"All A&E and SAU Staff Encountered Were Excellent"

About: Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital

I have just got home after a long day which started with what I thought was an acute on chronic pancreatitis during the night. I've had several of these before but this was the first time I had to present to this hospital (previously always NTGH) so didn't know what to expect. I needn't have worried because every member of staff we encountered bar none were excellent all 14 of them directly (I counted!). The care I received in particular from the registrar in A&E and the HCA in SAU was exceptional. Both came across as genuinely concerned and interested in my condition and it was very refreshing for health care professionals to not assume immediately that the root cause is alcohol consumption! (If you have acute or chronic pancreatitis NOT caused by alcohol you will know what I mean I'm sure). Anyway, when we arrived the wait time showed 2 hours which was a bit strange as there were no one but us there (7.30am on a Sat) - and it duly was not 2 hours it was less than 10 minutes. When you are suffering from pancreatitis this is extremely important to you so that was fantastic. The triage nurse kept it short and sweet as soon as they realised I knew more about the condition than them and put me straight through to A&E treatment rooms. In less than 10 mins I'd had an ECG done, IV line put in, bloods taken and registrar had the drip up and came back shortly afterwards to administer blessed pain relief. I honestly could not believe the speed this happened at, in previous episodes at other hospitals it's ranged from lying on a trolley for 4 hours with nothing, to waiting hours even before the triage in agony when it's obvious you are in serious trouble. Anyway I digress, the point is it was very quick and impressive. When the bloods came back the registrar wasn't sure why my amylase was normal so instead of doubting my symptoms asked more probing questions to get to bottom of the cause of this episode and again speedily identified that steroids I'd recently taken courses of for a chest infection, had caused the chronic condition to flare up. The consultant corroborated this with a surgeon then sent me for an X Ray to make sure the chest was clear. Amazingly once again this was over in 10 mins. After that and with me being there not even 2 hours in total, they sent me up to surgical assessment unit to monitor me and have a chat with the surgeon. On the way up the porter recognised I was in extreme pain so warned me every time we were about to go over a bump. It's little things like this that you remember and make the difference. Following that the HCA on SAU was very reassuring and compassionate and let me bleat on about the whole sorry tale, the HCA was extremely nice. Only one downside - while I was being triaged my wife used the toilets in the A&E reception and said despite a cleaner having clearly just been in it, there was what appeared to be blood and dried blood on the seat. Other than that the staff and surroundings are second to none!

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Response from Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital

Dear P B Pringle,

Thank you for finding the time during your recovery to tell us about your experience at The Northumbria hospital – I do hope you’re feeling significantly better? It’s marvellous to know that all 14 of the staff you encountered treated you with the utmost respect and dignity. This is exactly the high level of care that we aim to provide to all of our patients.

It will be a pleasure to pass on your feedback to all on the team who played their part in giving you the best experience possible. I am especially pleased that you received the treatment you needed within 10 minutes, I can imagine it was of great relief to you to have been given painkillers as quickly as possible. Our porters will be absolutely delighted to know that they too did everything right for you, as you say, it's little things like this that you remember and make the difference.

The negative comments regarding the cleanliness of the toilets during the time of your visit are important for us to receive. Thank you very much for sharing them. We will make sure these are passed on to our domestic team, including the director of Estates and Facilities. We want to make sure we’re doing everything we can to ensure our hospitals are as immaculate as possible.

All the best for the rest of your recovery and should you need us again, our staff will be on-hand.


Annie Laverty – Director of Patient Experience