"A claim to be responsive when it is not."

About: Colchester General Hospital

What I liked

The actual medical treatment was good to very good.

The actual wait for the start of the treatment seems acceptable but actual treatment duration is very protracted and there can be long breaks in treatment from one stage to the next.

What could be improved

Responsiveness by staff must actually be implimented in A&E rather than it being just a slogan on a poster campaign in the hospital. Don't claim to be responsive before you are responsive. Get real and instead have slogans such as "we are striving to be responsive to your needs" or "we aim to beome more responsive to your needs" or even "trying to be much more responsive to you". At the moment their slogan reads, "we are responsive". No you are not!

Patients could be assessed for their basic personal needs. Good and very good medical treatment is spoiled by forgetfulness, lack of response to needs, etc.

Triage should be done on an individual basis too. A blanket priority for children over all others neglects the very real needs of the elderly or even an adult distressed by a catalogue of events and delays which a child might not have.

The treatment area in A&E is cramped and crowded. It needs to be restructured.

People should be allowed to ask for help and not feel like a burden whether they seek help for themself or for another.

Anything else?

The whole experience in Colchester A&E was spoiled by staff being non responsive to patient needs. In my case my elderly mother needed the use of a commode and it was very difficult to get because of staff numbers. When she needed to go to the toilet, she needed to go fast. Staff did not consider her personal situation. Each situation is individual. It is very frustrating having to ask again and again for the same thing. And it was distressing for my ill mother.

When on another occasion mum was even less mobile, my requests for a bed pan for her was heard and given assurance it would come but most often that assurance was not met with any action unless I repeated the same request. Waits for a bed pan on one occasion took well over an hour, on another occasion over half an hour. Did they forget? But it happened so often I was left wondering if the promises were just empty.

There were no regular checks on mum and I had to go and find staff to ask for bed pans and for information despite a poster campaign around the hospital stressing / advertising about staff being responsive to patient needs. The campaign, obviously a new one, said "we are responsive" - really!!!! I don't think so from my experience with my mother.

When ambulance transport is required to get to the hospital it can be a lot time to wait for both inbound and outbound journeys. This can add hours to both ends of an already lengthy period in A&E. You can wait up to 4 hours for an ambulance and you don't know how long it will be because your priority might change with events, etc.

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Response from Colchester General Hospital

Many thanks for your comments and taking the time to submit them. We try really hard to improve our services based on the comments we receive. A&E: next capital project Our next capital project after gbuidling the new £25m radiotherapy centre is to reconfigure the A&E Department, reinvesting part of the Trust’s financial surplus. Deputy Chief Executive Sue Barnett has been working with the A&E Team on a plan to expand the department into a courtyard between A&E and X-ray. This will allow the Trust to bring the paediatric area into the main body of the department, double the size of the resuscitation area and almost double the size of the major injuries area. Work will start this summer for completion in time for winter.

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