"Poor Patient Care at Basildon University Teaching Hospital"

About: Basildon University Hospital / General surgery

(as a relative),

My wife and I attended the Emergency department at the Basildon and Thurrock University Teaching hospital in late March because she was suffering from severe pain to her private area that was caused by a swollen cyst. After waiting for more than 5 hours at the A&E reception, we were then directed to another room where she was examined by a Gynaecologist who then referred us to Elsdon ward for further investigation and hinted that she might require immediate surgery to relieve the pressure on the cyst.

At Elsdon ward, she was met by a doctor who seemed reluctant to touch her to conduct proper examination. She prescribed a pain relief and antibiotics and told us to come back 4 days later before 9:00am so that she could be reassessed and referred for surgery. On the day of the next appointment, I arrived at the Elsdon ward with my wife at 8: 15am and it was until 13: 00 that the doctor had the time to examine my wife only to inform us that the cyst had grown bigger and would need immediate surgery to be removed.

In my opinion, if the doctor had done proper examination the first time she saw my wife, she could have noticed that the cyst was already too big to be treated with antibiotics. She told us that my wife had been scheduled for surgery that day before 3:00pm. We then had to wait in the reception area of the ward from 8: 30am until 5:00pm when my wife was administered intravenous fluid on a trolley at the Elsdon ward (as she was told not to eat or drink anything before her appointment).

When I complained to the Sister Charge nurse at the ward later around 8:00pm that I would like to know why my wife was still waiting to for the surgical procedure for almost 12 hours after the triage, I was told that she is on the emergency list and would not be attended to if there were other patients with high priorities. She then arranged with the porters to move her from the Elsdon ward to the Day Surgery ward apparently to avoid her ward being in breach (even though she did not tell me this). She also confirmed to me that my wife would be operated on before 10:00pm and would be returned back to the Day Surgery ward to recover.

My wife and I waited anxiously for her turn to be taken to the Theatre for the surgical procedure. She was later told around midnight that the procedure would no longer be completed that night but that she had been rescheduled for surgery early the following morning. She would then be discharged later that day after her recovery due to the general anaesthesia that would be administered before the surgery.

At 9:00pm that night, my wife was still on the Day Surgery ward awaiting surgery. When she started asking the staff to explain to her why she has not been seen by any consultant since arriving from the Elsdon ward or taken to the Theatre for surgery, the only excuse the ward staff could give her was that they were still waiting for a surgeon that would operate on her. Finally, when my wife became distressed and felt she had been abandoned without any care because of her colour or race, she requested that she could be allowed to go home. The ward staff then went and arranged for a Nigerian surgeon to be brought in at 10:00pm to perform the surgical procedure on her. It was as if the other surgeons on the ward were reluctant to touch her due to her ethnic background.

While she was at the Day Surgery, she witnessed more than 7 other patients who were non ethnic minority being taken to the theatre for their surgeries. It seemed her own case was never considered because of her race until a doctor from another ethnic minority was identified for her surgery. This level of care is mediocre and not acceptable by any standard.

I work in the NHS where every patient is entitled to equal treatment regardless of their race, colour, religion or sexual orientation and I would like to know why these requirements didn't seem to apply in my wife’s case. I would please like you to investigate this issue and explain to me whether this was acceptable way of treating patients at the Basildon University Teaching hospital (especially given all the negative media attention that the Trust has attracted in recent times).

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