"Manners at Emergency Reception"

About: East Surrey Hospital / Accident and emergency

(as the patient),

Yesterday I returned to Emergency Reception at East Surrey hospital as I was worried about my leg which was swollen, having had a lower leg plaster fitted on Monday- I broke my leg on Sunday!

To be faced with an incredible scene in the Staff area of Emergency Reception ( where the check-in staff sit) - apart from two receptionists and a nurse there were at least 6 ambulance staff. They I am sure were working, but as always when you get a bunch of co-workers together there is banter, jollity and laughter. All very well you may think, but it resulted in us ( first in line to be 'processed' ) waiting about 15 minutes to be booked in.

Apart from it being incredibly bad manners to laugh and joke in view of the public who are there worried, in pain and generally out of sorts, it is also a bad plan for staff who are supposed to be dealing with the public to be distracted when having to book in patients brought by ambulance (for that is what I was told they were doing). Surely a dedicated clerk with a dedicated terminal can process these patients in a non-public area. Thus being more efficient and presenting a calm and serene on the public facing side of the operation.

My experience when I took myself to hospital on the Monday was excellent, smooth check in, quick triage, speedy x ray and prompt plastering. So you can do it East Surrey, you just need to plan your emergency reception more efficiently.

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Response from Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust

Dear Concerned of Smallfield

Thank you for your taking the time to make us aware of your experience whilst booking in at the Emergency Department reception area.

Patients arriving by ambulances are part of the Emergency Department daily activity and need to be registered. This is just one of the duties that our reception staff are responsible for. We have identified that this may cause delays in registering patients who present at the Emergency Department reception desk and it is something that is currently under review.

This does not detract from the fact that you felt staff in the reception area did not display the professionalism that we expect in the Trust, for which I apologise. I have bought your comments to the attention of our administrative and nursing teams and have asked our staff to reflect on the behaviours you observed and the impact it has on people waiting to speak to a member of staff. Your comments will be used as part of our ongoing refresher training.

I have also passed your feedback on to the ambulance service manager for our area and have asked him to reiterate how we expect ambulance staff to behave in the reception area.

Kind regards,

Jackie Sandford

Admin Lead, Emergency Department