"A & E Abandoned & Eliminated"

About: Southmead Hospital

After suffering with severe back pain for several days I visited my GP who prescribed codeine and wrote my a letter to take to A & E expressing his concerns.

I arrived at A & E at 11:45 am, I was seen within 10 minutes by the triage nurse and sent through to the majors / minors waiting area. I had bloods taken to rule out inflammation causing the pain at the site from a previous operation / microdiscectomy.

No sign of inflammation was detected and I was told they would arrange an MRI scan.

I was then taken to a room in seating assessment where I was forgotten and left for 7 hours with no food or water waiting to see a Neurologist, I received a sandwich and coffee just after 10 pm. The neurologist came at around 10:30 pm and was in the room for around one minute and said they are not willing to do an MRI, so go home and you will receive a letter in the post with an appointment. I was self medicating with codeine and diazepam. Diazepam was taken to reduce pain if caused by muscle spasms none of which made any difference to the pain I am experiencing, I can barely walk and sent on my way at 11:20 pm.

I was told I can return if I get worse. My pain is no better and I am confined to my bed as I only get relief by being led out flat the occasional shooting pains, I am very reluctant to return as I fear the same thing will happen again!!!

Story from NHS Choices

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Response from Southmead Hospital

Dear Anonymous – thank you for taking the time and trouble to post you views. I was sorry to learn of your unsatisfactory experience when you attended the Minor Injuries Unit at Southmead. I apologise that staff failed to keep you informed about the wait for an on-call Neurologist to attend you and that your needs were not catered for in the interim. I also regret if it was not explained that A&E and the MIU provide emergency care, and patients are discharged when safe to do so and follow-up care can organised.

I hope that you are now recovered from your pain, but if not an you do not wish to attend A&E again as per the advice, I would urge you to contact your GP if the pain persists so an appropriate referral can be made.

Once again I am sorry your experience of the service was poor as clearly we would always want patients to feel we have understood and managed their care appropriately.

Kind regards – Steve Sykes

Advice and Complaints Team

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