"A & E plus general switchboard"

About: Darlington Memorial Hospital

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I live in Essex and recently my mum was taken to Darlington at 10 in the morning for a foot xray after falling from bed. At 19:30 my elderly father rang me in tears as my mum had not gone home. He is disabled and did not know whether or not to call carers up to help him. He is also diabetic and should have had regular food and attention. I rang Darlington A&E and was finally told that my mum was 'kept in' in a ward and would be moved into another more permanent ward the next day. No one told dad.

Since then whenever I ring the hospital it takes ages for someone to answer main switchboard number, that's of course if they do as on lots of occasions I have given up after five minutes or more. Even if I manage to get someone to answer and put me through to ward 43, more than not, no-one answers phones there either. I know staff are busy but to be kept on line for 10 plus mins without answering is wrong, especially as my mum is in critical condition and all I want to know is if I should travel up north.

I am giving 2 stars for the nurses who I am told are caring for mum, but the contact areas need streamlining. It is a customer service function when all said and done (and yes I will be following up in writing).

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Response from Darlington Memorial Hospital

Thank you for providing feedback on your mother's recent admission to both the Accident and Emergency Department and Ward 43 at Darlington Memorial Hospital.

I am very sorry to hear that you are unhappy with the level of communication from A&E regarding your mother being admitted to a ward and the time it is taking the main switchboard and Ward 43 to answer the telephone when you are ringing for updates regarding your mother's condition.

I note from your comments that you will be contacting us and we would welcome the opportunity to discuss your concerns with you. Please contact the Trust’s Patient Experience Team on 0800 7835774. If you would prefer to contact us by e-mail, our address is complaints@cddft.nhs.uk

Alternatively, you can write to us at the following address: -

Patient Experience Team

Darlington Memorial Hospital

Hollyhurst Road


County Durham


If you do decide to contact us, please make us aware that you have left comments on the NHS Choices website.

The Trust is grateful for all feedback, positive or negative, as it means we can better understand what is important to our patients.

Thank you for leaving your comments on NHS Choices.

Patient Experience Team

County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust

Tel: 0800 7835774

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