"Mixed experiences of care after collarbone fracture"
About: London Ambulance Service NHS Trust London Ambulance Service NHS Trust London SE1 8SD University Hospital Lewisham / Accident and emergency University Hospital Lewisham Accident and emergency London SE13 6LH University Hospital Lewisham / Trauma and orthopaedics University Hospital Lewisham Trauma and orthopaedics SE13 6LH
Posted by cinephile (as ),
In early July I came off my bicycle and fractured my collarbone in four places. I was taken to Lewisham A&E by wonderful, calm, upbeat and professional paramedics/ambulance crew.
My experience at Lewisham hospital in the week that followed was far more mixed and at times felt actively neglectful, the opposite of care.
The thing that struck me about Lewisham A&E was how little time nurses and healthcare professionals spent looking at their patients compared to how long they spent gazing at computer screens. I was there for four hours and I had time to observe closely. The systems - the whiteboard, the computer - seemed to take absolute precedence over patient care.
I waited too long for painkillers and sick with pain I had to repeatedly ask for water. I cannot forgive the nurse who rolled her eyes when responding to my worried partner's question as to the whereabouts of a water cooler and said: "I have no idea."
If I thought this was just one person acting in a way that was not typical of the department I would not be writing this. I watched staff horsing around, arranging their tea breaks and was shocked at the lack of attentive care for patients who were suffering.
I wish I could say that the experience at Lewisham improved after that but what followed in the coming days was equally distressing. Twice I was prepared for surgery which didn't take place. The second time I waited nil by mouth for six hours in underpants and hospital gown in a wretched waiting room at the Riverside Treatment Centre. No-one explained what was happening, no-one came to see how I was doing. Again the lack communication or basic consideration was shocking to me.
I am happy to say that since the operation, returning to the fracture clinic I have seen a different side to the hospital, warm, caring and efficient. I can only praise the staff who have dealt with me there. I only wish I hadn't had to go through the earlier experiences.