"Gurneys lined up in corridors. No hand washing...."

About: Medway Maritime Hospital

Ambulance took my brother in at 10.30pm between Xmas and new year. He sat for 6 hours in the waiting area doubled up in pain with chronic pancreatitis. Finally admitted to A&E his wife came home at about 8am and I took over. When I arrived he was in agony unable to get any attention from the staff, his monitor had been in alarm for 30 minutes and so had both the beds either side of him. His drip was empty and he was dehydrating; he was overdue a pain killer and again in agony. I tried to find out what was going on and was initially pushed off and derided by the staff "fine. You can discharge him if you want and take care of him" was not a professional response. I managed to find and get him the things that he needed (silence his alarm, saline drip, pain killer, wee bottle, etc) and i sat with him another 3 hours till he was finally seen by a doctor at 11.30am , who admitted him to the ward. However, at 1pm, he was still in A&E when I left (he as finally moved at about 2.30pm). By this stage there were at least 6 people on gurneys and several more "walking wounded" in the corridor as the A&E was full. As I left, I saw a waiting room overflowing(at least another 50 people, I'd guess). As I work with hospital hygiene, I watched the hand washing behavior in the A&E. The main wash stations were not used once, except to get water, and only saw one use of a hand spritzer. Truly appalling experience. I would not have believed that I was in a developed country.

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Response from Medway Maritime Hospital

I am sorry to hear you had such a negative experience in our department. We have been experiencing long waits for some patients in the emergency department due to capacity across the hospital which means it can take longer to move patients onto wards. We are doing everything we can to address this to improve patient pathways and experience. We are now carrying out safety rounds three times a day which review patient care and the environment to ensure we offer the very best service we can. I am appalled to hear about the lack of hand hygiene and I will certainly will be taking this up with the team. Thank you for bringing these matters to my attention and if there is anything else I can help with, please do not hesitate to contact me. Inmaculada Diaz Alonso Clinical Nurse Lead for Emergency Department inmaculada.diaz-alonso@medway.nhs.uk 07432 641 371

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