"Fudging the 4 hour waiting times"

About: Princess Alexandra Hospital (Harlow)

Anything else?

My partner awoke in the middle of the. Night with extreme chest pain, was breathless and sweating. Emergency services were called and we was transferred to PAH A &E. It was a fairly quiet night and we were seen very quickly, with oxygen and heart monitors applied. It was quickly diagnosed that this was not a heart problem. But after waiting for X-rays and blood test, an infection or a PE was the culprit. About 3.59 minutes after our arrival we heard staff comment to Drs that we were about to breach and what decision had been made. With that a young student nurse came into the cubicle where the O2 was removed along with the heart monitors, my partner was told to get dressed and that we were to be moved. At this point my partner was still in a great deal of pain and breathless. We were shown to what I could only describe as a small waiting room. The room was freezing. Here we waited for yet another 4+ hours for blood results and a final treatment plan to be given. We were then discharged. Is this the way you get around the breach for 4 hours? I would love to know what time was placed on our discharge screen - we had overheard the staff being told to make sure we had been removed from the system. How will lessons ever be learnt and a stop to these breaches if you flout the system. If it was due to the lack of investigation teams ( the 2 hour wait for each blood test) them surly you need to learn and speed up the process if it means your going to breach times.

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Response from Princess Alexandra Hospital

Dear Anonymous, Thank you for your comment and for raising the issues you have. It is clear to me that although you were seen very quickly, you should have been made more comfortable sooner in our Clinical Decision Unit (CDU) as you are absolutely right in saying that the investigations which were required in the form of x-rays, blood testing and monitoring are not part of the emergency treatment pathway, but part of the CDU pathway. I have spoken to the Head of Nursing and Clinical Director for Urgent and Ambulatory Care and it is clear that you should have been admitted sooner to CDU. Staff should not be worrying you, or speaking in front of you about breaches of waiting times and delays in the way that they did, and this is being discussed with all staff who perform these roles. The Clinical Decision Unit (CDU) which you described is intended to be a comforting and comfortable space for patients who need extra diagnostics to await investigation outcomes, but it is clear from your comment that the heating had not been correctly set as this is available and does work. From this space, 80% of patients are able to go home once results have been reviewed by medical teams. In future we will be looking at ways in which we can transfer people earlier so that they are not rushed and I do apologise on behalf of the Emergency Department team for those poor elements of your experience. Thank you again for leaving a comment at what I know can be a difficult time. Please do always make contact again if you need to, either by leaving a comment here or by calling Patient Experience Team directly on 01279 827084. We are here Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm and if we cannot take your call immediately please do leave a message and we will ensure this is returned.

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