"Innocent victim of random assault - Part 2 of the..."

About: Kettering General Hospital

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My son was taken to KGH A&E following an unprovoked attack which left him unconscious. Details of his treatment are described in my review entitled "Innocent victim of random assault". On his discharge from KGH A&E, the doctor advised him that his eye needed looking at and that he should go to Northampton General Hospital either later in the day or the following day, Monday 15th July, as KGH did not have the appropriate facilities/equipment to investigate properly. Much of the remainder of Sunday was taken up with police interviews and late on Sunday afternoon my son, who was not feeling very well, decided that he needed a good nights sleep and would travel over to Northampton from Corby the next day. He arrived at the eye clinic at 10.15am and was told immediately that he should have been dealt with at KGH as it has exactly the same facilities/equipment as KGH. He was also told that KGH should have provided him with a doctor's letter and made an appointment for him. It was made very clear that he should not be taking up a space in the Northampton clinic and that he should have been dealt with at his own local hospital, KGH. Although he has no proof to substantiate this, he believes that he was put at the bottom of the clinic's priority list. At 11.30 he was seen by the nurse who tested his vision, the pressure of his eye and instilled eye drops to dilate his pupil. He waited until 2.15pm whilst patients who had come into the clinic after him received treatment and left, to ask when he was likely to see the doctor. He was told that there was at least another hour and a half wait. This meant that he would have to wait five and a half hours to see the doctor. He told the receptionist that he could not wait that long as he had to collect his young daughter from school and that there was no one else available to do this. At 2.30pm, my son had to leave NGH so that he would be at school for home time, after a wait of four and a quarter hours and no treatment. This means that he has spent a total of ten and a half hours waiting in hospital waiting rooms over the last 2 days and he has still not had his eye looked at. It is unfortunate that he could not wait to be seen at NGH, but he had no alternative but to leave. What he does not understand is why he was treated so badly by the A&E department at KGH. Not only was he given mis-information by the doctor who saw him at KGH ( that KGH does not have the facilities/equipment to investigate the damage to his eye when it does) but he was also not given the necessary letter/appointment to take to NGH. There is no possibility that he misunderstood the doctor at KGH as there were 2 other people in the room who heard what was said. So after 2 days of trying to have his damaged eye checked, he is no nearer seeing a doctor. He considers that KGH is entirely responsible for this lack of care. In the meantime, where does he go to have his eye checked? And will an apology be forthcoming?

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Response from Kettering General Hospital

We have now had the opportunity to review you comments left on NHS choices on 14 July. Firstly, I would like to apologise for your son’s experience, on 14 July 2013 and I am sorry your son waited such a long time for a CT scan to be conducted. However, it was necessary this was carried out due to the nature of his injury and the reported loss of consciousness following the assault. It was important to ensure an ophthalmological review was undertaken for your son, to ensure no injury has been missed. Unfortunately, Kettering General Hospital does not operate an out of hours eye service and all patients who require an urgent review need to be directed to Northampton, as it was thought necessary to manage your son’s injury appropriately. We have reviewed your comments around the nursing care for your son and apologise he was not given a hospital gown sooner, to protect his privacy and dignity. I take on board your comments about communication and working relationships within the department, we are currently exploring the possibility of conducting some team building exercises and human factors training, I hope this will help the nursing and medical teams work as one, to ensure good patient care and treatment is maintained at all times within the department If you would like to discuss any of the issues in my response further or would like the opportunity to meet with a member of the Emergency Department staff please contact our Patient Advise and Liaison Service on 01536 493306 , who will be happy to help you in the first instance.

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