'Everyone was just amazing' - Your A&E experience stories

Terry Hawes and Tom Grayling are among patients that have shared the care they have received at A&E across Norfolk. 

Terry Hawes and Tom Grayling are among patients that have shared the care they have received at A&E across Norfolk. - Credit: Terry Hawes, Tom Grayling, Sonya Duncan

Record A&E attendance numbers continue to put the region's NHS services under pressure at a time staff work to reduce a surgery backlog and treat Covid-19 patients.

July saw all three of the region's trusts report record attendance figures with more than 34,000 people going to accident and emergency.

But in a week where patients have experienced waits up to nine hours and staff dealing with more abuse than before, our readers have shared their stories of how staff still go above and beyond to give amazing levels of care. 

Tom Grayling has praised the treatment he received after a football injury. 

Tom Grayling has praised the treatment he received after a football injury. - Credit: Cameron Grayling

Tom Grayling

The 34-year-old, who lives off Drayton High Road, Norwich, was 30 minutes into a football match for Eaton Eagles on August 14, when he fractured his leg,

The momentum of the tackle and how he landed meant he fractured his fibia, dislocated his ankle and tore two ligaments. 


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The injured footballer said an ambulance arrived within 30 minutes of 999 being called. 

He said: "The response was amazing, I was half expecting to be there for a while."

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He was transported to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and taken into A&E. 

Tom Grayling has praised the treatment he received after a football injury. 

Tom Grayling has praised the treatment he received after a football injury. - Credit: Cameron Grayling

After X-rays, he was transferred to a ward to have surgery the next day, his 34th birthday. 

Mr Grayling said: "I do not know a lot of people who had surgery for their birthday. 

"The surgery was around an hour and a half, two hours, it felt like 12 seconds. 

"Everyone was just amazing. They are clearly busy, they are clearly working hard. I'm not saying they had all the time in the world to deal with me, that's not true, but the attention I needed, they took care of me when I needed it most. It was such a well oiled machine."

Mr Grayling estimates around 40 people were involved in his care. 

Tom Grayling has praised the treatment he received after a football injury. 

Tom Grayling has praised the treatment he received after a football injury. - Credit: Tom Grayling

He said: "They did such a brilliant job for me. I have never needed the NHS and when I did need it, it came through for me.

"There has been a lot about waiting times. I didn't see anything like that, I saw people doing their best." 

Tom Smith

The Smith family was on holiday in Wells on July 28 when their three-year-old daughter Olivia tripped on some steps and banged her arm playing in the garden.

The family live in Hertford and were sent by 111 staff to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, in King's Lynn.

Her dad Tom, said: "Nobody saw it, but she showed us what she did, and after a while said she couldn't straighten her arm with pain inside. We rang 111 who said they'd call back.

"We were already preparing to head to QEH when 111 called back with an appointment at the ED in around 45mins. It would take us 40mins to drive there.

"My wife entered ED, checked in, went straight to the kids' ED, was seen straight away, interviewed by the nurse, and pain meds were given.

"We waited in the waiting room for less than a minute before being seen by the consultant who manipulated her joint back to normal.

"Due to Olivia's age, her joints are still not fully formed, so her mobility was instantly back to normal with no pain.

"The consultant was fantastic with her, gave her some biscuits and had an excellent rapport."

Further coronavirus deaths have been announced at the Queen Elizabeth and Norfolk and Norwich hospit

The region's three hospitals continue to report high A&E attendances. - Credit: Archant

Ruth Dockerty

In March, the Irstead resident required emergency treatment after falling over a box in the kitchen, breaking her arm in two places.

Her husband drove her to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital to save waiting for an ambulance, but under restrictions entered A&E on her own.

Mrs Dockerty said when she was called for X-rays after four and half hour, the process was quick and referred for an appointment at the fracture clinic the next day.

She said communication was key for patients, who needed reassurance they would be seen.

She said: "I can honestly say it was the hardest four-and-a-half hours I have ever known. Once booked in nobody spoke to me, or any of the other patients.

"I couldn’t even open a bottle of water I had taken in to have painkillers as my arm was so painful.

"I understood the department was busy, but a friendly non-medical person would have been helpful, just to reassure us we would be seen, and to help with any problems we had.

"Obviously, no one had any family member with them so we were all facing our own difficulties alone.

"I felt a lot more could have been done to basically reassure us that we would be seen."

However, she said: "I do not blame A&E or the nurses at all, it would have just been nice to have communication.

"When I was treated, it was very quick and I got an X-ray and an appointment to go to the fracture clinic the next day."

Mrs Dockerty would have travelled to Cromer minor injuries unit, which was closed at the time due to staff assisting in the pandemic.

Terry Hawes, from Hainford, was airlifted to hospital after suffering a major heart attack.

Terry Hawes, from Hainford, was airlifted to hospital after suffering a major heart attack. - Credit: Hawes family

Terry Hawes

The 70-year-old from Hainford praised the speed of emergency services after he suffered a heart attack on August 19.

He was at Pinewoods, in Wells, preparing his family's new holiday caravan when he was suddenly taken ill. 

East of England Ambulance Service's cycling paramedics were first on the scene and carried out an ECG which showed Mr Hawes was having a major heart attack. 

He said; "I was feeling a bit unwell when they had gone and felt a bit faint. I did faint and I was out for a couple of seconds. 

"I needed the swiftest of possible responses and everybody played their part to an incredible degree."

An ambulance was redirected to the caravan park and the air ambulance deployed which would transport Mr Hawes to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. 

He was conscious the whole time and underwent an operation to have stents inserted. 

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