"A & E to the Surgical Assesment Unit"

About: Southend Hospital

I attended the hospital for a neurology visit but was overcome by my anxiety disorder, experiencing severe nausea and paleness, I then felt a slight pain in my side I have had in the past. I was really panicking and my mum took me round to A & e as I looked terrible.

After seeing triage I was called by a porter who said I'm taking you up to the ward, shocked we asked which and were told the surgical ward. As someone with a serious anxiety disorder this sent my anxiety skyrocketing, there was no explanation as to why or any warning.

When we got up to the ward at 4pm the nurses and staff were all absolutely lovely and I cannot praise them enough. I didn't see a doctor at all until around half eight that night. They said I could go home but needed to wait for another doctor. My anxiety was absolutely horrendous at this point. The last thing I needed was to be waiting around in a room filled with talk of serious illnesses when I have serious health anxiety.

Nurses would also make comments like 'her blood pressure has dropped too' right in front of me but not explain it, making me even more anxious. I also had to miss my nightly dose of my antidepressant as they didn't have it, which has a serious risk of causing bad withdrawal symptoms. At 11:30 the doctor still hadn't been round and it meant I had to stay the night alone. When you have an anxiety disorder that is a big problem. After finally managing to get to sleep at 2am in the baking hot ward I was woken up by the senior doctor at 3am who said I could go home, either then or in the morning and I had no choice but to wait until the morning.

This whole experience was very damaging to my anxiety and I felt a lot worse when I left than when I entered. I had also been nil by mouth so hadn't eaten for 24 hours and had about four hours sleep.

I would suggest in the future that those with mental health conditions are considered more, with medications available to get when required, even if the dose is maybe a few hours late. And not discussing things like blood pressure in front of them with no explanation. The nature of the patients mental illness should also be discussed more, there were very few questions regarding it even though it affects me in a very physical way. I would also recommend staff be informed about it or it being written on the wall chart next to the patients name, even a different coloured wristband perhaps so the staff would all be aware that extra care needs to be taken. The temperature of that ward also needs to be addressed, even with a fan on all night it was roasting hot. Also the waiting time for people to get medication needs to be lessened, I appreciate that the doctors are very busy, but another patient had a migraine and requested medication but it took a long time to be prescribed. A doctor also telling me I could go home at 3am was also not exactly ideal.

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Responses

Response from Southend Hospital

Dear Sir/Madam,

Thank you for your feedback relating to your visit to our hospital.

I am sorry to hear of your concerns and can see your frustration.

Unfortunately, without personal identifiable information I am unable to look into your individual case but ensure you I will pass on your comments to the relevant departments for them to review and look at for service/patient improvements for the future.

Thank you for taking the time to contact us. If you do feel you would like this to be investigated you can either chat to our PALS Team by emailing pals@southend.nhs.uk or call 01702 385333 or you can write to complaints complaints@southend.nhs.uk

Regards,

Louise McIver

Patient Involvement Team

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