"Appalling service from the supposed future of health care"

About: Queen Elizabeth University Hospital Glasgow

(as a friend),

A friend's father was ambulanced in on Friday night arriving about 1845. He was then left in a corridor on the ambulance trolley as there were no cubicles available in A&E (in a supposed billion-£ hospital). Eventually he was decanted into a wheel chair, still in the corridor, so that the ambulance crew could actually return to their work.

After arriving at about 1845, no one updated his wife until 2200. We were left sitting in the brand new, cold, draughty, uncomfortable waiting room for over three hours with no work at all. We were advised that once the doctor had seen my friend's father they would contact us, so it appears a doctor didn't see him for several hours, despite being brought in an ambulance, having a history of heart problems and other ongoing issues.

There were other families in the waiting room in exactly the same position, and one gentleman with muscular dystrophy was kept in the cold and draughty waiting room - his parents had covered with blankets - for over three hours.

This is a billion-£ hospital.

Then this morning when we went to collect my friend's father, of the dozens of staff members were asked no one know where we were to go. This included the front desk.

Eventually a porter showed us where to go, an area we would have been unable to access anyway due to controlled access. There was no signage to indicate the route to the particular ward. When we finally found the patient no one had been in to see him since the previous night when admitted, used urine tubs had not been collected, and when we asked for a chair to take him to the door we were told that would probably take ages.

All in all absolutely appalling service from the supposed future of health care.

- A&E waiting room uncomfortable and cold

- Clearly not enough capacity to copy with demand

- Shortfall of staff (£ 1 bn would pay for millions of doctor/nurse hours)

- Utterly inappropriate directional guidance (on Friday night the receptionists in A&E were directing employee with reference to the bike shed, which was actually the mostly brightly lit and visible thing in the area - you get signs with light, these days).

- No one in the actual hospital can tell you were anything is, in my experience.

- Lack of chairs or porters in the wards

It is actually unbelievable that we asked to entrust our lives to an organisation so incompetent that it cannot provide appropriate resources to meet demand, hasn't trained staff adequately and can't provide adequate directional guidance for the biggest hospital in the country.

Shambolic implementation that may be endangering people's lives - who is accountable for this?

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Responses

Response from Lorna Gray, Patient Experience, Public Involvement Project Manager, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde

Dear Some1,

You have written in great detail about the experience you had while accompanying your friend’s father and the rest of his family to A&E recently and I wanted to take some time to consider your experience and share with colleagues before responding to you.

First of all, I can completely understand the worry and anxiety that families and friends feel when a loved one is taken into hospital, particularly in an emergency situation. For this reason, it is important that families who are waiting for news of their loved one are given information when it is available in order to reduce that worry. I am sorry that this patient’s wife was not updated during the period of time that she was waiting. While I am unable to comment on whether this lack of communication was due to the patient not being seen by a doctor, or because other pressures meant that the update was not given sooner, I appreciate that this communication with relatives is important.

As you will know, we are half way through the moves of some of our existing hospitals onto this new site. During this period of change, we know that some patients have waited longer in the Emergency Department than we would like and I am very sorry that this was what you experienced when attending with your friend’s father. This migration of all of the different services will be complete early June, and all of the new ways of working will be in place at that time. The Emergency Department and Immediate Assessment Unit will work together to manage all Emergency patients and we are fully confident that the two departments have both the physical capacity and the staffing levels to treat the patients which will come through our doors.

With regards to the waiting area you sat in, the main waiting area for the Emergency Department has been designed to be as comfortable as possible for those waiting, and there are also separate rooms where families can wait for news which are more private. I will look into how this is communicated to waiting families. I do appreciate however that waiting for any length of time in one place can cause discomfort for people.

In relation to your comments about the ward the patient was transferred to, it would be of great help if you could contact me with more details of which ward he was in and with more information regarding your observations that he had not been seen during the night and the difficulties you experienced finding the ward. My email address is lorna.gray@ggc.scot.nhs.uk.

This will let me take forward your comments in a more meaningful way with the relevant staff. There are certain wards in the hospital which do indeed have controlled entry – this is done in order to maintain patient security, privacy and dignity and to prevent unauthorised access through a clinical area.

As you rightly point out, this is a brand new hospital, bringing together staff groups to deliver new ways of working. We really value all feedback, especially at this time.

Best Wishes,

Lorna

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