"Quality of care received at William Harvey A & E"

About: William Harvey Hospital / Accident and emergency

(as a parent/guardian),

My daughter suffered a head injury after a fall while she was playing. I called 111 for help when my little girl started vomiting and was very drowsy. After 20 minutes on the phone speaking to a non-clinical call handler, paramedics were sent out to see and possibly treat. The paramedics were fantastic!

They carried out all tests they could do at the time but were worried that my little one was quite drowsy. They decided to take her to William Harvey for further assessment. The handover took about 15 minutes. My child and I sat in the waiting room with older people, some drunk young men, a few other children with their parents, people who suffered open wound injuries, young vulgar couples......... people from all walks of life.

The waiting time indicated on the board was 30 minutes but after 1½ hours of waiting it was changed to 1 hour. Did that mean we had to wait another hour? Everyone we met in the waiting room was attended to and left. When five people who had arrived later left, my daughter asked if anybody could still remember her head hurt so much. I inquired at reception and was informed that my daughter was to be treated in the major and not minor injuries.

Following further inquiries I was informed that we had to wait for three more people to be treated. We were then offered a trolley. 40 minutes later my daughter was attended to. Lucky enough we were discharged to go home. The doctor said that my daughter would be given some Calpol to relieve the pain she was experiencing at the time but she did not specify who was to do it. I asked the Lead Emergency Department nurse who snapped back that they don't have any Calpol to give people. A colleague of hers asked me, "do you know where Tesco is? I could have taken my daughter to Tesco if that was the most appropriate place to seek health care for a head injury I thought to myself. I bit my tongue but at the reception there is a note that reads 'if in pain ask for relief' and another that instructs you not to take any medication before your treatment. Patients are already confused by the degree of inconsistency and incompetency sometimes present in many A & E departments.

My husband and I pay so much in taxes every month and so I am wondering is this the best quality of urgent care the NHS can give? Are there any standards and/or competences required for paediatric health care? I think it's a disgrace.

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Response from Sally Smith, Chief Nurse and Director Of Quality, East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust

Thank you so much for contacting us about your experience at the A&E at William Harvey Hospital. I am so sorry to hear this was not as caring and as compassionate as we would expect from our staff. I would like to take forward your concerns with Matron Boggia. If you wish me to, please email me on sally.smith2@nhs.net and I will ask her to contact you. Once again, please accept my apologies for this poor experience. Best regards, Sally

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