"My experience as an emergency patient at East Surrey hospital"

About: East Surrey Hospital / Accident and emergency East Surrey Hospital / General surgery

(as the patient),

l called the ambulance after a day of severe stomach pain. My trip to East Surrey was efficient though bumpy. The check in experience was cumbersome, I had been with severe stomach pains all day and what I needed most was some relief from the pain. It was to be 2 hours before I got any medication.

Firstly, I had to check in and it was half hour before the check in lady was free, once checked in I had to continue to be stacked in the corridor waiting my turn to get into hospital. After another half hour I got in but there was no spare trolley and I had kept a 3 man ambulance team tied up only waiting for their trolley back, it was to be another half hour before they got their trolley back. That was 4.5 man hours wasted, waiting for a trolley.

Having got into Hospital I then explained my symptoms to a nurse and we ran through the medication I was on and had brought with me (I had a previous heart problem). I was then put into a holding room and the ambulance crew got their trolley back. During the next 2 hours I must have been visied by about 4 different nurses/sisters and I had to repeat my symptoms and medication over and over again. When a Doctor came, I of course had to repeat it all again and then, 3 hours after my arrival with intense stomach pains, I was finally given some pain relief medication.

After that, I was put into the resuscitation room as my blood pressure went haywire after a shot of morphine. I then had to repeat my symptons and medication again to the staff their. An our later was taken to the surgical assessment unit and again repeated my symptons and medication to the staff there. By this time it was 3am in the morning and I had arrived at the Hospital at 7.30pm.

I had surgery the next morning at 10.30pm and was then transferred to a ward. The ward staff seemed to have no knowledge of what operation I had had nor what my problem was, nor what medication I was on, they were only told that I was to have a pain killer drip and liquid antibiotic drip, so I had to explain my symptons and medication once again.

After my operation, I was awake at about 1pm and had to wait until the following day at 10.30am to see the Doctor to find out whether was ok or not. My view is that this is far too long to let an anxious patient know the result of their Op.

I commend all the staff involved but question the process, especially having to repeat ones symptoms and medication over and over again. Is it not too much to expect that this is typed up at the very beginning and added to as the patient passes along and can be read by anyone on a computer, even easier in this day an age, spoken into a recorder which stays with the patients bed all through his journey.

Then there is the Ambulance crew waste of time and last but not least the amount of time it takes to get relief from symptoms from admission, this is far too long.

Oh, one last point, an enormous resource is devoted to taking everyones temperature, blood pressure and pulse every 2 hours, of course this must be necessary at certain times but surely not all the time.

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Response from Fionnula Robinson, Director of Communications, Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust

Thank you for taking the time to comment about your experience at East Surrey Hospital which has been fed back to the Emergency Department and surgical assessment unit.

We really appreciate the time ambulance crews spend with patients whilst waiting to hand over to our staff. Obviously, the time that this takes does depend on how busy the department is and we have been working closely with the ambulance service to improve hand over times so that ambulances are not delayed getting back on the road. Our compliance is now amongst the best in the southeast and we now have very few ambulance delays.

If you would like to discuss, add or expand on anything mentioned above our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) is available to listen to concerns, suggestions or queries and can help sort out problems quickly on your behalf. You can contact PALS by telephone on 01737 231958, email: pals@sash.nhs.uk, or by writing to: PALS, East Surrey Hospital, Canada Avenue, Redhill, Surrey RH1 5RH.

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