My personal matters were discussed by some staff members

Whilst admitted to Brockham ward in late March, I was made to feel intimidated by certain staff members who I felt were chatting/gossiping about my private/personal matters with other staff members. I believe the 2 staff members in question were warned many times by a concerned staff nurse who was looking after my best interests and was most certainly adhering to hospital policy. I cannot name the 2 staff members who I overheard gossiping about me throughout my stay. I am an alcoholic in recovery and my children are subject to CP plan so I feel vunerable and am already on anti anxiety meds as prescribed by my GP. I would rather not bother going into hospital and suffer the pain I was trying to get rid of than be publicly humiliated like this


My Grandfather’s last days

I start my story from the last days of my granfathers life after a 12 week battle of complaints direct to Wansbeck’s CEO and complaints people trying to save his life and ensure things are done properly.

I get a phone call from ward 8, granddad has deteriorated again. My son and I head up there. His score was 6 early in the morning now back to 2 Whilst there he gets some blood back from the lab, we are told to gown up and gloves on, granddad is still MRSA positive. The woman visiting the patient in the bed opposite looks horrified. We gown up on a 6 bed bay ward just outside granddad’s bed. I feel for the woman opposite, she has just overheard that her husband is sharing a bay with a man with MRSA.

Dr came to see us before that to express concern and advise they are still treating granddad, however the next 72 hours will give us the direction this is going in. Dr tells me he’s very ill despite being brighter yesterday.

The gent in the next bed seems anxious. I ask my son to advise the nurses he comes back and tells me that he has been advised that R doesn’t need the loo he has a catheter, I then go and tell the nurse R is agitated, the nurse comes along, thanks me for advising him but does nothing, 2 mins later 2 other nurses come in and find they need to change R and make him more comfortable. R is left to rest behind closed curtains. Why couldn’t the first nurse see this and do something about it?

Another patient is wearing granddad’s slippers, his daughter gives them back to me. Her comments are who is watching these patients? My answer would be no one, they fend themselves but I kept my mouth shut.

I was a committed NHS person, always gave more hours than I received in pay, I have the belief we have a duty to give as much as we can, its better than simply taking. I love my job, but this experience challenges my loyalty, I feel like telling it to them all straight, you could have done this better it didn’t have to be like this, just a 12 week catalogue of disasters where opportunities were given to improve, and they were simply missed. I’m not looking for blame just improvement and change to ensure people learn by experience and make sure it doesn’t happen again.

I tell the nurse that announcing that my grandfather has MRSA with other visitors present is not acceptable. Her words are that X told me to tell you that you need to have pinnies on. I will not name the nurse, its part of a culture so hardly her fault. I cannot be rational at the moment. I tell X he can tell Jim Mackay after tonight’s episode forget talking, I’m too upset and emotional to deal with this right now. Angry isn’t the word. I’m devastated.

I go back to check on granddad he’s brightened up since the drip has started working his eyes are open, he winked at me and I got a smile when I told him I would be back. I held back the tears until I got in my car then I could not hold them back any longer, when will this nightmare end for us both?

24th May 2009

There’s no fight left in me today, I hold grandad’s hand its as if we have both given up.

25th May 2009

7:11 am I get a call to say granddad has deteriorated further I need to go in. There is nowhere for my granddad to die with dignity, there are no spare side wards. I am shown the plan of the ward and asked to pick a corner. I picked the corner that would be the least disruptive to other patients. Being asked to pick a corner for my grandfather to die in, what has happened to dignity? Those words haunt me to this day.

Dr explains that Granddad is to be put on the dying patients care pathway, I ask if they can allow him to go home to die, But granddad died later that day at 5:11pm during tea time and visiting behind a curtain. I said my good byes, I’m numb and my heart is broken.

12 weeks of hell behind me leads a two year wait for an inquest.

I believe it’s not an isolated case, it’s the norm. I say ask the 2500 members of Cure the NHS North East.


A lack of regard for people as individuals

My dad was admitted to D3 Royal Blackburn Hospital in September. I could write a book about his ‘care’ and treatment from the NHS since June last year, but am not going into detail at this point as I do not wish to prejudice any future investigations. However I have read other reports about this ward and feel I have to add my views.

My dad was told that his condition was progressive and that there was nothing more medically to be done. Looking back I believe he was then ‘written off’. In late Oct we were told he could be discharged and arranged nursing care. A nurse told us she would do his continuing health care form but that it was ‘a big job’ and she couldn’t promise to do it quickly – three weeks later, after some pushing from us, it was done.

In that time my dad was in bed, catheterised, often without pyjama trousers, often wearing hospital issue pyjama tops, whilst having at least 4 pairs of his own in his cupboard. He would tell us he was cold but daren’t ask for extra blankets because he was made to feel like a nuisance. He told me there was one nurse he really didn’t like but wouldn’t tell me who or why because he was afraid what might happen when we weren’t there.

One day, as he was falling asleep I gave him a pot to put his bottom teeth in as they were falling out. I left the pot on his cabinet. A few days later he began to complain about not enjoying his food, I asked him where his teeth where – he didn’t know. I found the teeth, in the pot without water, at the back of his drawer – now my dad was bed bound so he couldn’t have put them there, nor could he get out of bed to find them. I left them on his table. The next day they had disappeared.

My mother, my brothers and myself asked staff on at least five occasions to look for them – dad was at this point having difficulty eating and wasn’t enjoying his food – coincidence? – not according to the staff on D3, some of whom thought the loss of teeth was funny. At no time did anyone ever attempt to find them, fobbing us off with ‘we can’t do anything at weekend’! At the end of my tether at what I was beginning to believe was neglect I emailed the Chief Executive -the teeth appeared the next day – coincidence? They were on the ward all along in a pot marked ‘lost teeth’. Disgraceful. They probably would still be there if I hadn’t sent that email.

My dad had his own nivea shaver but was shaved with a cheap disposable razor – no one ever bothered to take his own razor out of the drawer for him and give it him to shave himself.

His care plan mentioned spiritual needs – no one bothered to ask him about these, despite my mum asking for a priest to visit on the day he was admitted. We eventually found the priest who told us that as staff don’t have faith themselves they often disregard patients faith and spiritual needs – that is wrong and just further confirms my belief that patients coming to the end of their life are not seen as individuals to be cared for and respected.

We finally managed to reach a day for discharge – it was a fiasco and very traumatic. Dad was ill and it was touch and go whether he would be discharged. We arrived at 2pm to find him on a stretcher with ambulance crew ready to take him to the nursing home. I went with him. He does not remember much about the journey but he does remember a quite distressing part of it, which at the time, being in a daze as we were literally pushed off the ward, I had not noticed he had no trousers on, or not even socks to keep his feet warm. My 85 year father was discharged from ward D3 and sent halfway across town in November without trousers or socks and just a blanket covering him. He was neglected, his basic care needs were not addressed, his dignity was disregarded, all because someone could not be bothered.

My dad does not remember the journey, but he does remember and is very aware that he has been left without trousers very often whilst on ward D3. This distresses him, he thought it was because he had no clean clothes, and is now constantly asking us where his clean trousers are.

Thankfully we got dad out of that ward. He is now in a nursing home where he is getting real care by people who really do care about him. For the first time in a lot of weeks I have peace of mind when I leave him, knowing he will be helped to eat and drink if needed – not left to starve and dehydrate if he can’t do it himself, that he can ask for anything he wants without fear of being made to feel a nuisance, and most importantly that he has peace of mind.

My dad is an intelligent, very tolerant man, with an extremely heightened sense of justice and fair play. He is not one to complain loudly, and is of a generation which believed nurses and doctors were authority figures. In recent months his body has begun to let him down, but his mind remained as sharp as ever – he has battled to keep it that way, but his care on Ward D3 has contributed to distress and confusion.

I believe that had we not moved dad to a nursing home when we did, he would have died on ward D3 in the last few days.

I intend to pursue my complaints about D3 for the sake of other patients who may not have anyone to speak up for them. My daughter overheard two staff discussing a patient who had been readmitted – ‘oh for **** sake, he’s back. He gets on my bloody nerves’. Would you want to be cared for by them? I know I wouldn’t.


Amazing care given.

My elderly Mother was admitted just prior to Christmas last year via A&E direct unit, her stay was extended as I had developed a chest infection. The immediate attention was amazing, as was the efficiency and patience of the staff (Mothers dementia) within their resources available, they cared most sensitively for her.

My son was admitted to A&E during this summer with a bowel blockage, this was a Sunday early evening. He was admitted and attended to immediately – pain relief given and monitored. There were many people there that evening, but my son received pain relief and observation together with other tests to properly assess his condition. 3am plus, a Doctor now being given Xray results as well, was able to transfer him to a ward with a direct action plan.

I cannot praise you enough – Thank you so much x



Excellent service given at BDGH by the consultant and nurse on 3.9.15. I was put at ease from the off and called in early, always a plus.

I felt fully informed about my condition, was invited to ask questions which were answered as simply as possible. I was able to make an informed choice about my treatment plan. Thank you


Still waitin about 7 weeks now

For over a year I have bin porly was told ibs no Wone listen to me even own docs till I see a dif doc sent me boston west who were great that found 32 polyps so been referred to pilgrim who I’m still waitin see speshilist Iv had results for 3 me polyps wich fine still no wone has told me bout biopsy results Iv got have all these polyps removed I have uther stuff gowing on even my own docs have bin on to ward said that phone me make point ment joke no wone keep getting told uther people’s fort I just want to no what thay plan on dowing and wen I no thay very busy but I’m 32 I have child to think bout o and I don’t have ibs wich I’m still very not happy no wone was listening to me I no my own body went in A&E as the pain I get tummy looks like I gona have twins not much help fed up now


F19 – nothing but priase.

Hospitals receive bad press so often that I feel compelled to share our very positive story even with a sad outcome.

Our Mum was brought by us,after consulting her GP to the AMRU at QMC. She was in total state of confusion and from the moment we walked through the doors we had nothing but total professional support and care. When mum deteriorated we had a side room and prompt care. Even though they were short staffed in the unit, if we asked for help we got it. My daughter and I stayed with her the whole time until she was moved to a ward and admitted. We were also looked after and advised at every stage. Mum was eventually moved to F19. The doctor and the team on the ward looked after Mum as if she were their own. She made friends with the staff, was no trouble (their views) and was trying to remain independent. Sadly she took a downward turn. The doctor was so caring and thoughtful. They spoke to me frankly and with compassion – if I asked a question they answered it – there was nothing I didn’t know about Mums case and her end of life care plan. The doctor juggled the ward in a heartbeat so that Mum could have the privacy of a side room. They made sure she was comfortable and pain free. The nursing staff were so professional and caring. Again we only asked for help if we really needed it and they always came – short staffed or not. The nurses were there to help us at the end in the final hours but without exception, the entire team were professional, loving and caring and we could not have asked for a single thing more from them. There is no better care out there. Thank you all again. Sue (eldest daughter) On behalf of Eileen Powell’s Family.

Sue Wright

Delays with my daughter’s orthodontic care

My daughter is undergoing Orthodontic treatment at the Princess Royal Hospital In Telford Shropshire. We reveived a letter to say her appoinment had been cancelled. On telephoning the department I was told that her orthodontist was no longer at the hospital and she could have no further appointment. The receptionist was very short in her response and said there was nothing she could do. My daughter currently has an appliance in her mouth, we are now left with no way of knowing what her future treatment plan is. The hospital have a duty of care to my daughter, I feel we have been let down on this occassion.


What should have been a routine-ish birth became an emergency, totally unnecessarily

My wife was admitted to have our first baby induced at 42 weeks of pregnancy. We were nervous as first-time parents, especially as a midwife at the hospital had dismissed our request for an elective Caesarian out of hand, despite a family history of needing Caesarians.

My wife stayed overnight, with some pain and sickness, on her own, as relatives are not allowed to stay. But worse was to come. She was in a lot of pain when I arrived the next morning, but was not allowed an epidural until being admitted into the delivery suite – because of a shortage of beds, this didn’t happen until the evening. So her mother and I took turns in nursing her through the pain of contractions for 6 hours – and, in case you think we are being wimps about this, they did not get any stronger when she eventually gave birth.

But worse was to come… My wife started bleeding quite a lot, and the staff (who were largely sympathetic) seemed concerned, although because they could not get her admitted to the delivery suite, kept giving us the usual reassurances. Eventually, becoming ever more concerned about the situation, I was forced to take action myself, and sought out the hospital’s Chief Executive. To her credit, she took immediate action, resulting in my wife being admitted to the delivery suite. Which did not appear to be full.

And it gets worse. My wife was told to push for some time, but it became apparent that the doctor – who had been called by this time – was concerned about something. That something being our baby’s heartbeat falling to dangerously low levels whenever my wife pushed. He was stuck.

After a bit of toing and froing, the doctor told us that they were going to take my wife into theatre, and had to get him out within 15 minutes, or an emergency Caesarian would be required. The doctor didn’t think the baby was particularly large, but would use forceps to get him out – despite the fact that our birth plan specifically asked them not to use forceps (which are banned in the US and Brazil, as they are considered dangerous). If a Caesarian were required, they would have to push our son back up into the womb, which would be dangerous. ‘Was that OK?’ we were asked, as a consent form was shoved in my wife’s face.

Frankly, I have never been so scared in my entire life. My mother-in-law was left outside the operating theatre in floods of tears, fearing that her daughter and grandchild would die inside. I paced up and down for 10 minutes, before being ushered in.

Then the process began. The doctor was pulling my son so hard with forceps that an anaesthetist had to hold my wife under the shoulders in order to stop her moving forward. Eventually a baby – apparently not breathing – emerged. And the resuscitation team got working. For 2 dreadful minutes, I – and, I later discovered, my wife – thought he was dead. But he did breathe, and I got to hold him.

A dramatic story – at least from our perspective. But what are the implications? My feelings are:

1. We should have been allowed an elective Caesarian. In fact, the hospital has told us that, should my wife recover mentally to the extent that she will have another child (a big if at present), she will be allowed one. Why didn’t they just do that in the first place?!

2. Contrary to what the doctor thought, our son was enormous, given my wife’s size – 8 lb 2 oz, from a woman who is 5 ft 3 and is a size 4! A proper scan – which would have been offered in Brazil, even to the poorest patient (my wife is Brazilian, and received aftercare from doctors in Brazil, who were horrified by our experience in the NHS) – would surely have shown that a Caesarian was the best option.

3. So what should have been a routine-ish birth became an emergency, totally unnecessarily.

4. On the other hand, I have to praise the skills of the doctor – I fear that if we had had a less experienced doctor, the outcome wouldn’t have been so good. But it should never have got to that stage.

5. The hospital has at least admitted that it made mistakes, and has promised to make changes to its procedures. I believe that the head of midwifery is committed to doing this – I trust her.

6. But I don’t trust the NHS – the bureaucracy, the system, the pressure created by closing a nearby (dangerous) maternity unit without really planning to ensure that other units can cope. So I fear that the staff who want to improve services will find it difficult to overcome the systemic constraints.

7. When I hear the debate about NHS reform that we’ve had over the last few months, this leads me to think that people are living in a different world. Having experienced healthcare services in Brazil – a second-world country – I can assure the British public that in my understanding the NHS is far from being the envy of the world. I don’t feel the current system works, and – whilst not all the reforms may be right – I can’t believe that it could get any worse.

Paul D

Extremely impressed with my mother’s care

My parents were staying with us over the Christmas period and unfortunately my mother (79 years of age) collapsed whilst getting up from the evening meal on January 2nd. Although she remained alert and ‘compos mentis’ at all times it was clear that something was not right.

We initially rang the out of hours service through our surgery who advised us that she should go straight to A&E and actually called the ambulance for us.

To put things into context, I have to explain that my parents and I were very anxious to avoid going into hospital at all costs, driven by a series of past experiences with the NHS which eventually culminated in the loss of my brother at the relatively young age of 33. I hasten to add that this was not at East Surrey Hospital. My mother went off with a great deal of trepidation which I too shared. All I could think was – if so much lack of compassion (not to mention lack of cohesive and continuity of care) was shown to an intelligent vibrant 33 year old what on earth would happen to my elderly frail mother in this strapped for cash system!

We could not have been more mistaken – from the moment my mother arrived at A&E she was dealt with in the most courteous and professional manner imaginable – no patronizing, just efficient professionalism. The unit was incredibly busy, added to which they were trying to deal with the Noro Virus. All who came into contact with Mum were amazing but I want to highlight the physician who eventually diagnosed a suspected TIA (mini stroke) and referred Mum to the Acute Medical Unit for further assessment the next day. I believe he was either a registrar or higher whose first name was Benjamin and surname something Up…(I think!). He was very clear, precise and above all sympathetic despite clearly being under a great deal of pressure.

This professionalism continued the next day in the AMU from the receptionist through to the Nurse who took bloods and the Junior Doctor who made the initial assessment. We can’t put into words how impressed, and frankly blown away we were by the efficiency of the Unit.

But special mention has to be made of Dr Natalie Powell, the Consultant who reviewed all the scans and history and set up a plan going forward for my Mother including organizing a further MRI of the brain. She was awesome in her professional and calm manner imparting what actually is not easy news to a fragile elderly lady and her family – she showed so much warmth and compassion and imparted total confidence, that Mum felt she was getting the very best treatment.

I am eternally grateful and all I can say is that our faith in the NHS and to be honest in humanity has been somewhat restored. Thank you East Surrey.