"We will be pursuing a more formal route..."

About: Royal Cornwall Hospital (Treliske)

What I liked

The majority of the staff in the department are practically burned out from working so hard, and were clearly doing their best in circumstances that were very difficult.

What could be improved

Starting with absolute basics - the waiting area. Barely a waiting area at all, it was a cramped, stuffy room with no ventilation, and the grand total of SIX chairs. Now, perhaps I have been spoilt at other hospitals, but almost all departments are continually busy, and certainly warrant more than a total of SIX CHAIRS (let's re-emphasise this) for patients.

There was a mattress and a large cardboard box left in the waiting area, cluttering up valuable space in a room that is already far too small to be effective. A broken chair and bed lined the corridor adjacent to the department, paint peels off the walls everywhere, generally a depressing, sorry sight.

APPOINTMENT TIMES - My mother was due to have her angioplasty on Monday 28th March, and after waiting 4 hours in the dept (nil by mouth), we were told to go home as there were no beds available on the ward. A 35 mile round trip for nothing - and we aren't talking about a simple 'routine appointment' missed. By this point, a cannula had been inserted and it was necessary to wait a further half hour for its removal. We were told the hospital would 'be in touch', and she was re-admitted today, whereupon the experience in the ward was even more of a farce. The wait was longer, the doctors and nurses even more fraught.

Anything else?

This is a point which is on a far more personal level, but gravely important. My mother (the clinic attendee) is a diabetic, and had been instructed to be 'nil by mouth' including all meds for four hours before her procedure (angioplasty). This was on the understanding that she would be seen at the designated slot. As of 4pm today, she had been waiting for six hours, with no information as to the delay. She was unsurprisingly becoming quite distressed at this point, and when we asked what was happening we were simply told 'it's an emergency, sorry'. When we probed further, we were very alarmed to discover that the doctors 'were unaware she was diabetic because it wasn't in the notes' (even though she had been seen by a doctor, since a cannula was in place by this point), and had effectively put her life at risk by allowing her to wait for (by then) 10 hours without so much as an ice cube. I am sure that it is not an exaggeration to say that this is unacceptable?

Finally, as there was no place for me to stand, let alone sit, I had to leave my mother at the department on her own and wait to be informed when I could pick her up (I am STILL waiting).

Story from NHS Choices

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