"I attended the accident and emergency ..."
About: University Hospital Lewisham University Hospital Lewisham London SE13 6LH
What I liked
I attended the accident and emergency department with my elderly dad today. He has a recent diagnosis of shingles and was suffering from a severe headache and breathlessness. When he was eventually seen by a doctor (3 hours after our arrival), he was treated with courtesy, care and an ECG and xray were arranged promptly with diagnosis and prescription also delivered quickly. The young female doctor who attended to him seemed very good.
What could be improved
We waited virtually 3 hours to be seen. My dad felt very stressed by the wait which wasn't helped by the fact that younger and fitter looking individuals were being called into the treatment area before him despite the fact that he had arrived before them. I asked the receptionist at one point how long it would be before my dad would be seen, she said he was next on the list, but then two others who had arrived after him were called in. I wondered if others got to be seen sooner to help performance indicators? My dad was off the radar as far as a 2 hour wait was concerned so were others who could come within the time frame seen first for this reason? I truelly couldn't think of any other explanation and when I talked to another family member about this she said that this had also happened on a previous visit. My dad was feeling very unwell and the apparent disregard of the fact that an elderly sick person is having to wait 3 hours with no information about why this is so and no accurate information available regarding how much longer they are likely to have to wait is unacceptable.
I was concerned to be told by the doctor that the hospital pharmacy could not supply the antibiotics that were prescribed because they did not provide this service for those seen in accident and emergency. In my dad's case it was ok as I was able to collect them for him but I am worried about what an elderly and unwell person on their own would do under these circumstances and whether there are arrangements for those patients receiving prescriptions during the evening when there would be little hope of finding a chemist open.