"Good and Bad with recent Eastbourne DGH A&E visit."

About: Eastbourne District General Hospital / Accident and emergency Harmoni / NHS 111

(as the patient),

I had an accident with an angle grinder and somehow cut across my Achilles. Although it didn't seem too deep (quarter of an inch? ) it was still bleeding the next morning so I thought I might require stiches. I went to A&E at around lunch time to find a 4 hour wait on the info-screen in Casualty. A bit demoralising to see such info, but in reality I was seen in about 3. 5 hours, three stitches later and I was out within the 4 hours which, being realistic I regard as good.

The down side was little niggles like each time a 'receptionist' came from their office to call the next in line, they would stand several metres from the main seating area and announce the next name. Because they didn't properly enter the seating area they could not even see the majority of patients, and the patients on occasions could not hear their name being repeated. I did suggest they should speak loudly from a vantage point where patients could both see and hear them. Typically, the pathetic practice continued throughout my wait. The service I received was efficient and thorough so I'm still an NHS fan. However, I feel that some of the employees I came into contact with continue to let themselves down with basic inconsiderate actions and complacency.

Example; I was given an 'Assessment Form', supposedly to be completed upon completing my visit. I was not given a pen, so the opportunity passed. I decided that if my wound healed without complications, I would not attend a revisit appointment to have the stitches out, as such things can be completed D. I. Y, and save valuable time for hospital staff to see urgent cases.

I realise the medical staff will cringe at such a stupid suggestion, but if there are no complications the necessity for such a visit are minimal - in my opinion.

In order to avoid wasting valuable NHS time when I fail to turn up for my next (unwanted) appointment I phoned the number on the Appointment Card a few days before the App was due. The number on the card for NHS Direct was (0845) 4647, which reaches a message stating that number is obsolete. How pathetic that hospital staff and admin can't even strike out the number with a pen and write 111 (ONE ONE ONE) on the card. That is the new number I was told to call to discuss my need to cancel an appointment.

Upon dialling 111 I thought I'm going to be on hold for some considerable time, but was surprised to be talking to an operative within a minute or so. He spent around 5 minutes taking details of myself, my Surgery, my ailment, etc. Once he'd got to asking my reason for calling, he told me he couldn't process my cancellation and that I'd have to phone the hospital direct. What a nonsense!

Anyway, I called the hospital, spoke to A&E to which I was directed and told the receptionist to cancel my slot for others in more need. I also asked her to notify her colleagues to score out the obsolete (0845) number and insert 111. She agreed to do so, but I won't hold my breath. NHS Service 9/10, staff attitude 7/10, Staff interest in the system 3/10.

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Response from Eastbourne District General Hospital

Thank you for providing detailed, comprehensive feedback, about your experience with the A&E department, at Eastbourne DGH.

We are pleased that you found the overall service you received 'efficient', however, disappointed, that there were also elements of your experience, that could have been better.

Particularly as the suggestions for improvement, you identify, are easily acheiveable.

We are committed to learning from feedback, therefore please be assured, that your posting will be shared with staff to act upon.

As a Trust, we value all feedback from patients and their families.

We send you our best wishes and hope that your wound is healing well.

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