"13 year old waiting 2.5 hours for offer of pain..."
About: Addenbrooke's Hospital Addenbrooke's Hospital Cambridge CB2 0QQ
I came in to A&E at 10.30 on a Tuesday evening with my 13 year old daughter with a suspected fractured ankle, unable to walk, nasty swelling and reasonable pain . We were registered fairly quickly and moved through to the paediatric waiting area. This is a side area at the end of a corridor and there is no way of catching the attention of staff. I needed to move my car from the drop off point so had no option after 30 or 40 minutes to walk into the treatment area (which felt intrusive) to try and catch someone's attention to let them know I was about to leave an in accompanied child in the waiting area. The staff resolutely ignored me saying 'umm excuse me' a few times, refusing to make eye contact or look up from their computer screens. Having got their attention, I moved the car. No one came to see her whilst I was gone. It was now gone mid-night. Around 1am I think, she was finally assessed. That's about 2.5 hours before being seen by a nurse or doctor and offered any assistance or pain reief. The ice pack we had brought in was long melted! The staff were all great once we were seen so I can't fault their medical expertise once we were 'in the system'.
However, I feel that little things such as making eye contact, smiling back when someone smiles at you and acknowledging the presence of patients in the waiting area would go a long way to improve the stressful experience of the patient, especially children and the carer. This isn't just a one off experience.
It wouldn't take much to change these little things, they are free to implement!