"Underwhelming experience at William Harvey A&E"

About: William Harvey Hospital / Gynaecology

(as the patient),

Before today I have always had very positive,outstanding experiences with NHS units in various parts of the country.I can without hesitation name Trafford General Hospital, St Marys Hospital,Whithington Community Hospital (Manchester) and Southend on sea hospital,as sterling examples of very positive dignified and respectful experiences I have had in the past. Apologies in advance as my account of events is long, but neccesary

Today after experiencing very excrutiating abdominal pains and bleeding from an early pregnancy,my fiance accompanied me to William Harvey A&E.I went with confidence and trust based on my prior NHS experiences and left so many hours later feeling very upset in addition to the already emmotional possibility of a miscarriage.

We experienced a confusing mixture of individuals, those clearly dedicated to their work and those who appeared to view patients as just a work load for the day. After a long wait in the waiting room (which we completely understood and expected as the NHS is overwhelmed at best) we were ushered in by a very abrupt nurse for the initial assessment. Their collegue who took my temperature and blood pressure on the other hand was very polite,empathetic and appeared to really care about our situation.

We were then ushered to another room where I was examined by a very polite doctor. He maintained our privacy and dignity by mantaining a low proffessional tone when discussing our case which unfortunately was not the same from other bays where we could clearly hear patients conditions and private information being discussed loudly.

My only dissatisfaction at this point was with health safety standards, where bits of my blood after spilling on to the examination bed from a blood test were not wiped off properly and later where the doctor used some plastic sleeve to stem the blood flow before finding an appropriate dressing after a 2nd blood test.

The gynae who later saw me was also very polite. My biggest dissapointment came right at the end of the day when she made me aware that the previous doctor had gone ahead to book some appointments for me in other depts without explaining to me what was going on and why I needed further assessment. With us already feeling upset about our situation, this made the whole experience frustrating and I felt as if no due consideration was taken in discussing the outcome of the initial tests done as well as the proposed treatment plan.

While again I fully understand the push for time and demand on their valuable skills, it is important for me as a competent, articulate adult to have my treatment fully explained rather than handed to me as a surprise at the end of a very long tedious wait. Because of this, despite the well meaning( I'm sure)advice to keep me overnight, I opted to go home where I felt safer and more in control. This is my first negative experience on the NHS, I have recently moved to the area and it has made me worry a lot about any future care I might require from this hospital and as such have seriously started looking at other private alternatives available.

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Response from Steven Hams, Deputy Chief Nurse and Head of Quality, East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust

Thank you for taking the time to feedback, I was disappointed to read about the experience you had recently in the Emergency Department at the William Harvey Hospital.

Our Emergency Department team work hard to provide care with compassion and kindness, on this occasion we not only let ourselves down but we also let you and your fiancé down – please accept my sincere apologies.

On the occasions when we don’t meet our normally high standards we try to learn from experiences so that we can improve the care for our future patients, if you would like to make a formal complaint you can do so by contacting our Patient Experience Team either by telephone 01227 783145 or via email at patientexperience@ekht.nhs.uk

In the meantime I will forward your comments to the Emergency Department Matron and ask that she make staff aware of your experience so that they can take immediate steps to improve.

Once again, thank you for providing us with your feedback.

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