Greg Lance – Watkins
Everyone should read this brilliant NHS ‘complaint’ letter
In June, Yael Biran fell and broke her elbow, so she headed to her local NHS hospital.
But the mother-of-two, an animator from south-east-London, was so disappointed with aspects of the care she received that she wrote to Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust’s patient advice and liaison service.
Dear Lewisham PALs,
I would like to complain about a visit I had to your A&E department on Monday the 15th of June 2015. Sorry in advance for my language, but this really upset me.
On Monday the 15th of June I fell and knew I broke something (turns out I broke my elbow) So I went to Lewisham A&E.
I came armed with a book to help me pass the waiting time! Actually enjoying the fact that I am going to get to read a book for a chance!
But no… the bloody nurse sees me in 6 minutes! 6 ruddy minutes! all I had time for was to send a text, settle down, get my glasses out and find the right page, and they bloody call me in!
She then sends me to have an X-ray and says I need to sit in the x-ray waiting room.
Yay, I think, a waiting room – I will get to read my book!
And so I don’t even bother to put anything back in the bag and happily skip to the x-ray waiting area, book in hand and glasses on top of head. I sit down and get seen within 37 seconds. the B^^&@s!*
All done and dusted and 5 minutes later I skip to the next waiting area to wait for the next nurse to see me.
By that point I think I owe myself a chocolate from the vending machine but waste 5 minutes trying to make it work (it didn’t – at least there is one thing you can count on in this A&E!) I then sit down comfortably, happy in the notion that surly, now… I will get at least a couple of chapters… but no!
2 minutes later I get to see the next nurse who is an absolute gem and is super nice, she explains everything, gives me a sling, and a tetanus shot and sends me on my way home! home! bloody rubbish!
I left home and came back in less than 2 hours! Seriously! something must be done about this! what is a mum to do in order to get a few hours of quiet reading in this country???!!!
Sincerely yours, A frustrated mother of 2 little boys who don’t give her a second’s rest.
P.S. You rock! 🙂
Yael originally posted a version of this letter on her Facebook page, but after being inundated with likes and comments, decided to actually send it to the hospital.
Within a day the trust’s chief executive had replied.
Tim Higginson wrote: “It is always refreshing to receive a ‘complaint’ such as this which has brought a smile to the faces of many of our staff who were involved in highlighting it for my attention. Although, admittedly, I may not be able to sympathise with being a mum of two demanding boys, I can fully empathise with the challenges of finding some peace and quiet to read a good book.
“I’m sorry that your treatment in our [emergency department] didn’t afford you that time but naturally I’m delighted that your experience was clearly a positive one and that you have taken the time to write to us about it. I do hope that your elbow is healing and you are recovering well.”
The letter then made it on to the hospital’s newsletter and has since been shared hundreds of times on Facebook.
Speaking to i100.co.uk, Yael said her elbow had recovered, but during a routine follow-up visit to the hospital she again was denied the chance to carry on with her book (Fugitive Pieces by Anne Mitchell) due to efficient staff .
“I think people are fed up with hearing bad things about the NHS because everyone loves it,” she said. “It’s a good thing to speak up when something goes right.”
Lewisham A&E and maternity services were at once point earmarked for closure despite being a successfully-run hospital without any debt issues. More than 20,000 people demonstrated against the closure and the High Court eventually ruled in favour of campaigners, finding the planned closure was unlawful.
However, tentative proposals for reforming health services in south-east London have suggested integrating some services, setting alarm bells ringing for some campaigners.
More: Nation of diabetics using 10% of NHS drugs budget
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