"A poor experience of A+E"

About: NHS Direct NHS Trust Prince Charles Hospital Site / Accident and emergency

(as the patient),

When I broke my toe this week, initially I didn't think I needed to go to hospital and was perfectly happy to strap it up and wait for it to heal on its own. However, after calling NHS Direct I was advised that because of the location of of the injury (near the joint between the toe and the foot) I should get it checked out at A+E just to be sure.

This was a Saturday afternoon, so I knew I would be in for quite a wait. However, I wasn't expecting a 6. 5 hour wait!

The wait was the least of my problems however. My foot was too painful to walk on, and yet I was offered no help at all in getting around the hospital, despite telling several staff members that I was having difficulty. I was left to hop down the *long* corridors multiple times (much to my embarrassment) despite the fact that there were several wheelchairs available for use (including one that was given to a woman with a broken nose!).

When I was finally seen, the triage nurse was extremely rude and dismissive, scolding me like a small child because I hadn't had the chance yet to take any painkillers and barking at me to walk by putting my weight on my heel (which I couldn't do because it hurt too much to lift my toes up).

Later, after I'd been given painkillers and an X-ray and it was confirmed that I did have a fracture, I asked about whether I could borrow a set of crutches to help me walk, as the only way I could get to work was by walking to the station. The nurse piped up again, saying "You should be able to walk on a broken toe. I did when I broke mine!"

Now, I don't doubt that it is possible to walk short distances on a broken toe, depending on the person/the type of fracture etc., but as I had already told her that I could not stand on it, and that I had to walk quite some distance to get to work everyday, for her to turn around and say this made me feel like a wimp or some sort of malingerer. Surely she didn't think I'd been hopping up and down the corridor for the fun of it? Her attitude throughout was dismissive and very upsetting. I have been to A+E a handful of times in my life in various locations, but this was my first time attending at Prince Charles Hospital, and I have never been made to feel so worthless and feeble for seeking medical help. Needless to say, I would rather chew my foot off than go there again.

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Response from Caron Brittain, National Clinical Governance Manager, NHS Direct

Dear Sir/Madam

Many thanks for taking the time to provide us with your feedback.

I understand that your feedback relates to the Prince Charles Hospital, accident & emergency department.

However if you have any concerns about your call to NHS Direct we will be happy to investigate this further. To do so, please can you provide the following details to us via the confidential ‘Contact Us’ facility at www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk. We need your name/address including postcode, date of birth and the telephone number you called us from.

Please do not provide these details via the Patient Opinion site as they will then be in the public domain. Once we are in receipt of these details we can arrange for one of our Investigators to contact you further.

Yours sincerely

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Update posted by AlextheFly (the patient)

Dear Caron,

The bad experience I had was only in relation to Prince Charles Hospital and not NHS Direct. On the contrary, both the people I spoke with at NHS Direct were helpful, polite, patient and informative when dealing with my query. I would like to thank NHS Direct for their kind attention and assistance.

Kind regards

Response from Madeleine Brindley, Head of Communications, Cwm Taf NHS Trust

Dear AlextheFly

We are very sorry your experience of the emergency care centre at Prince Charles Hospital was so poor when you needed help recently. Such an experience is unacceptable to us. We would be happy to investigate further and would like to work with you to ensure this does not happen again. If you would like to contact us we can start that work. You can email me directly at madeleine.brindley@wales.nhs.uk.

Many thanks


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