"Worst experience ever - 8.5 hours in A&E"

About: University College Hospital

Was sent here as my wife had symptoms of a stroke. It was very quite when we arrived and throughout the time we were there but it still took them 8 hours to get to "we have no idea what is going on" and send us home. I could have still lived with that were it not for the following: - We were taken into Majors and plunked on a chair without any comments on what is happening - Half an hour later someone put us in a room, again no hello or what is happening - A nurse arrived to take blood, again zero communication - We were next to the nurse desk so I could hear them talking about my wife and they kept mentioning a CT scan but we were left in the room for 2 to 3 hours (lost track of time!) - During this time 2 nurses came into the room and one blew their nose and the other to check a cupboard. Neither even looked at us let alone say hi or engage with us which was amazing for the one blowing their nose! - We had no idea what was happening or why we were waiting - A doctor finally emerged, engaged in conversation and did the examination and was what you would expect from a doctor. The doctor had no idea there was a blood test until I informed them. The doctor went to check on it not to be seen for another 2 hours with us left in the dark - After a shift change I overheard the nurse asking for us to be moved as they needed the room! So I asked what was going on; turns out they decided to do the CT scan now and we were being moved without being told. Bearing in mind this could have been done in the many hours we were just sat there. - The waiting then began, first she couldn't have the scan as there was no porter. Then she couldn't do it as there was no nurse. When I managed to get all the pieces of the puzzle together she went for a 5 min scan and then we waited for another 2 hours or so before I finally lost patience and asked the nurse very politely what was going on. We were told we will be hours yet, and that they put people in these rooms who have to stay overnight. I pointed out that it would be good if someone told us that and got a blank face and told to speak to another nurse. - Finally managed to find a helpful nurse who spoke to the doctor and the doctor emerged an hour or so later. - They obviously had no idea what was wrong and referred her back to her GP thus completing the cycle! I would understand if the place was packed with people dying but a walk around the place and it was deserted compared to other hospitals I have been to, so this is purely incompetence. The doctor was good but getting their time was the problem. My main issue is the lack of communication, 8 hours is a long time not to know what is happening and why no one is speaking to you. Avoid if you are given a choice.

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Responses

Response from University College Hospital

Thank you for taking the time to feed back to us. We are very sorry to hear about your recent experience of emergency care at UCLH. We would be grateful if you could contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) via pals@uclh.nhs.uk or by calling 020 3447 3042 so that we can look into this.

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