Grandmother angry at long wait in A&E
A GRANDMOTHER claims she is now house-ridden after being left waiting for treatment at East Surrey Hospital.
Iolanda Birmingham was suffering spasms in the accident and emergency department and claims the time it took to see her has caused lasting damage.
The 57-year-old from Maidenbower visited the hospital on May 21 for an appointment for her back and was taken ill while there.
She said: "I have paroxysmal dystonia which is a neurological condition.
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"It is a cross between multiple sclerosis, motor neurone disease and Parkinson's, so it's a movement disorder. I've had it since I was 21.
"During my examination, something happened to trigger a really nasty episode."
During such episodes her whole body suffers spasms and she is unable to control her limbs.
She said: "I had a bad episode years ago and it meant I was bed- ridden for five years."
When she was suddenly left in agonising pain in the outpatients department Mrs Birmingham was taken to accident and emergency.
She said: "The nurses in the outpatients were great, they rang ahead to let the A&E department know I was coming. I couldn't fault them. I got down to A&E at about 4.30pm. I was so uncomfortable and they just left me sitting there.
"If there is anything which makes it more uncomfortable, it's sitting down."
Mrs Birmingham, from Heathcotes, says she was in such pain that other patients thought she was having a stroke and alerted members of staff.
But she claims she was still not seen until 7.45pm – spending much of the time while she was waiting lying on the floor on coats lent to her by patients.
When she was eventually seen she was given medication and discharged but claims she is now in much more pain than she was before and is unable to leave her house.
The grandmother of five said: "I was not treated with any dignity.
"There was no respect for me and I'm not prepared to accept this kind of treatment."
On May 23, Mrs Birmingham made a formal complaint.
A spokesman for Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust said: "We are very sorry to hear Mrs Birmingham felt the care she received was not adequate.
"Ms Birmingham has complained and we are investigating the points she raised.
"The vast majority of our patients report receiving good to excellent care. Where this is not the case we will investigate and put in place measures to address any failings found."
The spokesman added that after investing £14 million in new wards, waiting times in accident and emergency have been "dramatically cut".
He said: "We have more consultants delivering hands-on care and it is very rare now that anyone waits over four hours.
"Patients can be fully confident that they will be seen quickly and treated appropriately by all staff in the department."