"Inability to treat dementia sufferers with dignity"

About: Eastbourne District General Hospital

I accompanied my 92 year old mother to A&E on Friday. She suffers from vascular dementia and is in a carehome, where she suffered a fall and blow to the head. I was accompanied by my 2 sisters. We arrived at 5.00pm (approx) in the afternoon. My mother had a large egg like lump on the side of her head. It took 2 hours for her to be assessed in triage and a further 3 hours before she was seen by a doctor. In the meantime we were surrounded by drunken people behaving badly and at one point a man lying on the floor causing people to have to step over him. The atmosphere in the waiting area was abysmal. At no point did the security guards even show their faces, despite some very intimidating behaviour taking place. I wonder why you employ them at all? My mother was eventually sent to the DCU for overnight stay and decision making the next day, having had a head scan, blood tests and chest X-ray. The staff on A&E all deserve medals- I refer to the medical staff. They work in appalling conditions. l applaud them. However, the inability to prioritise a frail and elderly person who is unable to express her needs or distress, l find inexcusable. The next day my mother was discharged from CDU with a cannula still in her arm and no discharge letter for her GP. We did not know this on Saturday, because she was returned and put to bed immediately by ambulance staff.

I discovered the cannula myself on Sunday afternoon. I intend to submit a formal complaint, not about hospital staff but about the ineptitude of the hospital leadership. Having read the CQC report, l seriously question the hospital's ability to secure the necessary improvements that will guarantee the full confidence in what we can legitimately expect from a district and general hospital. Poor staffing levels were the subject of constant feedback from start to finish.

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Response from Eastbourne District General Hospital

We apologise for the delay in responding to your posting, however please be assured that postings are shared with Senior Trust staff on receipt.

We are deeply concerned to read your posting on NHS choices about you and your mothers experience with the A&E department at Eastbourne DGH.

The events you describe are unacceptable, and are clearly not in keeping with the high quality care we aim to deliver.

Please be assured we take your posting very seriously, and in the first instance, have shared it with the Head of Nursing for A&E to review and act upon accordingly.

We are keen to thoroughly investigate what happened and provide you with a full explanation and apology. We would therefore urge you to make contact with us at your earliest convenience, if you haven't already done so.

We have a Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS), who can provide information on the Trusts complaints process.

They can be contacted on 01323 435886 (or by email at: esh-tr.PALSE@nhs.net).

Please accept our sincere apologies for the fact that you and your mothers experience was poor, and for the distress this undoubtedly caused.