"Very poor admissions process"

About: Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital

I brought my very ill mother into Cramlington Hospital on Friday 12 February 2016 at approximately 21:30 as I understood that the hospital was for patients who were in a critical condition.

We waited three hours to be seen by a triage nurse which I find unacceptable considering my mother’s poor state of health.

What has annoyed and disappointed me was that my mother was clearly very very poorly but the other patients appeared in no way to be in a critical condition, they were all sat around laughing and joking and to my amazement they were all seen before my mother.

There clearly is no system in place to check if patients need to be at a critical care hospital and if they have a minor ailment then they should be sent to Wansbeck or North Tyneside immediately to free up valuable doctor and nurse time to deal with the critically ill.

She was seen immediately by the doctor once the triage nurse had seen her as they were clearly very worried about her poor state of health.

She was diagnosed with pneumonia and my mother was admitted and we finally got to a ward at 5am.

I now wish in hindsight that I had phoned an ambulance but as I was able to drive I through that this would be the best option of getting my mother to hospital and free up ambulances for other sick people who had no alternative to get to hospital.

My mother’s condition deteriorated and she ended up in critical care and was diagnosed with H1N1 and very sadly passed away on the 21 February 2016.

The care that she received in critical care was very good.

Having read other people’s reviews on here complaining of similar issues regarding the time taken to be seen in A & E I wish I had read these before I decided to bring my mother into Cramlington Hospital, when a loved one is seriously ill that would clearly be the last thing on my mind.

The system is not working and needs to be sorted out to avoid other patients and families having to experience a poor and stressful admissions process.

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Response from Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital

Dear Sir / Madam,

I am so very sorry to hear about the death of your Mother to pneumonia - please accept my heartfelt condolances at this very sad time.

I am also extremely sorry to hear that you experienced a delay in being seen the triage nurse that felt unacceptable for you given your Mother's poor health.

You visted The Northumbria with your Mother at the peak of the winter period - many of us who have worked in the NHS a long time are by now very used to how busy it can be at this time of the year - but this year the number of visitors to emergency care has been unprecendented. A 20% rise on the numbers last year in March alone.

You are absolutley right, if our specialist emergency care hospital isn't protected for those patients with life threatening emergencies, then many more patients will have to wait longer than necessary to be seen. We are very aware of not only how frustrating this is for both patients and staff but also the potential impact on safety.

We are doing lots of things to try and remedy this : a large media campaign to encourage people to go to the right place for care, additional staff to support, working closely with partners in primary care and the ambulance service to ensure patients aren't sent to The Northumbria unnecessarily, basing GP's at the very front of the hospital to treat or turn away those that don't need to be there etc

There is still more we can do to improve hospital flow so that we can free beds up as quickly as possible - we also have to learn the very valuable lessons of how to embed all the changes that have taken place since opening the new hospital last June. We remain committed to listening to patients and families and acting on their feedback to improve.

I really wish we had been able to avoid a lengthy wait for your Mum. I 'm glad that the care on Critical Care was good and I do hope that gives you some comfort now - however small.

Thank you for taking the time now to give us your feedback. It will be passed on to the Clincal teams who are working hard to respond as best they can to the needs of all the patients they see.

with sincere sympathies for your loss,


Annie Laverty - Director of patient experience

Response from Patient Experience, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Dear Sir / Madam,

Please accept my apologies, in my hast to reply to your review and begin looking into your mothers care I have forgotten to request her details. If you would be so kind as to send me her details privately, this will allow me to quickly trace her notes and talk directly to the staff who were involved in her care. My email is Annie.Laverty@nhct.nhs.uk.

With apologies and sincere condolences,


Annie Laverty - Director of Patient Experience