"Too busy to listen?"

About: Southampton General Hospital

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A few weeks ago my mother was admitted to A & E with a severe chest infection and breathing difficulties. After several tests etc, she was prescribed antibiotics but unfortunately these were not administered until a couple of days later. She was again admitted last week via A & E then to AMW 3. I appreciate that staff are under extreme pressure in both A & E and AMW but am very concerned that after phoning and waiting for a long time for the call to actually be answered I was asked to call back. This I did once, twice and three times being told exactly the same. "We are very busy and the nurse cannot speak to you at the moment please call again". I explained that I wanted to make sure my mother actually received any medication she had been prescribed because of the problem before and was told this could not be discussed over the phone and then was rudely disconnected. I find this unacceptable as my only form of contact at that time was via phone. As a concerned relative I feel your staff should be given more training and not just to put the phone down.

I appreciate your first priority is to the welfare of your patients and not relatives but I wanted to explain what had happened before, to avoid it happening again. Luckily my mother was moved to a ward where they were actually able to listen! My review is not about the standard of care received or the follow up care, but about the way my telephone call was dealt with in AMW 3. All other calls to A& E and the ward were dealt with extremely sympathetically and professionally.

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Response from Southampton General Hospital

Thank you for taking the time to provide us with your feedback about your experience. We were sorry to read of the difficulties you had trying to communicate with staff on the AMU by telephone and would like to apologise about the way that your telephone call was dealt with as it was not appropriate to cut you off. It was pleasing to note that when your mother was moved to one of the wards that you were listened to and dealt with professionally. Your feedback will be shared with the Matrons in the Emergency Department and the AMU for them to feed this information back to their staff and to learn from your feedback.

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