"A&E - needs attention"

About: William Harvey Hospital

My son broke his wrist in France last week, was told to attend a doctor on returning to UK as it needed further attention. We chose this A&E because my husband has been satisfied with his care at the Wm Harvey (cardiac care though). The A&E service was not good. We were there for 3 hours 45 minutes - are you still under the target of "dealing" with patients" in 4 hours? we were suspiciously near the 4 hour mark when told we could leave. Anyway - we were sorted (triaged) very quickly, sent for an x-ray also quickly, then waited for hours to see a doctor who, in 5 minutes only, pointed out a break on my son's arm and said it was all ok and he could wait to attend a fracture clinic. Only problem was - there were 2 breaks; the cast was loose and sawn in half (by the French, an anti-pressure-on-the-plane device; his arm/hand hadn't been washed and was seriously itchy under the cast and worst of all - it turned out there was no need at all for the French to have cast his elbow as the problem was at the wrist. We were sent away by Ashford A&E with my son's perfectly ok elbow immobilised in a cast unnecessarily and the doctor was happy for him to have a healthy joint immobilised for 2 weeks? This does not seem sensible to me. I was so unhappy I took him the next morning to Maidstone A&E - we left in under 2 hours with his arm in a cast only a third as massive as the original, and the nurses having gently washed his arm to get rid of the under cast muck that was causing him irritation. I can only say that the Ashford A&E seem very happy to do less than their best by their patients. Maidstone, on the other hand, appeared to be on a different planet - one that cares for its patients. I'm happy that I had the means/ability to take my son from one A&E to the other - I'm concerned that others can't and have no alternative but to put up with sub-standard care.

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Response from Helen O'Keefe, Acting Deputy Chief Nurse and Deputy Director of Quality, East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust

Thank you for taking the time to provide this feedback to us. I am very disappointed in the care we provided and I would like to explore this further if you would be kind enough to contact me to discuss.

Helen O'Keefe

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Response from William Harvey Hospital

Thank you for letting us know about this.

We need to look into all the aspects that you have described and to find out what went wrong.

Please would you contact PALS (Patient Advice and Liaison Service) on 01227 864314 or 01227 783145 or by email at ekh-tr.PALS@nhs.net so that we can find out your son's details and give you a proper response.

Please pass on our apologies to your son as this must have been frustrating and distressing to him and to you as a family.

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