"Torbay A&E left me feeling unsupported"
About: Torbay Hospital / Accident and emergency Torbay Hospital Accident and emergency Torquay TQ2 7AA
Posted by Gemep9 (as ),
I had a poorly child with temperature of 40 degrees, and other symptoms that led me to calling the NHS 111 service for help during the night.
The call operator was very helpful, clear in their instructions, and made me feel safe when they took me through the symptom checking protocol. At the end of this conversation I was advised to attend the A&E at Torbay Hospital within the hour. The advice was – it is better to be safe and have your baby checked.
Upon arrival I was warmly welcomed by a nurse, shown to a side room and made to feel at ease. Sadly this was to change quite quickly. The baby had some basic tests done, we were reassured someone would be in to see us.
The nurse returned with medication and she started the conversation with a reprimand:
'Just to let you know this doesn't really warrant an A&E attendance, but you are here now so that's fine'. She also explained ‘Now you are here you can use this room, it’s yours but the baby seems fine and I wouldn't worry’.
As she left I looked at my husband slightly confused, and we were a little unsure as to why we were getting a telling off. It felt disapproving and the feeling of support fell away. She returned a few times with various bits and bobs, the baby was getting more unsettled and upset.
I believe the nurse felt we shouldn't be there and had made her position clear, we asked if we could be sent home to look after baby in her own environment. The nurse reacted in an abrupt way, she became more firm with her words and stepped closer to me as she spoke to me. She advised that she was ‘just’ a nurse and although baby seemed fine it was ok for us to wait for a doctor or we could discharge ourselves and sign a disclaimer.
It wasn't until this time that the nurse inquired about how we came to be in A&E in the first place. Because we were advised to by a sister NHS service, all under the best interests of our baby. When we explained, the nurse undermined the care advice given by the 111 service and said we should have attended the MIU in Newton Abbot.
We decided to discharge ourselves, our baby was tired, restless, upset and needed to go to bed, it was our decision to go home. It is strange thing to tell parents they don’t need to be in A&E and then make it appear as though we were going against medical advice.
Although a sad experience, I still trust and would continue to use the 111 service, follow medical advice given to me for the safety of my family. I would welcome any information you can provide to reassure me the A&E service is able to do the same. As an NHS employee I am aware of how difficult it is to encourage appropriate use of services but I am still not clear why I shouldn’t have attended A&E?
How can the A&E and 111 NHS services work better together?
- Service users should not be affected by interagency process issues. I don’t think it professional to cast doubt about medical advice given by any service that is a central contact point for out of hours care.
Do nurses in A&E feel empowered?
- The nurse who tended to us had made an assessment, expressed her opinions and advised that our baby seemed fine but then when questioned she said ‘I’m just a nurse’. In my opinion, she undermined her own value in the service, she is a medical professional and her advice is worthy, it just wasn’t’ executed very well.
I believe should be made to feel safe and supported to care for my family and seek help when I need to.