"Long wait at A&E for head injury elderly lady..."

About: Queen Alexandra Hospital

On 10th June 2016 whilst on holiday in the area my Wife fell down a flight of 7 steps and sustained injuries to her right temple and face, her left hand and wrist when she struck the road surface.

Details of the nearest hospital were obtained from the hotel receptionist, who also suggested she call an ambulance. Unfortunately we declined her offer deciding to drive to Queen Alexandra's Hospital to avoid "wasting" ambulance staff's time. I deeply regret that decision as had we done so I am sure my wife would have had much speedier attention.

We arrived at A&E at 20.04 receiving ticket no 180 from the machine at the entry. A relatively short wait (approx 15 minutes) and we were seen by the receptionist.

We stressed the head and facial injury and also the hand injury (my wife is 75 years young) and were told that we should expect a long wait. I queried this because of the head injury but was told we would be seen in our turn and nobody could jump the queue.

So we sat in the crowded reception area whilst various people were called in for attention,and at least 3 patients were brought in by ambulance and taken through to the examination area. After 3 hours we were called to see the Triage Nurse, who was clearly not enjoying their Saturday night duty. My wife was briefly examined, given a badly fitted sling and 2 paracetamol tablets. We then returned to the waiting area. Some 2 hours later she was seen by a nurse practitioner for a full examination who apologised profusely for the delay. Having checked and examined my wife they arranged for X-ray of her wrist but could only check her eye reactions for the head injury as X-rays were not suitable and a scan would be needed to completely check if any damage was caused. The x-ray showed no fracture in the wrist and the already apparent swelling was diagnosed as bruising.

We arrived back at our hotel room at 230 am on 11/06/16.

No doubt we were lucky that no serious injury was sustained but we do not think sufficient attention to the head injury to an OAP was treated at all seriously. Had we accepted the advice to call an ambulance my wife would have been seen much quicker.


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Response from Debra Johns, Patient Experience Officer, Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust

Dear Doug I am so sorry to hear of the circumstances you describe and for the added distress your experiences caused to both you and your wife. Please be assured that your comments will be shared with the area concerned.

If you would like to discuss this situation with a senior member of staff, please contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) at PHT.Pals@porthosp.nhs.uk or via the free phone on 0800 9176039 and give them your details and they will be more than happy to help you.

Kind regards.


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