"A complete absence of basic patient care"

About: Queen's Hospital (Romford)

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Healthy 26 year old male admitted with agonising chest pain, low blood sugar, vomiting, shaking and delirious by the time ambulance was called. My partner and I arrived by ambulance at 9pm, he was ‘seen’ within 15 minutes and then wheeled into the main reception area of A & E in his pyjamas, no shoes on and holding a sick bowl. When I say he was seen – a Doctor looked over his notes, looked at him (no contact, no questions, no medication, no tests). This was the process for any patient arriving by ambulance makes their figures look good for comparison with other hospitals. Technically, the patients are being ‘seen’ within 15 minutes so the response rates look excellent. He was left slumped in the wheelchair alone for 40 minutes before I got angry and pushed him back into A & E. After ignoring us for 10 minutes, the Doctor gave him a pill (no explanation given) and a thick white liquid (no explanation given). I was then told to wheel him back to the reception area. After 30 minutes he vomited the medication all over himself. There was no one on hand to help so I let myself into a triage room to get paper towels, a bowl and tissues to clean him up. The waiting room was absolutely full, patients using the admission seats because there was no other option and I couldn’t believe that there were seriously ill patients bleeding, being sick and dozing in and out of consciousness in that room and not once over the course of 9 hours did a nurse walk through to assess the situation or provide support. A cleaner was seen once over that period. The reception area was absolutely freezing. There was no heating and patients were huddled under jackets, blankets, sheets and anything else they could get their hands on. It was a pitiful sight to see a mother removing her winter coat to drape over her two small children – one of whom had chattering teeth. I had to remove my coat, shoes and socks to keep my partner’s body from violently shaking from the cold. One receptionist was overheard telling a clearly distraught patient to 'chill out' when he became distressed with the waiting time to assess his injury. Reception staff were more interested in going into the back office to chat rather than being on hand at the front desk to deal with patient admissions. We were there for 9 hours in total and I watched numerous people struggling to get their attention. A teenage boy admitted for concussion following a rugby match was in the reception area for a total of 6 hours, his family struggled to keep him awake. Vomit on the A&E floor was covered with paper towels and then ignored by reception staff who were informed about it repeatedly. There was a lack of communication and basic organisation between the Doctors, A & E reception staff and the nurses conducting the tests. Thankfully I wasn’t born in the UK, so this was my first NHS A & E experience and I can honestly say I was traumatised by it.

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Responses

Response from Queen's Hospital

Dear Anonymous,

Thank you for taking the time to share your comments about your experience at Queen’s Hospital when you attended the Emergency Department.

I was concerned to read about your experience and I am keen to discuss the points you have raised.

Should you wish to discuss this matter further please contact a member of the Patient Advice & Liaison Service (PALS) on 01708 435454 or email PALS@bhrhospitals.nhs.uk

Yours sincerely,

Judith Douglas

Deputy Director of Nursing

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