"the way in which the wait is managed could be improved"

About: Royal Bournemouth General Hospital / Accident and emergency

(as a relative),

I attended the RBH A&E on 28 December with my mother, who was in need of medical treatment. We wound up having a long wait. I appreciate that things take time, but I believe there are a number of steps that could be taken to make the wait more palatable.

1. I note that there is an assessment category for priority. We were not told which assessment category we were in. This might have helped to indicate both why things took as long and they did and why some people coming in afterwards were apparently seen before us.

2. There is a sign indicating how long you can expect to wait after triage, but nothing to indicate how accurate this is. If we had known that the wait was definitely going to be 3 hours then we could have gone away and come back, which would have been much better than waiting in the waiting area. Unfortunately this information's certainty is, well, uncertain.

I would suggest a ticketing system whereby you are given a numbered ticket of a colour indicating your priority, which would give an idea of when you can expect to be seen.

I would suggest information is posted as to what happens if you are not present when called: from past experience you can worry about going to the toilet if you are alone.

I would suggest that, when the wait is likely to be more than an hour, an 'earliest' time is given, and you will not be called before then, or at least you'll not lose your place in the queue if you are called and are not there.

Sitting in a waiting room, especially when you are worried and unwell, is potentially hazardous if there are others there with communicable illnesses. Moreover you are likely to feel worse simply because you've got nothing else to think about.

I am not complaining about having to wait, but I do think the way in which the wait is managed could be improved.

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Responses

Response from Sue Mellor, Patient Experience Lead, Royal Bournemouth & Christchurch Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Dear ‘Inhumer’

Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts on the waiting times, and the nature of the wait, within our Emergency Department. I do hope your mothers wait was not too excessive and that she was well looked after by the team when she was seen.

You have raised some interesting thoughts which I have passed on to our Emergency Department management team to look at. I know they are always looking at ways to improve waiting time and environment and I thank you again for taking the time to think about possible solutions that may help while waiting to be seen.

As I am sure you are aware this is a national issue with A&E departments all over the country being overstretched due to the demand on the service, we are currently experiencing a 25% increase on this time last year so any options that may help would be reviewed and considered.

Regards

Sue Mellor

Head of Patient Engagement

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Response from Royal Bournemouth General Hospital

Copied from original response on Patient Opinion in December 2014 Dear ‘Inhumer’ Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts on the waiting times, and the nature of the wait, within our Emergency Department. I do hope your mothers wait was not too excessive and that she was well looked after by the team when she was seen. You have raised some interesting thoughts which I have passed on to our Emergency Department management team to look at. I know they are always looking at ways to improve waiting time and environment and I thank you again for taking the time to think about possible solutions that may help while waiting to be seen. As I am sure you are aware this is a national issue with A&E departments all over the country being overstretched due to the demand on the service, we are currently experiencing a 25% increase on this time last year so any options that may help would be reviewed and considered. Regards Sue Mellor Head of Patient Engagement