"A & E"

About: Southmead Hospital

I had an accident involving a rather large dog who ran into me at great speed, flipping me over and I landed at an awkward angle and on my head/neck. I managed to stagger home and felt quite poorly, hurting all over, vomiting, headachey and seeing stars. After a few hours and getting worse I didn't want to be a bother to anyone so I called the out of hours doctor service at Cossham for advice and after a face to face consultation with a doctor they spoke to Southmead A and E and told me I needed to go there asap and they were expecting me. The doctor said I had possible concussion, I needed to be observed and probably needed Xray/Scans. I managed to get someone to come with me so we went to Southmead A and E. I had a letter with me the doctor at the out of hours gave me so i gave it to the receptionist who told me to take a seat. We waited about two and a half hours to be seen and I was seen by someone who gave me painkillers and told me to go outside and take a seat because I needed to see a nurse practitioner. We waited for another two hours before someone came out and told everyone in the room that due to another emergency it was likely to be another few hours wait. We waited another hour and then I spoke to the receptionist and asked how much longer they felt it would be because I was feeling very unwell, they apologised and said they didn't know. In the end we came home without being seen. I'm just really sorry that we wasted the time of the people in the A and E thinking I was quite hurt and needed medical attention - being observed and having scans .etc when I obviously wasn't as seriously hurt as the out of hours Doctor thought. I don't think I'd go to Southmead A and E again.

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Response from Southmead Hospital

Dear Anonymous – I am very sorry you had a poor experience when you attended the Southmead A&E department. I am sure you will have read, or heard on the news, that nationally NHS A&E departments are currently under considerable pressure. Regrettably, at the time of your visit the department was coping with many very sick patients, including 3 simultaneous traumas.

The wait to be seen had increased to over 4 hours in the “see and treat areas” as a number of ED staff were needed to assist the trauma teams.

The ED staff have asked me to apologise that despite doing the correct thing unfortunately you were caught in the delay caused by:

1) an unusually large volume of patients attending

2) attending at a time where ED had to redeploy staff to cope with multiple very sick patients and 3 trauma patients.

I understand that, in line with the normal practice, waiting room announcements were made advising patients of the current wait times, but it is not entirely clear if you were attending at these times. The A&E team worked very hard that night to cope and most staff missed breaks so that delays were minimised, but the situation still remained very difficult.

The ED manager wishes to personally apologise to you, and also to the rest of the patients that attended at the time, and to reassure all patients that despite the long waits the team were doing everything possible to cope with the situation.

They would also like to reassure you that you did exactly the correct thing by contacting the out of hours GP and then attending A&E on their advice, and to repeat that they are sorry the department failed to meet their own high expectations on this occasion.

I hope that you are now feeling much better and are well on the way to making a full recovery.

King regards – Steve Sykes

Advice and Complaints Team

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