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"Nothing"

About: Airedale General Hospital

What I liked

Nothing

What could be improved

The only person involved in the entire process at A&E whose first language is English, was the "NHS Direct" nurse, and the receptionist in the A&E department, who seemingly was as frustrated as the patients.

I couldn't get an appointment at my doctor's for another two days, and as I had sustained a pretty severe head injury a couple of days before, and was suffering symptoms of brain trauma, I was very concerned so I called NHS Direct. After listing my symptoms, they advised me to go straight to A&E.

After registering with the receptionist, I was asked to attend triage, where I was dealt with by a member of staff - English was his second language. I explained that I had spoken to NHS Direct and they had advised me to come directly to A&E.

I tried to explain what my symptoms were, which was quite a lengthy list, but he seemed to have trouble understanding, and made very little notes.

I was then asked to wait in the waiting room. Shortly afterwards, I was asked to go through to a cubicle to see the Doctor. On entering the cubicle, there was a very, very tired looking doctor, sprawled on a chair, and a student nurse. For both, English is their second language - and their primary language is different to that of the triage nurse.

This is where it became apparent that communication is a big issue in this department. The triage nurse's interpretation of my symptoms beared no resemblance to what I had told him, and so the Doctor made assumptions about my health based on his watered-down notes.

The Doctor then had trouble understanding my husband, who also uses English as his second language - but again, a different primary language to the triage nurse, doctor, and student nurse.

It was like a comedy of errors. The Doctor was not interested in listening to my symptoms, and dismissed me. She handed me a head injury advice sheet, which literally spelled out all of the symptoms I was having, which advises you to go straight to A&E.

Anything else?

I questioned the Doctor's opinion, and explained that at least 6 of the symptoms I was experiencing were written in black and white on the advice sheet - which says to immediately visit A&E.

However, apparently I am mistaken, as although it doesn't actually say it, the sheet doesn't mean if you have symptoms, it means if you have any symptoms that are so severe you cannot function - as in, "confusion where I don't know who I am."

If I were that confused, I wouldn't be reading the stupid (and clearly pointless) sheet now, would I??!?!

It is very clear to me, that the staff working in the A&E department do not have a sufficient knowledge of the English language to be able to communicate effectively, not only with each other, but with the patients of the department.

They are literally lost in translation - it's like chinese whispers - they lose so much information from one staff member to the next that what comes out of the other end is nothing like what was actually started!

Story from nhs.uk