"Not a great first experience."

About: Croydon University Hospital

What I liked

I attended A&E at 7am on a Saturday morning in April. There were no other people present so i did not have to wait long until I saw a triage nurse. This was probably down to good timing rather than anything else.

The out of hours doctor service above the A&E unit was fine.

What could be improved

When I got into A&E, there was an overwhelming stench of urine. There was a gentleman sprawled out over chairs in the corner. Whether or not he had stayed in the waiting area overnight I do not know.

Reception is behind a plastic / glass shield which was down when I got there. I am not sure whether this is because of the area the hospital is present in or if there had been a previous incident there. Suffice it to say that this is the first time I have ever experienced a reception area behind, what would seem to be bullet proof glass, outside of a bank.

When I was seen by a triage nurse, although polite, I was effectively diagnosed using wikipedia. I had gone to hospital because I had a strange rash which I thought might be meningtis - luckily it was not. I was referred to the out of hours doctor service above the A&E unit but had to wait a couple of hours until it opened. I suppose this is a minor grip but given that the A&E unit was empty at that time, and there was possibly one other patient who was being seen to, could not a doctor just ave looked at me there and then (assuming that there was a doctor in the A&E unit - or is it a nurse led unit?)?

Anything else?

I have heard many horror stories about this hospital (formerly the Mayday Hospital). I did not like to believe them. However, having had my own, thankfully minor, experience of this hospital, nothing will inspire the confidence to obtain treatment here again. As a result, when my children have had to go to A&E, I have driven them to King's College, which is further away by 20 minutes.

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Responses

Response from Croydon University Hospital

We are sorry to learn of the difficulties you had while in our A&E department.

The department has cleaners who work 24 hours a day, however we apologise that the smell of urine was overpowering, this is clearly unacceptable. We will ensure that our cleaners are checking all areas of the department on a frequent basis including any non-clinical areas such as the waiting room.

We would like to reassure you that the waiting room is never used as a place to sleep, anyone in there would be waiting for treatment or with someone who is.

The enclosing of the reception area is for the safety of our staff. However the layout and facilities or the A&E waiting room is currently under review to ensure it is fit-for-purpose for both patients and our staff. This is being done with the support of our Patient Assembly.

Regarding your treatment our triage nurses are trained to conduct some vital observations and make a judgement as to how best to treat you. As a general rule rashes that do not require emergency treatment are best treated by a GP, who will have the expert and clinical skills to treat you appropriately.

Thank you for your comments which we will feedback to the teams involved and use to help us improve our services.

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