"A & E. Five wasted hours and lack of..."

About: South Tyneside District Hospital

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I felt like I was a problem, like a badly behaved child, misled and disregarded. I was referred by my GP for acute abdominal pain with an appointment for 4-30 pm Friday 20 Sept. 4-15 arrived and by 4-40 had gone through Triage. Two very polite nurses told me that I would not have long to wait before seeing a doctor. The video screen told me the current waiting time was one hour. At 6-10 pm, one and a half hours later, I asked a nurse on the desk if there was a particular reason why a doctor had not seen me. She located my file - " you are a Referral, the waiting time doesn’t apply to you. A doctor from 'Surgical' has been called to see you.” waiting time unknown "they're very busy and may be in the middle of an operation. You were told all of this by your Triage nurse." I was told I would not have long to wait. I suggested if they were very busy, I could come back at a better time? “Take a seat, we will check to see how long.” 6-40 At the desk I asked if the doctor was available yet from surgical - “Your GP should have told you as a REFERRAL the waiting time for this is unknown, they're very busy". I thought I should have been advised by the Triage nurse??? “Take a seat.” At 7.00, I suggested to the first nurse that if they were still very busy I would leave and return another time - "you cannot go, they are on their way down to see you. Take a seat." At 7-30 I asked if they were still coming - “they are seeing another patient, you’re next. I had been waiting three hours for the doctor from surgical and now they see someone else? – "they have been waiting four hours, take a seat". At 7-55 I was called in by a doctor I had seen walking around the department since I arrived over three hours ago. I asked if she was the doctor I had been waiting for, why had I been told she was "from surgical and very busy". She was very uncomfortable at this and apologised for the waiting time. After a brief examination she asked me to “take a seat for a few minutes” while she consulted with a senior colleague. At 8-45 I was called back in by a different doctor, who profusely apologised for the department's incompetence. He had been in the hospital before I arrived at 4-15 and did not prepare for 'theatre' until 7-00. He was therefore very angry that he had then been called to attend to me. He asked if a blood sample had been taken. No samples had been taken. Samples were taken at 9-00. It appears the explanation was the A & E staff had been calling a doctor, who was not even on duty. At 9-15 pm, five hours later, I left A & E, with the feeling that I had been a problem, which if ignored would eventually go away.

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Response from South Tyneside District Hospital

Dear Peter Thank you for taking the time to post you comments regarding your recent experience in the Accident and Emergency Department at South Tyneside District Hospital on the NHS Choices website. Your well catalogued experience is unacceptable and I apologise profusely for the delays you experienced whilst waiting to be seen by the relevant medical staff. I will forward your comments on to the appropriate teams in order that they can learn from your experience. I apologise once again and wish you good health for the future. Kind regards Lorraine B Lambert Chief Executive

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