"Communicating could save time"

About: Chesterfield Royal Hospital

Having a father with Heart failure and dementia (aged 85); I have over the past year had to visit Chesterfield Hospital on several occasions. Over this period many little things have niggle me but I do believe that nobody can get it right all the time, having said that though, I have found one constant cause that has angered and infuriated me. This is the lack of communication which borders on ignorance. I arrived in A&E last night at 7.00pm after following the Ambulance containing my Dad. The crew kindly showed me were to wait and informed me that someone would shout me shortly. After half an hour I went in search of anyone who could inform me what was happening, as my Dad has dementia, I was unsure what he was saying to the staff. I was told he was OK and would be coming through shortly. Fifteen minutes later Dad was brought through and I went with him into the corridor where we were left . Three quarters of an hour later, I went to find someone to ask what was happening, one of the six nurses in the station informed me they were waiting for a cubical to become free , it would not be long and the doctor would then be with him soon after. Half an hour later we were final comfortable in a cubical. One hour later a very nice Doctor arrived, woke my Dad up asked their questions and started to examine him only to be interrupted by another doctor who said they need him. The nice doctor apologised and said they would past all the information they had gained from my Dad to another Doctor who would be with us shortly. Emergencies happen I understood that. One hour later I heard a doctor in the next cubicle, this confused me as I believed my dad to be the next in line. I again went to the nurse station only to be told that my dad was the next in line. I enquired if the doctor had been brought up to speed by the first doctor and was assured they had. Twenty minutes later a Doctor walked into the cubical and asked what was the matter with my Dad! I asked if the other Doctor had filled them in, their reply was no they had just come on duty. They proceeded to wake my dad up yet again to ask the same question and examine him. I must state that I do not mind the waiting, I do believe staff work hard for little, but a few seconds as they continually keep walking past the cubicles just to pop in to ask if all is OK or to inform you that you are third on the list etc is not too much to ask... is it? And as for being fobbed off, why not just say it as it is ... 1, because we know we are being fobbed off. 2. In a stressfully time is just adds to the stress. 3 It is demeaning. I know the staff must answer questions on what is happening, how long will it be all day, but patients and relatives would not have to ask if they were told realistically in the first place. The only thing I have gained from my experiences at Chesterfield Royal is be more assertive and pushy and I don’t know if that is a good or bad trait.

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Response from Chesterfield Royal Hospital

Thank you for taking the time to let us have your thoughts and frustrations. You have made some very clear observations in your post about the importance of communications and I would agree that everyone has a responsibility to make sure patients and their family members are kept informed. As you will imagine from my job title it's something I feel strongly about! I think the fact that you feel you have had to become 'more assertive and pushy' is a reflection of the fact that we don't always get it right and that there are always ways to improve the services we give. If you think you'd find it useful to come in and talk to our nursing and medical teams about your experiences we would welcome the opportunity. You are welcome to drop me a line at sarah.turner-saint@nhs.net and I will take this forward for you Best wishes Sarah Turner-Saint, Head of Communications

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