"A long, uncomfortable wait in A & E"

About: NHS 111 Queen's Medical Centre / Accident and emergency

(as the patient),

Attended emergency department after assessment by 111 nurse, in excruciating pain nausea, very severe headache and chills. Have been admitted before and become critically ill as have kidney stones. I was streamed relatively quickly but was horrified to see the wait time was over the 4 hours. This would have been acceptable if during that time there was some care and compassion from particularly the nursing staff. I'm guessing morale is low because basics such as offering some relief of excruciating pain, kidney stones are acknowledged to be an extremely painful condition.

I was left sat in very hard chairs, restless, in pain, nauseous having informed I hadn't kept down fluids and food for quite some time. I observed a sign that mentioned to ask for pain relief if not offered but I felt unable having heard a patient who may have been inpatient and not an emergency, still clearly distressed be admonished for complaining.

The wait continued then we were moved to a new area. Meanwhile after such a time in the department, no reassurance or checking on well being, I braved with an apology first asking what was happening next, but also because the pain at this point was relentless made worse by being uncomfortable. Yes, I appreciate it is not meant to be luxury but metal hard seats for hours when you are quite unwell isn't pleasant for anyone. The nurse could not give me any answer as she didn't know the department and I explained my pain was told she would ask. This did not occur and after some time again and at a point feeling very distressed I asked again and was rather bluntly told I could have pain relief that was not only inadequate, but given I already explained the severe vomiting and nausea I explained didn't want to add to my difficulties. I thought especially as in an area of I vomited would not only be unpleasant to manage, but undignified and also unpleasant for those seated near me. I was basically told that was all they prepared to do until a doctor attended this area.

I know services are stretched, demand is high, emergency a priority. However, I feel patients treated in this way could deteriorate unnoticed, or leave which might be deemed acceptable in some cases, but again has risk nonetheless. I was advised to call an ambulance, I did not struggling to get in myself, but sadly had I done I'm pretty sure acute management of immediate presenting symptoms namely in my case pain relief and anti emetic in a manner appropriate to clinical need would have been undertaken and thus rendering whatever the wait bearable in some measure.

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Responses

Response from Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust

Dear Susan.

I am saddened to read the account of your experience and apologise. I would welcome the opportunity to discuss this further with you. If you wish to do so, please do contact me directly by emailing lucy.thow@nuh.nhs.uk or calling 0115 9249924 ext. 70181

Best wishes,

Lucy Thow.

Matron, Emergency Department.