"Good on the whole but some minor irritations"

About: North Tyneside General Hospital

Back in August I was referred to A&E by my GP with suspected appendicitis. On arriving at the hospital my friend who had driven me there attempted to use the 'pay by phone' for the parking as neither of us had any cash on us, but it didn't work. She attempted this several times before giving up as I was in a lot of pain and needed to get into the hospital. We both assumed that given that it was a hospital they would be understanding of the fact that people can not spend an hour trying to sort out paying for parking when they have a medical emergency, but no, my friend was slapped with a fine for not paying for the parking which their useless system would not let her pay for. This is unacceptable. Once in A&E, I only had a wait of about 10 minutes before being assessed by a nurse. I then waited less than a minute before being called through to the ward which I was very impressed with. I was never left waiting around not knowing what was going on, the nurses explained what they were doing every step along the way, and let me know when we were just waiting on a consultant. They also never had a problem with my friend being there by my bed even though she seemed a little in the way. I was very surprised at the speed and efficiency with which I was dealt. The nurses started hooking me up to drips for antibiotics, fluids etc as soon as I was in the bed and given morphine for the pain, a doctor came very quickly to assess me and I was diagnosed almost straight away with a severe case of appendicitis and told I would be taken into surgery either that night or the following morning. Within an hour I had been transferred into a private room on a ward where I was assessed regularly and the decision was made to leave surgery until the morning. The nurses were in and out all the time checking on me and the only slight niggles I had with the way I was dealt with was that they left the door to my room open every time they left which just negated the point of being in a private room for me (and being right next to the entrance to the ward it meant everyone entering the ward was staring in my room as they were trying to find where they were going, this is not what you want when you're unwell and in pain!) and I kept hearing them chatting between themselves about the fact they'd never seen a temperature as high as mine and they thought the thermometer was broken which just seemed rather unprofessional to me. With regards to the surgery, everything was explained to me and the consultants, surgical staff, anaesthetists etc. all went out of their way to make me feel comfortable. The only really disappointing thing was that nobody told me how often to change my dressings or how long to keep them on for before I left, and when I tried to ask the nurses they were all 'too busy' to deal with someone who should have already left. I was also surprised to have no follow-up appointment to make sure everything was ok after such an emergency operation.

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Response from North Tyneside General Hospital

Dear Gina, Thank you so much for this very detailed feedback illustrating all the opportunities that we've taken to provide high quality care together with those things that we've missed. This sort of information is invaluable to us and allows us to continually improve. I am sorry that you experienced difficulty with our parking system and that your friend feels unfairly penalised as a result. Please do get in touch with me directly as I'd like to help if I can : annie.laverty@nhct.nhs.uk It is lovely and reassuring to read your positive account of our clinical care delivered in an efficient and professional manner - it will mean a lot to the team when I pass it on. It will also give them the opportunity to reflect on the importance of closing the door behind them to protect your privacy and the need for detailed information on discharge home. Again if you get in touch directly I can ensure you have the opportunity to speak to someone on the surgical team who can help with any outstanding concerns. With best wishes, Annie

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