"Poor triage and reception when dealing with..."

About: Salisbury District Hospital

We were in A&E yesterday and suffered the worst experience in this hospital we have ever had. It was busy and there was only one triage nurse on duty. My 8 year old suffered a head injury playing football on the park after a collision with myself. It was a significant knock to the head. His nose bled, he had a deep cut on his nose which bled profusely and which did not in fact stop bleeding until it was glued almost 3 hours later. He also complained about pain to his eye socket. On the way home from the park, he started to loll against me rolling his eyes. We took him straight to A&E. The reception staff took very few details about the injury. We sat then sat for over an hour waiting for triage with blood dripping from his nose and no idea of when he was to go in. My son then started to loll and go to sleep again and we had to keep rousing him. We were really worried and went three times to the reception staff who, on every occasion, where in the back room chatting or looking at each others' mobiles. We were told each time the triage nurse had been told. We saw other, adult patients walk in and even skip in at one point. I have no idea of knowing their injuries but my son was the only child in the waiting room and he was bleeding constantly. We had to go and get toilet paper to deal with it. When we saw the triage nurse (a sister), after over an hour of waiting, she was very dismissive, telling us other patients had major injuries and this was just minor. It was very obvious she had deliberately taken the decison to let a little boy with a head injury, just sit and drip blood when she had no way of knowing without checking him out how serious it was. I found this appalling given the concerns we had expressed as his parents. Additionally, when I queried whether he had broken his nose (and I believe it to be broken), she became evasive, saying they couldn't treat that anyway. She said he might be x-rayed (which of course he wasn't as this presumbably costs money) so we sat back down until he was glued up (by a far nicer nurse practitioner) and sent away with some leaflets telling us to go to ENT in 72 hours if we still felt it was broken. This was a deeply de-personalising experience. Vulnerable young children are entitled to better treatment and more compassion. They are not adults. Hospitals are scary places and they have no way of predicting what is going to happen to them as they have no life experience. Until the triage nurse had seen my son, she could not possibly have known how poorly he was. But she seemed happy to take the risk because she wanted to run things her way. Appalling. We were there for nearly three hours in all. I understand in Southampton A&E, they make special provision for children. Perhaps Salisbury could consider the same or at least make some effort to assist young children with obvious wounds.

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Response from Salisbury District Hospital

Thank you for your feedback We are disappointed to hear how unhappy you feel about your son’s experience in the Emergency Department on Monday. Please contact our customer care team on customer.care@salisbury.nhs.uk or 0800 374208 so we can discuss your concerns in more detail.

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