Parents ‘took sick girl to another A&E’

VISIT: Healthwatch Lancashire team at the Royal Preston Hospital

VISIT: Healthwatch Lancashire team at the Royal Preston Hospital

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A parent has revealed how after a two-hour wait in Royal Preston Hospital’s accident and emergency department they took their daughter out of casualty, laid her in their car and drove her to Liverpool for treatment.

The girl was admitted and kept in a Walton Centre ward for some days and the parent reported: “She was discharged to come back to RPH but I refused for her to come back.”

The criticism is just one revealed in a new report published by health watchdog Healthwatch Lancashire.

Another patient said the critical care department was “very disorganised” commenting she had been glad her mother was there to look after her: She wrote: “They were all over the place. If my mum hadn’t been there to look after me I probably wouldn’t be here now.”

There were also complaints about waiting times and delays in the fracture clinic.

Meanwhile, in the urology department there was a complaint about having to eat other people’s meals: “A concern was raised about food on a ward stating that when you did come into a bed on a ward you have to eat a meal a previous patient has ordered which they did not feel was good.”

But it was not all complaints, with patients reporting that staff in the maternity unit were “really good and they felt looked after”, another praising staff in the rehabilitation unit as “always smiling.”

Overall the hospital got a 3.9 out of five rating for overall experience, with scores of one deemed poor and five excellent. Cleanliness was rated four, quality of service and medical treatment 4.1 and care and compassion for staff 4.2. Waiting times earned the lowest score with a rating of 3.4.

Healthwatch Lancashire had sent a team into the hospital in December to record people’s views with the aim of influencing service improvement.

After learning of the verdict from some 106 patients and relatives the hospital said it had shared the feedback with key staff. Improvements already under way at the hospital include:

• Installing extra seating on corridors to make it easier for patients with mobility problems to get around

• Increasing the availability of wheelchairs for patients who may need one on arrival

• The hospital says it will consider installing a chilled water machine for patients and visitors attending the fracture clinic.

Steve O’Brien, associate director of Quality at the Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust noted waiting times at the hospital were still a cause for concern.

In his feedback to Healthwatch he wrote: “Waiting times continue to be a challenge for us as the number of patients attending our hospitals increases significantly every year.

“However we are confident there are changes we can make to how we work to improve our processes to provide our patients with a better experience and we will continue to work closely with Healthwatch Lancashire and others to deliver excellent care with compassion.”

He added: “We are continuously seeking feedback from patients in a number of ways, from the friends and family test to informal comments we hear on the wards, and we collate and review all of this valuable insight to see what we can improve. We will of course consider the findings.”

Healthwatch senior manager Sheralee Turner-Birchall said: “Patient and relatives input into the way services are run can be invaluable as they have an experience that staff can’t access.”

Sometimes seeing services from their point of view opens up real opportunities for improvement that may not have already been considered.”

The report can be read at www.healthwatchlancashire.co.uk/reports