Reduced weekend service

My father – who is in the late stages of lung cancer that has spread through his body – was recently admitted to the Carlton/Coleby ward with a suspected respiratory problem.

He has been suffering a lot of pain in recent weeks and was prescribed decently sized doses of strong painkillers, which were just about coping with the pain. Then on admittance to the Carlton/Coleby ward, the pain management team lowered his dosage. He suffered a long drawn out night of high pain on the Friday night of his admittance, continuing through the Saturday morning.

He was clearly suffering when I went to see him Saturday afternoon. We asked the nurse about getting a higher dosage of pain relief, who initially said that this wasn’t possible. After a bit of persistence, it transpired we could call the doctor, who would be able to assess and potentially prescribe a higher dosage. The nurse told us the doctor would be around in “5 – 10 minutes”.

Minutes came and went, while my father continued to suffer – reduced to tears because of the pain. Eventually, over two hours after initially being called, the doctor arrived. After a couple of questions, the doctor was then distracted and disappeared for 10 minutes. After re-appearing and asking a few more questions, she agreed to increase his pain relief medication, although I wasn’t instilled with a high confidence in this assessment. When I left the hospital, almost 3 hours after the initial call to the doctor, he still hadn’t been given his new medication.

During this whole process, it was revealed to us that a “reduced service” runs at the weekends. In this case, from 24 doctors serving up to 168 patients during the week, to just 1 doctor at the weekend. This is obviously a drastic reduction, and is unacceptable. It’s not just a reduced service, it’s pretty much non-existent. My father was essentially forced through hours and hours of pain because the pain management team under-dosed, and there were no doctors available to increase the dosage. Had he been admitted at the start of the week, this would not have been the case.

The nurses, despite some early reticence, were very co-operative once pushed, and were visibly doing a good job on the ward. And despite my lack of confidence in the young doctor, I realise she was in a difficult position being on call to 6 wards, and it wasn’t her fault she was doing this work alone. The problem is obviously with the numbers of doctors available. I would expect a reasonable (maximum) reduction of service to be of the order of 4 doctors per ward to 1 per ward – I. e. a 75% reduction. Instead, they are running at a 96% reduced service for 2 days of the week. I’m not quite sure how this is acceptable, and is particularly unfortunate for those who happen to suffer at the weekend.


Brilliant doctor – patient care ruined by nurse attitudes and lack of bedside manner

After 3 wks of abdo pain I was instructed by my GP, that if my complaint worsened to go to A&E. 2 wks after that it did, so as instructed I went where I managed to tell the triage nurse “abdo pain & diarrhoea” (perhaps I should have said change in bowel habits). Immediately she threw her head in her hands and seemed to be berating me for going there, “we don’t want you here, we don’t like diarrhoea, this is ridiculous etc”. My GP had told me to do this so I didn’t appreciate this apparent level of unprofessionalism when I was worried about my condition anyway.

I was immediately whisked into a barrier room, with no explanation as to what was happening and no chance to ask if someone could tell my dad who came with me where I was. I had to text him. Nobody asked if I came with anyone. I texted dad to knock on the A&E door where the staff then told him I wasn’t in A & E and that I should be in the waiting room.

Unsurprisingly they seemed to forget about me. They had parked a cleaning trolley in front of the door with no window that had to stay shut. It felt like I was literally put in that room and forgotten about. When dad finally found me, I was so upset and overwhelmed I burst into tears and when he asked the nurse what was happening, she said in what I found an impatient and abrupt way “I did tell you it would be a 2-3 hour wait for a consultant”. Which she definitely did not and if I was that contagious like they must have thought, 2-3 hours seems a ridiculous time to keep me in isolation with my dad being allowed to come and go as he liked. He had to remove his coat but was allowed to bring it into the barrier room with me – is this ‘containment’?

I wasn’t even allowed to the toilet. I had a commode wheeled in, with no toilet paper and had to hold the doors shut while I was using it because the various nurses didn’t knock when coming in. How many nurses were working on my case I don’t kow because there were so many faces peeking in the door I felt like a circus show.

Nurses snapped at me and I felt like an inconvenience to them. One nurse was very rough when removing the cannula from my hand I couldn’t wait to get out of there to be honest even though my case is ongoing.

The doctor was fabulous, can’t fault her one bit. The nurses I met however need to sort their attitudes to patients out. I was worried and upset anyway, fine put your gown and gloves on but you won’t catch anything from talking to me. I won’t bite. I felt like an experiment to be honest. The doc was brilliant but the nurses did nothing to attempt to explain what was happening despite me being on the verge of tears from frustration.

Bedside manner was lacking among the nurses I met. I appreciate they work long hours in a stressful environment but if they can’t hack it they shouldn’t be in A&E. You can know everything about procedures and infection control but if you make patients feel rubbish in the meantime, you are not a good practitioner.


Very poor customer service

I had a heart attack in early March and was treated at Lincoln Hospital where a stent was fitted. I left Lincoln 2 days later to travel back home to Redhill. The following week I saw my GP who faxed a referral to East Surrey 48 hours later. I contacted East Surrey 3 days after the fax had been sent and they denied receiving any referral. I went back to my GP who confirmed it was sent. I again contacted ES the following day and received the same denial. I contacted them again the next day and yes they did have it and confirmed it had arrived 5 days previously by fax?! I asked when my appointment would be and they did not know. I have contacted repeatedly nearly every day to find out when my appointment is. Lincoln Hospital offered me one within 2 weeks and I assumed that ES would perform in a similar timely way. Not a chance!

Today, I have had verbal acknowledgement that the referral has been received and has been to a consultant and is back at ‘bookings’ to be allocated an appointment. Your telephonist could not/would not tell me when the appointment is except to confirm that it will be within a month of the referral, so in other words within less than two weeks from now.

Personally, I am emotionally distraught at not knowing why I had the heart attack and I am told I need to see a specialist who will be able to tell me why. From a taxpayer perspective, I cannot understand why you have taken so long to just allocate an appointment for me (noting that this is not yet received) when there is a 10% chance of a complication happening in the first few months with the treatment I have had.

If I am unfortunate to have a problem in the short term then you will be forced to react to an emergency instead of proactively handling remedial actions in a considered and economical manner. This is not to mention the risk you are putting me under as well as the additional emotional stress. Please can you explain why this scenario above has happened and what measures you are taking to ensure this poor performance is improved to that expected in a modern society.

Bramble Daddy

Dedicated staff on on Hatton Ward

My father-in-law spent two weeks in Hatton Ward and at all times we were most impressed with the quality of care and attention he received. The staff were all first class and could not be faulted.

Nothing was too much trouble even though this is a very busy ward. Apart from the high level of service, the thing that stood out was the fact that the medical staff treated us as intelligent individuals and took time and care to explain things very clearly to us, so that we could understand what they were doing and the likely outcomes.

Special thanks must go to Dr. Thomas and David the male nurse who was with us when father-in-law sadly passed away. David very kindly stayed on beyond the end of his shift to give us support. This really underlines the level of dedication and professionalism displayed by the staff on this ward.

It is very easy to be critical of services received and this clearly has a role to play in improving services. However, it is equally important to give positive feedback and to praise staff who do a wonderful job in challenging circumstances.

Be positive


Had earphones in could not hear music for noise people talking one very loud most about their problems all time ( should be a quiet ralaxe.

Atmosphere as with other departments (certainly this was not )



Had earphones in could not hear music for noise women talking one very loud most about her problems all time ( should be a quiet ralaxe.

Atmosphere as with other departments (certainly this was not )


sensitive care for autistic person

I brought my autistic 19 year old son to the X-Ray Department for an ultrasound today.

He was adamant that he wanted a male sonographer so we asked the receptionist when we arrived.

They apologised that there are not any male sonographers at this clinic.

However, they immediately offered to find a male chaperone and said they would alert the sonographer to my son’s concerns.

He was escorted by a male chaperone to the screening room within 5 minutes of arriving.

Having said on the way to the hospital that he would not go through with the procedure if it was done by a woman, the reassurance and presence of a man in the room, coupled with the sensitivity of all staff to his need for modesty and discretion, enabled the procedure to be completed succesfully.

Thank you for this very prompt and sensitive care of a vulnerable and anxious young man.


The care could have been better

The nursing care was ok. It could of been better, but the staff are under so much pressure due to a lack of qualified staff.

On one ward the main nurse appeared to do nothing to help patients. When asked for something she would put the work onto other staff. For exp. one patient had a drip alarm sounding. She walked passed it loads of times, I felt it was getting on her nerves. But would she turn it off. No. But she told another member of staff to do it.

That poor girl was working so hard. But when it went off again the nurse went to find the girl to get her to turn it off. It would of been quicker to do it herself. The male nurse was fantastic. He always had time for his patients.

On short stay cardiac ward they were good. Only problem was 24 patients and only 2 qualified nurses. Meaning each one had to care for 12 patients. This is not good for the nurses. I don’t mind who reads this.