'Can't praise NHS highly enough' - Patients praise A&E staff despite growing pressures
PUBLISHED: 18:00 29 January 2020
Patients sharing their experiences of the region's hospital emergency departments have praised staff for providing excellent care amid increasingly challenging circumstances.
More than a third of people responding to this newspaper's recent patient survey said they were "very happy" with their treatment at A&E - the most positive rating available.
The survey asked patients to rate their experiences of A&E departments at Ipswich, Colchester, West Suffolk and James Paget hospitals.
It follows the release of NHS performance figures which revealed the worst waiting times on record with more than a fifth of A&E patients, nationally, waiting more than the benchmark of four hours to be seen.
Although local providers performed better than the national average - nearly a fifth of patients claimed to have waited more than four hours.
Many comments praised staff for their work in challenging conditions.
One patient said: "Although busy, I was treated very well and efficiently."
Another added that it was a "long evening wait" but praised the "excellent treatment".
Staff were praised as "absolutely brilliant", "fantastic" and "excellent".
Although most responses were positive, 13% of patients said they were "very unhappy". Complaints included patients not receiving pain relief for hours, cancelled operations and an older person with dementia being left on a trolley for nine hours due to a lack of beds.
Catherine Morgan, chief nurse at East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust which runs Colchester and Ipswich hospitals, said: "Providing high quality care and seeing and treating patients as quickly as possible in our emergency departments is one of our top priorities.
"We appreciate all patient feedback, positive or negative, and encourage people to take part in the family and friends test before they go home. They can also share their experiences with our PALS (Patient Advice and Liaison Service) or independently with Healthwatch Essex and Healthwatch Suffolk.
"When people come to ED it can be a very worrying and stressful time and some patients are very unwell. Our teams work incredibly hard every day to care for those people when they need it most and we will continue to listen to our patients so we can improve the service even further."
Helen Beck, executive chief operating officer at the West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, said: "We are really pleased to hear that so many patients have been happy with the quality of care they have received in our emergency department.
"There is always room for improvement, and we want to continue to ensure that all patients have the best experience possible when they come through our doors. We welcome patients and families who have feedback they'd like to share, whether positive or on things we can improve, to get in touch with us."
Hospitals said patients could also share experiences via PALS on 01284 712555 (West Suffolk) 01206 742 683 (Colchester), 01473 704781 (Ipswich) or 01493 453240 (James Paget).
Stroke patient said staff were 'kind, careful and very helpful'
A 70-year-old woman who was taken to Ipswich Hospital after suffering a stroke has praised the staff who cared for her as " absolutely first class".
Joan Clarke, who lives in the Mid Suffolk area, was admitted to A&E on a busy Friday night after calling for an ambulance, whose staff she also praised as "great and very caring".
"I think I might have broken the 'target time' in A&E but I didn't ever feel they weren't on top of things and got up to a ward quite quickly," she said.
"All the people I came into contact with at the hospital were lovely.
"It might have been a Friday night but they were kind, careful and very helpful.
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"They sent me for a scan to assess what was happening, monitored me for a while and sent me up to a ward.
"My biggest worry was arranging someone to care for my pets while I was away and how quickly I could get back to them."
'We can't praise the NHS highly enough'
A grandfather praised the "absolutely brilliant" staff at West Suffolk Hospital who treated his 72-year-old wife after she was admitted suffering with breathing difficulties.
John Hassey thanked all the emergency workers involved in caring for his wife, Patricia, who has a long-standing medical condition involving her blood vessels.
Mr Hassey said the 111 call handler was excellent and also praised the quick and efficient work of ambulance staff who took his wife to hospital.
She later had an x-ray, medication and was taken to the coronary care unit, where more tests were carried out before moving to a ward to recover.
"We are both enjoying life and cannot praise the NHS and West Suffolk Hospital highly enough," Mr Hassey said.
"They were absolutely brilliant."
'Never had such bad treatment'
A mother-of-four claims she was sent home from West Suffolk Hospital despite being in "severe pain" following an ankle injury.
Haley-Louise Rolph, 39, said the pain from twisting her ankle was so bad she passed out and had an asthma attack while being rushed to A&E.
After a four hour wait without painkillers, she said she was sent home on crutches. She returned to A&E complaining of "extreme pain" but said she was sent home again.
She was then referred to an orthopaedic surgeon - but claimed she slipped on a wet floor at the hospital when attending her appointment. Ms Rolph, who lives in Lakenheath said her injury meant she was unable to drive or walk. "I have never had such bad treatment," she said, I was made to feel like I was making a fuss for nothing."
Ms Rolph said she had since had a diagnosis of complex regional pain syndrome and still suffered today.
West Suffolk Hospital did not comment on the claims.