"Forgotten at A&E"

About: King's College Hospital (Denmark Hill) / Nephrology

(as the patient),

I recently made a trip to Kings Hospital in Camberwell, London due to what was thought could be kidney stones and after a few days of the pain I wanted to find out what exactly was going on.

I saw a nurse at reception rather quickly and I then waited probably about 10 or 15 minutes before I then went into the ward. This is when I began to be incredibly disappointed.

I was put on a bed and was attended by a young friendly doctor. I had to ask him several times to repeat himself as his accent was quite thick and it was not helped by the fact that he was chewing gum the whole time he dealt with me. Surely this is unprofessional, in any service capacity, let alone one where you are dealing with sick people.

I was examined and told I'd need an X ray and a scan. I kept being left for about 10 minutes at a time, which I was initially fine with, hospitals are busy and my case was not as serious as others.

I was taken for an X ray. I then had to make my own way back.

Once back in my cubicle my gum chewing doctor came back to take some blood. He did this quickly. He did actually spill some of my blood on a counter. (It was still there when I left about two hours later).

He then injected me with the dye that would show up on a scan. He told me to lie down for 20 minutes and then I would be taken for the scan. He also informed me that his shift was now over and that another doctor would take over. Fine.

About one hour later I was still sitting on the bed. My cubicle was directly opposite the nurses station. The curtains were open and I noticed that, even though all the nurses and doctors had changed shifts, no one had actually done rounds of the beds to catch up with what had been going on before they came to work. Surely that is standard procedure?

I walked over to the nurses and asked what was going on. I told them I'd had this dye injected about one hour before and surely i needed a scan before it wore off.

The simple reply of the nurse i spoke to was, "I don't actually work on this ward, you're going to have to wait until someone in a white top comes along and then you can ask them."

Ok, so the four or so nurses and two doctors behind you are not working here and can do nothing i suppose. Looking back now, I really wish I had said that. She totally fobbed me off. I'm standing there, with a horrible drip thing in my arm, in a night gown, the ward is silent with about two other patients in and this nurse can't be bothered to relay my question to the people who are actually working on the ward.

Stupidly though, I just said oh ok. So, about ten minutes later when a white shirted man came along, I asked him. I think he was one of those health care assistants. He, of course, was clueless and went to ask a young woman doctor, probably not much older than me. She said something to him. He repeated to me some inane questions. Again, I wish i had been more forthright and asked the young doctor to speak with me herself, I was standing a mere three feet away.

After some conferring amongst the doctors and nurses I was taken for another X ray! In total i had three, there was no scan, unless they do them with the same machine.

After about three hours of sitting there, some of the time in pain, watching nurses talk about hair and trainers, throw coins around and generally look pretty grubby and not once come and check on patients, I was angry. I was put into CDU, where because I kept asking for a doctor to see me, I eventually got home in about 4 hrs 30 mins. So not bad for the NHS target but, quite frankly, it could have been a whole lot faster, if someone had actually paid attention to the patients.

I'm lucky enough to rarely have to set foot in a hospital and I feel deeply sorry for those who do. I wouldn't want to tar all NHS staff with the same brush and I believe that in the worst cases they do perform well. But I found this place quite skanky and the staff who cared for me slovenly.

I truly hope that was my last ever visit.

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