"A poor experience which could have been more..."

About: Leighton Hospital

What I liked

That my son finally got the treatment he needed after a 7.5 hour wait in A&E.

What could be improved

I arrived with my son who is 21 at midnight and there were only two other people waiting at that time in the A&E Dept. He literally had a hole in his face with a gaping wound in his chin which was bleeding and he had 2 teeth knocked out. He was triaged and told that he would need to be assesed for nerve damage and the wound would need stitches. More people arrived after us but no one was called in to see the doctor.

One nurse came in 1.5 hours after we arrived to shout rather aburuptly to all who were waiting that the dept. is short handed, there had been a road accident and anyone who could go home should do so as she had no idea how long the wait would be. Again more people arrived but no further news was given. About 4.30am a couple of people were seen by the GP ( 2 older women with what appeared to be fairly minor injuries) and the rest of us were just left to sit there. Two young men came in with blood pouring from head injuries after being attacked but they too were made to sit there for hours (and were still there waiting when we left at 9.15am. )They had been drinking but were not disorderly. Another man came in with head injuries who was very drunk and disruptive and got taken through the doors to the side wards almost immediately.

We were eventually called through at 4.45am and a HCA ran a few monitoring tests, BP etc, and then left us in a curtained area. I thought great we are going to get to see someone who can put the stitches in shortly and we can leave. We sat there until 7.30am and no one came back. I noticed that all the other young men who had been drinking but were not unruly were also left lying on beds in neighbouring bays and had like us been there all night or at least several hours. Other patients were seen and left before us. Was there a judgemental attitude going on here? cont

Anything else?

I realise that staff at A&E take a lot of abuse from people who have been drinking but this was not the case on the particular night and certainly not from me or my son who had only consumed a small amount of alcohol. I do not feel that we were treated with courtesy and respect or given the appropriate priority. My sons face was bleeding all this time and I had to keep asking for pads to hold over the wound as the gashes went straight through his chin into his mouth. I went to the front desk to ask how much longer it would be as we had already waited 7.5 hours and the nurse did apologise and said it was exceptional to wait this long. A doctor finally arrived to see my son at 8.00am when more staff seemed to have arrived for duty and he spent 1.5 hours stitching his face for which we are of course grateful.

Improvements needed:

The communication to the patients who were waiting all night to be seen (and longer )with only one explanation at 1.30am and no further news on waiting times or any apology. So attitude , communication skills and respect for patients needs to be improved. I also feel that we were sidelined and purposely made to wait longer than necessary without any word or explanation until i asked, because there was a view that he had been drinking and so he could wait! In fact he waited quietly and patiently and I feel that if I had not been there to speak for him it would have been several more hours until he was treated. I understand there were in fact 36 breaches of the 4 hour A&E wait that weekend which is poor to say the least! Are there staffing issues and cost cutting measures happening in A&E? or was this the exception to the rule?

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Responses

Response from Leighton Hospital

Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust would like to thank you for taking the time to add your comments to this section of the NHS Choices website. We apologise that you felt that you were not treated with courtesy and respect or given the appropriate priority. The staff in the Emergency Department always strive to treat patients with dignity and respect, and we are disappointed that this did not seem to happen on this occasion.

Unfortunately we are unable to comment on staffing levels or the number of breaches that occurred on this particular night as there is no date of patient attendance provided. Staffing levels are always maintained to a safe standard in the Emergency Department, and we always strive to cover any staffing vacancies using the nurse bank, locum doctors or moving staff from other areas when possible.

The Emergency Department is a very unpredictable area for patient demand. Patients are triaged on arrival and prioritised on their clinical condition. If the department receives casualties from a road traffic collision, for example, this can use up many resources whilst patients are stabilised. Again, as the date of attendance is not available, we cannot comment on this night in particular.

Staff should always strive to keep patients informed and the Emergency Department is sorry that this did not happen. If you would like to discuss your concerns further and provide more information, the Trust would be more than happy to assist. To arrange this, please contact the Patient Experience Manager on telephone 01270 273961 or email patient.experience@mcht.nhs.uk.

In the meantime, if you would like to discuss your concerns, you can talk to our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) in the strictest confidence. PALS acts independently when handling patient and family concerns, liaising with staff, managers and, where appropriate, other organisations. You can contact PALS by:

• Calling into the PALS office in the Main Entrance Reception area at Leighton Hospital, Monday to Friday, 9am-4pm.

• Telephoning: 01270 612410 (24-hour answer machine)

• Faxing: 01270 501646

• Emailing: PALS@mcht.nhs.uk

• Writing to: PALS, Leighton Hospital, Crewe, Cheshire CW1 4QJ.

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