"What a wonderful experience"

About: Queen Elizabeth Hospital (Gateshead)

Anything else?

My wife has Schmorl's nodes and has suffered back pain for around ten years. The pain is managed most of the time with medication but once in a while the intensity of the pain renders her medication ineffective. In those times the pain travels to her legs and she get numbness and pins and needles in her feet. Last night was one of those times and I knew I had to bring her to A & E. Upon arrival at the desk we were greeted by the receptionist who took details - she was pleasant and smiley and told us to sit and wait for triage. She needn't have bothered as we were called immediately - we sat, literally for 3 seconds before triage. The triage nurse was so helpful and compassionate, she listened, discovered the symptoms and extent of pain and offered my wife painkillers to tide her over the 45 minutes she said we'd wait for the doctor. Now back in the seating area, we sat for ten minutes and decided to buy a coffee. I never had my coffee as the doctor called us. We waited for the doctor for 15 minutes, not 45. The doctor examined my wife and went through options of pain relief they were allowed to dispense. He explained that since the pharmacy closed at 6 pm and the prescription he was giving could only be dispensed at the hospital pharmacy we would need to wait until the morning - this was rather depressing and worrying for my wife because when the pain is intense like last night she simply cannot sleep. My wife and I insisted to the doctor that there must be another option. Indeed, my wife would rather gouge out her own eyeballs than endure not only the pain but a sleepless night. The doctor listened whilst we explained Schmorl's nodes (he didn't know what they were) and the full history of treatments my wife had received over the year and he reassured us that he would try and help and said he had to go see a superior doctor. After 5 minutes he returned and said a nurse would bring some medication that will help her muscles relax - the medication also would have a sedative effect and should help her sleep. The nurse arrived with a box containing a small quantity of tablets to last until the Monday when my wife has a GP appointment. All in all I was utterly shocked at the experience at Gateshead's A & E. Having been into the same A & E a few times in the past the thought of going was more akin to a nightmare but the reality of our experience this time around was a dream. Our experience was a shining example of how an A & E department should work and the staff were all very professional, very sympathetic and very helpful. If only all NHS staff were like this. If all NHS departments were as efficient as the QE's A & E department was last night then there would be no Francis report and no system failures. If only. Thank you to all the staff at the QE's A & E department who were involved in my wife's care last night. We cant thank you enough.

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Responses

Response from Queen Elizabeth Hospital

Thank you for your kind feedback, it really is very much appreciated. Our teams strive hard to deliver a quality service and we are continually working toward making the patient experience as smooth and seamless as we can. I will feed this back to the teams involved. Darren Makepeace, Modern Matron, A&E

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