiting area, I explained that my mum couldn't cope with busy situations as part of her Dementia, to which the receptionist stated 'she'll have to sit there' again pointing to the busy area. I had to walk away at this point as, after the shock of seeing my mum and the treatment of this receptionist towards her, they had reduced me to tears!. Luckily a Doctor heard me expressing my upset, to my son, around how my mother was being treated and informed me 'you can sit there it's not an issue and I'll get you seen as I can see she's (mum) is upset'. The doctor then spoke to the receptionist who sat glaring at me for the 2 hour wait!

The receptionist was extremely rude and unprofessional throughout and made a very stressful situation worse for a very vulnerable person. The receptionist, due to their own 'power issues' didn't pass on all the information leading to a medical mistake (information regarding signs of stroke that need addressing within an hour of the event) being unassessed, and I will be contacting the hospital directly about this.

All I can say is what a great shame that this person is the 'initial face of the hospital' when all the other staff where fantastic, respectful and fully aware of the needs of a person with Dementia- staff training (and a feeling of 'power' being removed) is required!

Story from NHS Choices

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Response from Chesterfield Royal Hospital

I was really saddened to read your post and your description of the receptionist in the ED. This must have added anxiety to an already distressing situation and we would have expected you and your mother to have been treated with kindness and compassion. I am so sorry you felt reduced to tears. I am pleased that one of the doctors helped you to make sure your mother felt comfortable. However I can see this had a further negative impact with the receptionist. I have brought this incident to the Head of Nursing's attention but we would really welcome a conversation with you. I realise this won't change what happened but it will help staff to learn how their actions impact on others and the perception this can leave. Our assistance and complaints team is on 01246 512640 and would be leased to help you 'tell your story'. I do hope you will see this post and get in touch. Kindest regards Sarah Turner-Saint, Headvof Communications

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