"Wasted time impacted his recovery"

About: Gartnavel General Hospital / General Surgery Queen Elizabeth University Hospital Glasgow / Bones, joint and fractures Scottish Ambulance Service / Emergency Ambulance Western Infirmary/Gartnavel General

(as a relative),

I only discovered this page recently and it seems a safe place to share my experience. I have no medical background. I know very little about illnesses etc but when my dad became dramatically unwell in the summer of 2014 we both struggled to cope. Primarily because it was just the two of us I was still a student and we had no clue how this would affect his life or future. On the first day of being brought into the hospital it took 2 ambulances to come out. The first was very awkward one driver keen to help my dad anyway he could, the other very dry and unhelpful and seemed very unempathetic. They refused to take my dad and told us to call again for a 'bariatric' ambulance. Quite a while later they arrived and were very compassionate and helpful but frustrated that they were to come out. They weren't any stronger and said that although borderline my dad could easily have gone with the original paramedics. My dad couldn't walk he had an unidentified stroke and the wasted time impacted his recovery.

Jump forward to the Christmas of 2015 a genuine mistake made by a lovely and apologetic Clarkess meant my dad was transferred to a different hospital which wasn't expecting him. Bed managers and staff worked hard to find him a bed as he was unsafe to go home. Nursing staff didn't know him and he had to stay in the receiving unit of the Western just before it closed as there was no where else for him. I received a phone call from him one evening crying and distressed because a nurse had treated him badly. I drove straight over, on my arrival the nurse was clearly flustered and seemed to have dad pegged as someone who was 'at it' needing help with personal care and toileting issues. (Pulling at his weak side arm after an operation to his neck to make him hold a bottle himself-something -he embarrassed- by could not do) the following day he was transferred to another ward and within the day transferred to another hospital. During the transfer to a different hospital the paramedics arrived and asked my dad to transfer-the reason he was going to another hospital and not home was because he couldn't transfer- I told the paramedics I would help him as they didn't know what he needed. A paramedic then told me in a loud manner that I was to step out the room let them do their job or they would report me. I was very emotional and the nurse sat with me to help me compose myself as it was clearly distressing for others to see how distressed I was.

I can only imagine how difficult it is for paramedics and staff in receiving units to not make assumptions they know the person even although they only have brief encounters with people. But there were a number of occasions during that time that those assumptions were damaging, emotionally, personally and physically to my dad. I still feel anxious at the thought I may have phone for a paramedic again.


Response from Sharon Hammell, Head of Corporate Affairs and Engagement, Scottish Ambulance Service

Dear Rrev

thank you for sharing your dad's and your own experience of care from the Scottish Ambulance Service. I'd really like to talk to you about some of the feedback you have provided and to reassure you about calling 999 if you or your dad need emergency assistance.

I hope you will call me. My number is 0131 314 0065.

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Response from Sharon Hammell, Head of Corporate Affairs and Engagement, Scottish Ambulance Service

Dear Rrev

I'm sorry you found my response unhelpful. I appreciate you may not want to contact me directly about the experiences you described above. Please let me know via Patient Opinion if there is anything I can do to make you feel more comfortable should you need to call 999 again.

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Response from Nicole McInally, Patient Experience and Public Involvement Team, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde


Your concern for your Dad is clear from your posting and I know how distressing it can be for relatives when a loved one is in hospital.

I am sorry to read about your Dad’s experience within our hospitals and can you please pass on my apologies to your Dad. I am disappointed to read that our staff made assumptions about your father which were emotionally and physically damaging. We aim to treat all our patients with care and compassion whilst maintaining their dignity and I am sorry that this was not what your Dad experienced.

Please be assured that all of the feedback we receive through Patient Opinion is recorded and reviewed to help us make improvements to our services, therefore your comments will always be taken on board.

Kind Regards


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