"You've got to see it to believe it - A&E"
About: Medway Maritime Hospital Medway Maritime Hospital Gillingham ME7 5NY
I had to attend A&E on Boxing Day to find out whether I had miscarried my baby. I waited in the cramped, dull and dirty waiting room with the smell of stale cigarettes and alcohol for 2 hours, only to be told that I could not have a scan to confirm my baby's fate as the particular unit was closed for Christmas. I was made an appointment for the following afternoon and was sent home. Having discovered the next day that I had miscarried my baby, I was unable to speak to a consultant that afternoon to discuss my options as the clinic closed at 1pm on Fridays. I was made an appointment for the following Monday morning (as obviously, no clinics run at the weekend !) However on the Sunday morning I suffered severe contractions and was advised to attend A&E. After a 2 hour wait I spoke to somebody from the relevant department who could not make me any appointments as it was the weekend. A total waste of time. The reception staff I believe require training in being caring and compassionate. I witnessed an elderly lady who had been there 3 hours confused as to whether she could go home, complaining that she was frozen cold and the staff did not offer her a blanket, neither could they find out whether she could in fact go home. In the end she left with her husband because they were so fed up with waiting. It would be helpful if they used their initiative to put urgent cases to the top of the list. Two other patients asked for assistance for a man whose fingers were badly cut and bleeding and he was feeling very faint. It took a further 20 minutes before anyone saw him. I do not blame the staff for the incompetence of the system. However, improvements are clearly desperately required to ensure patients' needs are met.