"Unfriendly, unwelcoming A&E after a cycling accident"

About: South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust / Emergency ambulance Southampton General Hospital / Accident and emergency

(as the patient),

I am a medical doctor working on a busy AMU in Surrey, and on my first day of annual leave this summer I was unfortunate enough to take a fall from my bike, going pretty fast downhill a gravelly path in the New Forest.

After much initial shock & my husband running to find help, I was later attended to by 3 of the kindest paramedics I believe I have met. Well, I am biased in this circumstance, however Patrick Judzinski, Steve Follet and Clare Dinnett of South Central Ambulance Service went above and beyond to calm a very shocked & shakey patient down, and by the time I reached the General I was almost pain free and honestly didn't want to leave them. They were entirely respectful and even made me laugh and for that I thank them so much.

Once at A&E I was greeted at the door by a charge sister. I have worked in A&Es and thought this novel approach was very slick. She triaged my painful joints and ordered my xrays. However, at the same time I was undressed by a nursing assistant. This lady did not introduce herself nor ask my permission to start flashing my chest to the 2 men that proceded to walk in the bay then quickly walk out. I am unfortunately used to seeing this happen at work, but believe me you realise even more how wrong it is when it happens to you.

I was swiftly wheeled round to Minors Bay 5 where I was handed over to a staff nurse. She didn't introduce herself and I had to ask her name. From that point onwards I didn't see that nurse again to speak to.

I went to xray quickly then back to my bay.

The next 3 hours that followed are where my concerns took shape. Not one nurse or HCA (I saw 4 different ones come in and out of the bay, even walk passed and look at me) spoke to or even smiled at me. Considering the trauma, physically & emotionally of the accident to both my husband and I, no one asked if we were ok. No one asked if I was confortable or if we need a drink, no one told us that depsite the fact my eyebrow and elbow lacerations were still bleeding I might be waiting 3. 5 hours to see a doctor, and that when I did the assessment would last only 3 minutes.

At one point I made the risky decision to check if there was anymore pain relief I could have. The response that followed from a nurse was possibly the most insulted I had felt all evening. Without introduction (I overheard her name) she proceded to tell me that given the amount I'd been given in the Ambulance I shouldn't have anymore and that because I'd sustained a head injury I couldn't have gas & air (which given my experience I sensed she thought I was after), then walked off. I cried. I was in pain, I had been shocked by the accident I was in a department that made me feel vulnerable and unwelcome. I wanted to leave. As a doctor I don't even ignore patients that aren't technically mine if they are in pain. There is no such thing as too much analgesia and to not even make an assessment of my pain was in my opinion terrible. In fact this nurse also upset the lady next to me. It was sad to watch.

My wounds were finally tended to by a lovely nursing assistant Natasia who was perfectly gentle, and the next morning the Max-Fax SHO Atif was superbly professional - in fact his sutures on my brow have maintained the anatomical hairline so cosmetically that is a huge bonus.

All in all I am grateful. But knowing how important feedback is, my suggestions would be SGH A&E looking into the #hellomynameis campaign, ensuring bleeding patients are prioritised, not disregarding pain and treating patients with respect.

Many thanks

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Responses

Response from Southampton General Hospital

Thank you very much for comprehensively documenting your experience in the Emergency Department for your suggestions. It was so disappointing to read of the negative points you raise relating to staff not introducing themselves, not requesting permission to help you and not asking after you on a regular basis to ensure your pain was controlled, that you were comfortable and had all you needed. For a patient to say they felt vulnerable and unwelcome in the department is unacceptable and not up to the standard that staff aspire to. We are very sorry that this was how you were left feeling. Your feedback will be shared with the ED staff. We should also like to thank you for the kind comments you make and these will be shared too, both with the department, the individuals to pick out and SCAS (South Central Ambulance Service.) We do hope that you making a speedy recovery from the injuries you sustained.

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