"Experience at A&E at Torbay Hospital with an elderly relative"

About: Torbay Hospital / Accident and emergency

(as a relative),

In mid-May at approximately 8pm I took my 86 year old grandmother to the A&E department of Torbay Hospital, at the request of her GP, to see the on call medical team following a fall and experiencing confusion and feeling unwell.

We handed over the information given to us by her GP and were told to wait. After an hour I asked the receptionist if she could give any indication of how long we were likely to wait as the waiting room was very full. I was told the majority of patients were waiting for Minor Injuries Unit, not the medical team.

That Minor Injuries wait was 4 hours but she could not give me an indication of how long my grandmother would have to wait and actually used the phrase "how long is a piece of string". I work as a manager in a patient focused environment for the NHS and would be very unhappy if any of my staff used such unhelpful language.

After waiting a further 30-45 minutes (it was by now approx 9:45pm and my grandmother was falling asleep on the chair) I decided to go around reception to the Nurses/Doctors station.

I asked if they could give me any indication of time and was told that there were 6 people in front of my grandmother. I explained that at 86 years old, she could not wait in a plastic chair for much longer, especially as she was here partly due to confusion and was finding the whole experience very upsetting. I asked if there was somewhere she could lie down to wait.

At first the 2 staff talking to me said there was nothing they could do and I became quite upset. At this point a lady (in non-uniform and unfortunately I did not get her name) came up to me and said she understood what I was asking and that she would find a bed for my grandmother to use until the Medical On Call Dr could see her.

This was such a relief and I am eternally grateful to this lady for taking the time to go out of her way to find my grandmother a bed. I believe it made all the difference to my grandmother, and also to me. I was able to see her into a bed with a nurse taking care of her knowing she was being looked after.

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Response from Torbay Hospital

Dear Patient, We are very sorry to hear about your experience and that the standard of your care fell below that which we strive to provide. We would like the opportunity to discuss your experience with you and try our best to resolve it. If you are happy to talk to us about this, please contact our Patient Advice & Liaison Service (PALS) so they can look into your situation in more detail. A PALS Officer is available in person, Monday to Friday, between 10.00am and 2.00pm. You can contact them by calling 01803 655838 or on our 24 hour freephone number 0800 02 82 037. If you get through to the voicemail service please leave your contact details and you will receive a call back within two working days. PALS can also be contacted by Text Phone on 01803 654742, by FAX on 01803 617162, or via email to sdhc@nhs.net (your email will go direct to our PALS Service). We look forward to hearing from you so that we can address the issues you have raised.

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