"Disgusting treatment"

About: The Tunbridge Wells Hospital / A&E and trauma unit

I took my friend to A&E yesterday as she was suffering a mental health crisis. The first nurse we saw was lovely. However we then saw a doctor, who didn't introduce themselves, who said that no one would come out to see her that night "because they're busy" so we'd have to wait overnight or go home. I politely raised the point to the doctor that the crisis team were unhelpful and asked what they suggested we do in this situation again because they don't seem to serve much of a purpose. When I asked this, they chose to basically shrug it off and get up and walk out. My friend became upset because they felt no one wanted to help and said she wanted to go home, so I said I'd take her home and stay with her and we'd talk to her mental health team in the morning. We went to inform the doctor of her decision and they were dismissive and seemingly completely uninterested in what we did and didn't show any concern for her safety or wellbeing. My friend became upset and this was in a reception area and people including nurses were beginning to stare, So I said to the doctor can we please have this conversation more privately? (Hoping if I could explain how she's feeling they may be able to convince her to stay, because I was concerned for her safety being discharged) I only wanted them to step around the corner and talk to us, but they looked at me as if I'd just asked them to help me cover up a crime and said "what?" So I repeated the question and they said "no, you're not the patient" the patient was stood next to me, but they refused to take the conversation somewhere a bit more private. So we left. I found this attitude absolutely disgusting and would've hoped they'd show a little more compassion. I understand, you're tired, you're overstretched and it's 4am. But try and at least act like you give two hoots about the patients welfare, otherwise it may all end really quite badly if someone going through mental health problems feels they have nowhere to turn.

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Response from The Tunbridge Wells Hospital

We were very disappointed to learn that you did not receive the expected standard of service when you attended the Emergency Department with your friend last year.

As you may know, the mental health services are provided by a different Trust, who provide support to our ED teams.

However, the behaviour you describe being shown by the doctor in the ED falls far below our values and we're very sorry for the lack of compassion you and your friend were shown.

If you would like to discuss your experience further, please contact us on 01892 632953 or email mtw-tr.palsoffice@nhs.net, where a member of staff will be happy to help.

With best wishes, The PALS Team.

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