"unable to speak to anyone"

About: Stoke Mandeville Hospital

My mother, who is 83, was taken to A&E by ambulance. I spent the next 3 hours on the phone to the hospital try to find out how she was. I phoned the hospital operator countless times, who tried to transfer me to A&E but no one answered. I was given phone numbers to ring, one of which went through to the triage nurse who said I shouldn't be ringing her. On another occasion I was transferred to Admissions, again no one answered. I kept trying, and trying, getting increasingly frantic and frustrated. At one point, after ringing the operator, it was answered by the on call cardiology registrar. I rang the operator and asked if they could just tell me where my Mum was, as I had been on the phone so long I was sure they must have been moved to a ward. But it appears there is some sort of central operator system, because although the number I rang was Stoke Mandeville they didn't know what hospital I required, and did not have the ability to find where Mum was. I told them how long I had been phoning and they apologised, they tried again, no answer. I was given the phone number I had already tried. At 7.15pm someone finally answered the phone and gave me information about my Mum's condition. I phoned back several times as they had done some tests, the final time at 10.30pm, Mum still on a trolley as there was no bed available. Next day rang admissions, Mum still on a side ward in A&E. I know the staff were very busy, I'm not blaming anyone for this, it just illustrates the tremendous strain the NHS is under. I also think it is a very unacceptable way to treat a frail and elderly lady.

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Response from Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust

Thank you for taking the time to post your comments, and I am sorry that you had encountered difficulty in speaking with someone to obtain information in relation to your mother being taken by ambulance to the A&E deparment at Stoke Mandeville Hospital. I can understand how frustrating this must have been for you at what must have been a particularly worrying time for you.

We would be grateful if you could spare the time to discuss your concerns to allow us to understand and learn from your experience of our services, and respectfully request for you to contact our dedicated Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) on 01296 316042 or email PALS@buckshealthcare.nhs.uk