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.


Staff not fully aware how to care for Parkinson’s patients

I went to ward 52 of Coventry University hospital, in Coventry.

Though I was not being treated for my Parkinson’s, it was clear that most staff were not fully aware of how to help care for a patient with Parkinson’s – only senior staff seemed to have any idea. I got my medication on time when possible, but staff had to be made aware of the difficulties of swallowing tablets with my Parkinson’s.

I did not manage my medication myself, which might have been a problem, but after guidance from my husband there were no problems.



I was given the usual painkillers that did not help at all. They were restricted a bit as I can not take NSAIDS owing to other medication. I was then referred to a physiotherapist. No help there so I was given acupuncture. Weeks of waiting each time.

I was eventually referred to the pain clinic. I waited 16 weeks for this. At no time have I had a scan. I finally had a caudal epidural and an injection.

This has made it considerably worse! The GP put me on morphine to try and control the agonising pain which it did not. The dose has been increased but hardly helping. The side effects are most unpleasant.

I am now waiting another three months for my next appointment, living a life of agony.It is now just one week away from being one year since the start of the sciatica.


Excellent care

I was extremely pleased with the treatment that I received in the Doncaster Royal Infirmary Hospital. I had excess water on my lungs and breathing problems. They took lots of tests and changed my medication and not I feel so much better. I have to go back for an appointment in late May. I felt the care from the nurses and doctors that I received was excellent.


Lost personal belongings and staff apathy

My elderly father was admitted to A&E in early December 2012. We brought in some personal items and his medication. His medication and slippers were lost.

He was eventually transferred to Tandridge Ward. He developed the D & V virus. We visited him not knowing that he had this and consequently we were also struck down with the virus. A quick phone call to us could have prevented this. I mentioned this to this to a member of staff who appeared unconcerned and just said that is was a very virulent disease and that I could complain through PALS.

If we had been told we most certainly would not have driven from London to visit my father. I noticed that after about 2 weeks the hospital decided to close wards by putting notices up at the entrance. Not very helpful when you have already had the virus.

At some point after this I discovered that my father’s glasses were missing. I searched everywhere for them and asked staff if they knew what had happened to them. No one could help.

Finally at the beginning of January, my father was going to be transferred to Crawley hospital. I only discovered this whilst making a call to the hospital to speak to my father. They said they were trying to contact me. I then asked if they had found my father’s glasses. They said they had.

When I visited my father in Crwaley hospital (Caravell ward) I discovered that they had given him someone else’s glasses. In order to make progress with his walking he really does need to be able to see. I have tried unsuccessfully to get him new ones but he needs to have a new eye test. The cost of an optician visiting the hospital would cost £50 and the price to replace for a new pair of similar bifocals will cost £130. His towel was also lost.


Not happy with the way I was treated

I went into Arrowe Park Hosp. I was not happy the way people with learning disabilities get treated. I didn’t get my medication on time.

People like me who are diabetic should get there tablets with there food and at tea time not at 7pm. I think the medication rounds were timed to make visiting times easier.


The consultants at QMC gatroenterology are amazing

I would like to say that after suffering from a severe bowel condition for 15 years, that left me housebound, I was extremely pleased to finally be given a diagnosis from QMC which now has me on the correct medication and I am able to finally live my life!

If only my GP had been as concerned about my well being. Then I wouldn’t have been fobbed off with the wrong medication for 15 years. Maybe GPs should listen to their patients’ concerns and then cases like mine wouldn’t happen.

The consultants at the QMC Treatment centre are amazing.


I received good treatment in Sheffield

At Easter bank holiday I had a problem with a chest infection and was taken into Northern General Hospital for three days and returned home after treatment. The problem re-occurred and I returned to hospital again in June with a chest infection.

But this time I went to the Royal Hallamshire. I returned home the Saturday after. Whilst I was in hospital I started with bladder trouble and required treatment which is ongoing. A catheter has been fitted and medication to be taken in due course.

The treatment and food in the hospital was very good.


Shocked by care on Emergency Surgery Trauma Unit

My wife was admitted to the ward and the care she received was to be quite frank, disturbing.

Firstly there were people on the ward shouting for help and asking for medication and were being ignored, one even started to choke on her own vomit while the other was showing me the bruises all over her arm from nurses not being able to take blood properly with the needles.

My wife waited 2 and a half days for a scan and was sent home without one as in the end she was so depressed she just wanted to go home as she told me she did not feel safe in the ward.

Needles were left next to her bed for several hours when nurses had forgotten about them, they also forgot to change her chart from nil by mouth to being allowed food and drink, meaning she went a whole day without eating or drinking until I arrived with food.

The nurse ignored her when she requested medication for the pain, until I arrived and she tried to kick me out and had to be notified that the only reason I had to come outside of visiting hours was to bring food and medication.

I am deeply shocked at the service and have lost trust completely in the ability of NHS practitioners to fulfill their duty of care