"Great doctors - poor reception and staff"

Anything else?

I visited the A&E in the evening due to a sudden severe chest pain that made it difficult for me to breath and even sit straight.

When I went to the reception to tell that I am here for severe chest pain, I was shockingly told "You look perfectly normal to me. " When I said that I cannot breath normally and only doing so with my mouth and not nose, I was again told "you look perfect and dont seem to have any pain but I will just register".

I was surprised at how a medically unqualified staff was making a judgement on my condition and thinking I neednt be in A&E.

I was waiting for more than 3 hours without any doctor seeing me. When I went back to reception to ask how long will it be further before I can be seen, I was asked by another member of staff "if I have ever been to an A&E" and that "3 hours wait is normal in A&E".

I was shocked again at the response. Finally I was seen by a doctor after 3.5 hours. The doctor was very professional and showed empathy. I was given very strong pain killers and other medications for the chest pain and explained the nature and cause of the pain in professional manner.

I was finally out of the hospital after 4 hours of which 3.5 hours were just spent waiting in the reception.

Overall I found all the doctors to be professional but the hospital is let down by the rude behavior of the reception and other supporting staff. I hope the management takes this feedback seriously.

Story from NHS Choices

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Response from Queen Elizabeth Hospital Woolwich

I am very sorry for your poor experience of staff in our A&E. I will pass your comments on to our senior management in the department, but as we will not be able to respond to you directly you may want to contact our PALs department who will be able to help you make a formal complaint if you wish. They can be contacted on Tel: 020 8836 4592 Email: pals.qeht@nhs.net

Unfortunately it is not unusual to wait for some time in A&E as it is extremely busy. We aim to see and treat all patients within four hours. Our staff triage patients as they come in. This means they make a judgement on the nature and severity of the condition patients attend with, to decide which medical personnel they need to be seen by and how urgent the condition is. This is undertaken by medically qualified nursing staff.