"Very disappointing"

About: Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital

I'm a staunch supporter of the NHS and have never complained before about any of the treatment I've had in the past. So it saddens me that I feel so let down by my recent experience at the new Cramlington hospital.

The whole experience was quite stressful.

I became ill quite suddenly with severe back pain and pyrexia. My gp was concerned that I may have had an infection in the discs of my spine, so requested a paramedic ambulance within an hour. It took 9 hours for them to get to me.

On arrival to the hospital in the early hours of the morning, I was immediately given a bay. The nurse did my observations and took my blood samples.

But then I waited another 5 and a 1/2 hours to be seen by a doctor. I was in a lot of pain and feeling pretty dreadful.

I was eventually seen and had IV antibiotics and fluids and was admitted to the MAU.

After 2 doses of antibiotics my treatment was stopped. The doctor told me that the antibiotics may "mask" the infection. So I was left for another 2 days with high temperatures.

I had a vast number of investigations. On the 2nd evening my daughter spoke to the doctor. She was told that they'd been unable to find the source of my infection and they were now concerned that it may be in a heart valve.

She asked if I might be transferred to HGH (my local hospital) but was told no as they didn't have a diagnosis and I was "extremely unwell".

So naturally I was rather surprised when on the 3rd morning I was seen by a consultant. Told that I had pneumonia and that I could go home and take my antibiotics there.

My daughter was concerned, as was I. I was still in a lot of pain and feeling pretty rotten.

My daughter asked if I could be transferred to HGH for a day or 2. My wife was also recovering from a severe pneumonia and a vomiting bug.

She was informed by the ward manager that I did not meet the criteria for HGH.

She acknowledged that I would still feel unwell, but there was no reason why I couldn't feel ill at home.

I was told I could have a social services assessment if I couldn't cope at home.

I was revisited by the consultant who told me that he strongly recommended that I go home.

He told me that it's not really the patient's place to question the decisions of the ward manager and matron.

I said that as my consultant, I had to respect his advice. And so I went home. Feeling rather let down by the whole situation.

The treatment I received is the absolute opposite of what my wife received when she was admitted via the elderly assessment clinic at Hexham. It was excellent from start to finish.

I'm now in the worrying situation where I would have grave concerns if I was to need hospital admission again.

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Response from Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital

Dear Peter,

I am deeply sorry that you feel the need to complain to us when you have never had reason to do so before. It is also extremely concerning to know how let down you feel as a lifelong supporter of the NHS.

You raise a number of important points, I would really like us to have the opportunity to discuss your experience in detail in order to establish all the things that we could have done better so that our teams can learn.

There may also be an opportunity to clarify why some decisions were made from the hospital’s point of view.

Please contact me in the first instance and I can forward your concerns to the appropriate members of staff- my email is Annie.Laverty@nhct.nhs.uk

I look forward to hearing from you,


Annie Laverty – Director of Patient Experience