"Shocking service at Arrowe Park A and E"

About: Arrowe Park Hospital / Accident and emergency

(as a relative),

I took my mother into Arrowe Park hospital A and E on the 14th March, following confusing signs for the walk in centre - she was in a lot of pain but not an emergency.

Three receptionists covered the front desk, two were dealing with A and E emergency admissions (no one was in this queue) and one was dealing with walk ins (about 8 people plus carers/relatives in this queue). The desk is about 8 feet long, so everyone made the mistake of going to a "free" receptionist before being told they needed to get in the ever lengthening walk-in queue. Instead of helping clear the queue, the two receptionists for A and E gossiped and looked over the third woman's (who was neither competent nor efficient) shoulder, pointing out spelling errors. Eventually my mother and I got to the front of the queue and went labouriously through the reception details with the inefficient woman (had to give the same details three times). I don’t mind if people gossip and chat at work - work should be a friendly place to work, but its inappropriate when one person is run off their feet and two people are idle.

At this point, a very distressed woman arrived and went to one of the A and E receptionists, who stopped gossiping and started taking details. In spite of deliberately turning my back to the distressed woman, to give her some privacy, the layout of the desk meant that I could hear most of the details of her personal trauma. Once the nature of her visit became apparent, the receptionist should have taken the woman to a quiet, private room to take her details - instead the receptionist loudly asked her colleagues how she should code the entry "Is this assault, or should I put victim". I was appalled at the care that this woman got, which was even more insensitive than I can describe here.

In addition to the poor service outlined above, we waited for 40 mins before going to check with the receptionists re: how much longer, and it was only at this point that they realised they had checked my mum into the wrong service and we needed to be elsewhere in the hospital. (so we checked in and waited all over again).

It is also worth adding that while I was appalled at the service at the time and would have complained at that point, my mother was anxious that I didn’t complain because a) she thought it might impact on the speed of her care and b) she was in a lot of pain and wanted desperately to sit quietly without fuss.

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