"Royal Gwent Hospital Patient Treatment/Care"

About: Royal Gwent Hospital / Accident & Emergency

(as a relative),

I have just returned home from collecting my fiance from the Royal Gwent Hospital in Newport, South Wales.

She suffers from Bi-Polar, for those who dont know, this is a serious mental illness, that can bring on extremley serious bouts of depression, which can often lead to suicidal tendancies. She has been on various anti depressants to control the illness, and has been waiting to see a Pyschiatrist since last November.

Last night she made an attempt on her life, by overdosing on a cocktail of anti depressants, pain killers and whisky. After phoning 999 and giving them the drugs names and approximate quantities, the ambulance finaly arrived nearly 40 minutes later! I should point out, we live a mere 10 minutes from the Royal Gwent, however I was expecting the ambulance to arrive in less time than that, and was under the impression that she would be in medical hands sooner by using the 999 service.

Approximatley an hour after the 999 call was placed, the ambulance arrived at The Royal Gwent. I drove myself in the car, and arrived 10 minutes BEFORE the ambulance. By now it was midnight. The paramedic crew then led us into the A&E waiting corridor, where we joing a queue of numerous beds, trolleys and wheelchairs. Having never been to hospital in an ambulance, or accompanied anyone in an ambulance, I had been under the impression that ambulance arrivals always saw the Triage nurse immediatley upon arrival. Obviously not, or atleast in the case of The Royal Gwent, weather this is the same with all hospital's I have no idea. Upon speaking to my partner it became evident that no medical care had been administered in the ambulance. At the time, I took this as a good sign, as they must of been under the impression that she had not taken enough medicine to do serious damage.

After waiting in the corridor for about 30 minutes, we were seen. Temperature, and pulse rate was taken, as was an ECG. At this point I was asked to wait in the waiting area and was told my fiance would be shown where I was after the ECG. So an hour and a half after a 999 call was placed for an overdose, the overdoseee was having there pulse taken. And nothing else!

Around 10 minutes later my fiance joined me in the waiting area. I asked her what they had done, and was told about the ECG, and that she didnt know what was happen, as she had just been told to wait. So we waited. And waited. And waited. And waited. It became evident that my belief that she had not consumed enough to any serious physical damage was correct, as no treatment had been given, so we started to believe that we would be sent home soon.

At 02:30, after being left in the waiting area for nealy 1 3/4 hours with no communication and no idea what was going on, we decided to go and find a nurse to find out what was happening. At this point they decided to take her blood, and I was asked to go wait in the waiting area again. Weather or not they were about to call her, or weather they only took her blood then because we had gone to find them is unclear, however I am inclined to believe the latter. When she returned, my partner told me that they had taken blood, and she waiting to see the doctor, and there was one person ahead of her in the list. By the time the doctor called her it was around 3am. It had taken FOUR HOURS from the initial 999 call to be seen by a doctor and recieve anything resembling medical treatment, other than tests a GP can perform, or even a semi competant person could perform at home with the right equipment, which is readily available to buy.

The doctor however did not provide any treatment. I should point out that my partner had taken an overdose a few years previously, and NONE of the things that were done to her on the first occasion, were done last night. This of course cemented our belief that the quantites taken were not life threatening, and we would be sent home at some point. After seeing the doctor, who gave no treatment, but merley spoke to her, my partner informed me that he was going to speak to the Pyschiatrist, and then wait for the blood test results before taking any further action, and we were to wait in the waiting area, again. By 3:30 in the morning, after sitting round in the hospital doing nothing, and having very little done my fiance was beginning to get fed up and bored and wanting to go home. After another 15 minutes of waiting, and 45 minutes after last seeing the doctor and an hour and a quater after her blood tests, again we went looking for the nurses for some information as to what was happening, and we were told to return to the waiting area to wait. At this point my fiance decided that all she wanted to do was go home to bed. I was reluctant to agree and suggested she would be better waiting in hospital until she was given the all clear, but after assureing me she felt ok and promising to phone the doctor to make an appointment first thing in the morning I agreed, so off we went to find someone to tell them we were off home. It was at this point we were told she could not self discharge. Although they were powerless to physicaly stop us leaving, should we do so, they were legally obligied to phone the police, who would then come to our home and arrest her under the mental health act. Naturaly we sat back down. A short while later, merely 5 minutes, my fiance was called. She was told that she was being kept in and they were finding a bed for her. It had taken them nearly four hours to decide to keep her in, so the Pyschiatrist could speak to her in the morning. I told her I would wait until they found her a bed before going home. She told me that they couldnt find me a bed so they were going to give her one in A&E. As I could see atleast 2 empty beds from where we were sitting I thought this was immeninant so left her and went home to bed, as I had an interview at 10am the following day, less than 6 hours time. My girlfriend assured me she would phone me as soon as she had any news in the morning.

After my interview I phoned the hospital for news as to what was happening. After speaking to 2 different departments who both told me at first that she was no longer with them, and then she had never been with them, I was put through to A&E. They informed me that she had gone home at 9:45. I told them we lived together, and she wasnt home and I was due to pick her up myself. We had forgotten to pick up her mobile when she went in the ambulance, and as such I couldnt phone her directly. I was told by the person on the other end of the line that she would find out and put me on hold. After being on hold for 20 minutes I logged on to Facebook and recieved a message from my fiances brother, telling me she needed picking up from the hospital. This had been sent at 11am, 1 1/4 hours after the she had apparently gone home. I hung up the phone and drove to the hospital, planning to go to reception to being the hunt, as I had no idea where in the hospital she required picking up from.

My fiance was waiting for me by the gate, where she had been since 9:30am. Some two hours. I asked what had happened and what had been said. She told me she wasnt given a bed, and had to wait in the waiting area, on hard plastic seats. Yet again, she had gone to find the nurses to get something done. I had left her at 4am, and at 8am after a mere half hour sleep, no-one had spoken to her or informed her what was happening. At 8am she was told she would get breakfast soon and then the Pyschiatrist would see her. She got no breakfast, but she was seen by the Pyschiatrist at around 9am.

Having been kept in hospital against her will overnight I would of expected a full 20-30 minute consultation, possibly a prescription and an appointment for a follow interview. What actualy happened was very little. The conversation was around 15 minutes, and the result was my fiance being given the phone number for "Mind" the mental health charity, and told to phone them, see if she can get any help from them, and that her GP would be informed. With that she was told she could go home. Only she couldnt get home. After being told she couldnt get hospital transport home and would have to find her own way home she tried phoning me, but couldnt remember my number. She then phoned her dad, who lives in Taunton, and asked him to phone me, but he dosent have my number. She was left potentialy stranded. The only good thing The Royal Gwent did all night was to allow her to use there phone to try and get a lift home. After this they allowed her to go outside on her own with out any knowledge of how she was getting home.

This in itself I find wholley irresponsible. We have a person with history of mental illness, on a waiting list to see a Pyschiatrist being allowed to wander off on her own less than 12 hours after a 2nd suicide attempt in 4 years after recieving little to no treatment.

In my view the way my fiance was uncared for and unlooked after and untreated is disgusting. There was no information passed along to us, and the only time she was seen in any way was when we went looking and pestered ourselves. Basicaly they didnt seem to care one jot, and rather than viewing my partner as someone who needed help, if not medical than mental, I feel that she was treated as an insignificance. No respect. No Information. No Care.

If my partner ever needs any kind of medical treatment again, I wont be bothering with 999 and risk being taken to the Royal Gwent again, I'll take my chances and drive her to The University of Wales Hospital Heath in cardiff myself.

Words can not fully truly or accuratley describe my disgust with the Royal Gwent Hospital. I feel that calling it a Hospital in the first place is laughable enough.

Disgusted, absolutely disgusted!

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