William Harvey Hospital
Written by a patient
27th January 2021
This is a review of A&E department only, not the hospital as a whole (as I wasn't admitted).
Dreadful, horrendous, traumatizing.... I can't find words sufficient to describe my experiences when I've had to be taken to A&E 3 times within a week, due to covid complications. Twice I was taken by 999 ambulance, once by car - it was never my decision to go, I was given no option, as all 3 occasions were classed (by the NHS themselves, ironically) as emergencies.
I feel sorry for the NHS in the midst of this pandemic, as we all do, but I have never experienced anything like the lack of "duty of care", lack of safeguarding, lack of medical knowledge, & lack of basic human decency in my life. I have had long term health issues for 25 years, & whilst I may be used to often being misunderstood, never before have I encountered it on such a scale. I did not even come across one sympathetic doctor - they seemed totally clueless, & would not listen (it's also beyond me as to why they wanted to waste time starting from scratch again, by asking "tell us what's been going on", when you are in no fit state to go over it all again. I said I wasn't feeling well enough, & couldn't they go by the ambulance reports, but "No, tell us in your own words" was all I got in response. I am unable to fathom why they seemed to want to choose to ignore what the ambulance crews had reported to them.
The people I felt most sorry for were the brilliant, professional, kind, understanding, compassionate ambulance crews who got me there - I could never rate them highly enough & I thank them from the bottom of my heart.
But upon arrival at A&E it became a completely different story.. .. It was really upsetting & demoralizing to see that hard work undone within seconds (not to mention the wasted resources... all we hear is that the NHS is on the brink of collapse, but unfortunately when you witness first hand the amount of taxpayers money going to waste like this, it must be a colossal amount if this is what happens everywhere.... however, I would like to think it doesn't happen everywhere. I used to think quite highly of this A&E unit- even when it was busy, you knew you would eventually get to be treated with dignity, respect, kindness & compassion, & your needs would be met. No longer can I say this is the case, pandemic or no pandemic. An animal would have been better treated. There simply was nothing humane about the way I was treated- no empathy, no kindness, no understanding, not even an attempt to understand. All 3 times I was sent home again - if they had dealt with matters properly the 1st time, I wouldn't have had to go back. I dared to hope it would be 3rd time lucky, but it wasn't (I was forced to spend the night in an almost empty waiting room, not knowing what was going on - I was in extreme pain, & almost blacking out all the time, but no one came to see if I was OK or not - people in A&E usually are not ok. There was no food or drink. I wasn't allowed painkillers. I was finally sent home at 6am, in a worse state than I'd arrived in. The only kind person I met was the person who wheeled me outside. The rest of them? Never before have I come across such a bunch. The kindest way I can find to describe them is clowns dressed as doctors. They were rude, I was shouted at by one doctor, they were insulting & intimidating, & they they got cross when I needed to use a wheelchair. They went out of their way to deliberately make you feel an unwelcome nuisance.
It's all very well to have posters up everywhere saying violence/abuse against staff will not be tolerated, but I got the impression they were making the most of this. There were no posters saying what to do if staff were abusive towards patients.
However, if you're an ordinary Joe Public, & not someone with complex conditions, you'll probably get on fine, as they had plenty of time to chat away to other patients about any old topic ....& were also more than happy to almost force feed painkillers to them.
I hope no one else has to experience what I did, because I'm scarred by it. I hope I was a one-off, but the attitude of the staff told me that I probably wasn't. If this review isn't published I will be even more shocked.