"Not great, at all."

About: The Royal Victoria Infirmary

What could be improved

I am currently under investigation for a heart condition and recently fell ill with a chest infection. My doctor advised me that any shortness of breath and chest pain I was to go directly to A&E. Yesterday and today I did and after fainting at lunch I decided to go in.

When I arrived at reception I explained the situation the best I could. I was being asked a lot of questions and was passed on to a nurse who continued to quiz me. I felt like I couldn't explain myself because she didn't have time for my answer. Eventually I was able to explain about the heart condition and I was taken for an ECG. It was prompt and efficient.

What I didn't know was that nurse went back to the receptionist and (in front of my friend) loudly complained about how I had only just told her about the heart condition and why do people leave the important information until last.. its stupid. Well if I had chance to talk I would have told her sooner.

The doctor was very good, agreed that my chest was not good. I waited about an hour to receive treatment. When the nurse came he didn't explain, handed me the mask and said 'put that over your head', turned on the oxygen and walked out the room.

When it was done I was seen by another nurse who said I could leave but did not give me my prescriptions. I queried and she went to find the doctor. Whilst I was waiting again another nurse came in and said 'The doctor said you could leave...?'. Excuse me, but I wasn't sat here for the fun of it!

Anything else?

The staff don't hold high opinions of each other either.. 'they are getting on my nerves' was my personal favourite from one nurse.

I appreciate they are busy but the way I was spoken to and about, behind my back was not acceptable or professional. I had a legitimate reason for being there and they made me feel like a time-waster.

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Responses

Response from The Royal Victoria Infirmary

Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention. It is of great concern to the Trust that the service we provided on this occasion did not reach the expected standard of care. Please be assured that this is not acceptable to us and a full investigation will be undertaken.

When patients present to the Emergency Department they are initially seen by the triage nurse who will enquire what the patients presenting problem is. This should be a relatively brief conversation. Patients will then be taken for a more detailed assessment in a private are which will include recording of baseline observations and other investigations if appropriate e.g. recording of ECG.

We would wish to offer a sincere apology for the comments of the triage nurse. Such comments are not appropriate and steps are being taken to identify the individual concerned and addressed unacceptable and unprofessional behaviour.

We thank you for your positive comment relating to the doctor, this will be shared with the individual. It is expected that all clinical staff introduce themselves to a patient and explain any procedure before commencing it. We sincerely apologise that this was not your experience and for any distress this caused and would wish to assure you that this will be addressed in the investigation and discussed with the member of staff concerned.

The discharge process is such that following examination the doctor will document the management plan and then a nurse will carry out the instructions, this will include the delivery of any treatment required, provide advice (verbal/written) and any discharge medications if required. It would appear that this was not your experience and that the nurse completing your discharge was not aware of the plan to provide medication. Once you brought this to her attention she went to discuss this with the doctor involved in your care. We would wish to assure you that this oversight will be investigated accordingly to determine how it occurred.

The Trust would not expect any member of staff to make inappropriate comments about their colleagues. Such unprofessional behaviour is not acceptable and is not be tolerated and all staff will be reminded of the conduct deemed acceptable by the organisation.

Once again we would wish to apologise that the service did not meet the standard that we would wish and deem appropriate. Thank you again for bringing this to our attention. If you would wish to contact the Trust (Angela McNab, Matron or Paul Anderson, Patient Relations Manager via switchboard on 0191 233 6161) then we could provide the findings of the investigation to you in person.

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