"Extremely disappointing end after a fantastic..."

About: Lister Hospital

What I liked

The reception staff were fantastic and amended details they identified to be incorrect on my registration - a previous Hospital appt last year had put down my 2.5 year old daughter as my NOK, the reception staff identified this, brought it to my attention and amended it. The medical staff I initially met were extremely polite, professional and very helpful. They explained what they were doing and why, they kept me in the loop.

What could be improved

Parking - even though I am a blue badge holder, I could not get parked anywhere, until I found the multi-storey car park.

Communication seemed to die of death after shift change where I was left in a side room (awaiting the results of my blood tests) for almost 4 hours without any update. I had to initiate communication and the staff did not seem to know anything about me (who I was, why I was there and what I had gone in with).

There were signs all over A&E stating patients must obtain a 'Discharge Letter' from the staff before leaving. When I was eventually discharged, I asked the staff for the letter and was told it had been sent already and there was no need for me to have a copy as a copy would be with my GP. I asked about the results of my blood tests and was told everything was ok and I could go home. My visit was 14 Feb 2012, I arrived at A&E at approximately 1500 hours, I went into a side waiting room approximately 1900 hours after being treated in a cubicle then waited in the side waiting room until I was discharged at around 2300 hours.

Anything else?

The care I received from the first lot of staff (day staff) was absolutely second to none, they came across extremely caring and compassionate. The system seemed to fall flat after the shift change at 2000-2030 hours and coincidentally after I had been moved into the side/waiting room.

If there is no requirement for a patient to take a copy of the discharge summary away with them, then the signs should be removed from the cubicles and walls of A&E. If the patient should be taking a copy of the discharge summary, then this needs to be directive needs to be disseminated to all staff, inparticular, the night staff.

I went to see my GP the following day and arranged to go back to see him once the discharge summary had been received by my surgery. In the meantime, my doctor's admin staff tried to chase up the letter on numerous occasions but hit 'dead ends'. 14 days later, I see my GP again to find out what needs to be done but still no letter - my GP telephoned Lister A&E to find out where the letter was. After being passed to 4 different people, my GP was assured the letter would be emailed/faxed through that day. My GP said he would contact me on receipt of the letter to get me back in again - I can only assume the letter still wasn't sent as I have not heard from him. I can only think this lack of professionalism by not sending a discharge summary within this time is a sign that a system (or systems) need to be looked at and changed. As a veteran after serving 25 years in the armed forces, I am reluctant to visit GP's or Hospitals unless I feel it to be absolutely necessary - this latter visit to A&E was after being advised by my GP. I am hoping that the chest pains I experienced were just a one off and not a result of something else.

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Response from Lister Hospital

We're sorry that your overall experience of the Lister's emergency department was not a good one, but we are wondering if you would be willing to help us to help you (and others as well). Would you be willing to get in touch with us - just send an e-mail with the above information to generalenquiries.enh-tr@nhs.net - so we can get one of our senior emergency medicine doctors or nurses to meet with you and go through what happened? It may be that some of the issues you experienced were down to poor communication, but equally there may be lessons to learn that could help us improve the service.

Emergency departments are big, busy places that changes from minute-to-minute, making it difficult for our clinical teams to see it from a patient's perspective. Your feedback may well provide very helpful in that regard, so we hope you'll feel able to get in touch.

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