"Horrified by the way we have been treated"

About: Barnet General Hospital

(as a parent/guardian),

We have been detained in the A&E waiting room since 10. 30pm. There are 22 patients including a child under 10 years old, a baby and pregnant woman. We have no information from staff despite several people asking why we can't leave if we can't be treated. People are anxious to know if we are exposed to some risk as all the doors leading to and fro the waiting have been taped off as if it was a crime scene. Apparently some information is awaited from a specialist. It is now 1. 30 am and after much demanding for an explanation by anxious patients, we are now being told that we may be at risk of contamination from a hazardous chemical, and we may need to be decontaminated. When patients asked to be allowed to leave the hospital they were told they will be commiting a criminal offence and may be arrested. I am horrified by the way we have been treated at Barnet hospital. I will be sending a formal complaint. The Trust needs to review their incident management procedure and be transparent about communicating sensitive information to patients in a considerate manner. It is bad enough coming to A&E when you are unwell but to be subjected to this kind of experience makes matters much worse. I certainly won't be recommending Barnet Hospital to my family and friends. It is now almost 2 am and we are told we are free to leave having waited 6 hours in A&E without treatment.

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Response from Digital Communications, Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust

Thank you for your review and we’re sorry to hear about your experience at Barnet Hospital over the weekend. We have robust incident management procedures however on this occasion we were extremely busy with a number of emergency cases and we are aware that we were unable to update patients as well as we would have liked to. We will be reviewing our procedures with a view to ensuring that the service we provide in circumstances such as this weekend are improved in the future. We would also like to talk to you further so that we can better understand what happened and we would be grateful if you could email rf.communications@nhs.net so that we can put you in touch with the relevant person. Many thanks again for letting us know.

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