I think men are not suitable for cleaning duties

I was admitted to Doncaster Hospital for a blood transfusion in November 2008. I was disappointed to see nurses time taken up doing tasks which I thought should have been done by auxiliaries. The cleaning seemed to be allocated to people who seemed to have no idea how to do it properly, such as cleaning around furniture. Once I moved some chairs and they told me not to do it, health and safety is going mad! I think men are not suitable for cleaning duties; only women should be employed for this task because they know what they are doing. The male cleaners looked like they were just moving the muck around. I say bring back the matrons, no private cleaners and leave the nurses to get on with what they are good at. I watched night nurse ‘sister’ cleaning shelves and worktops, whilst auxiliaries stood gazing while my drip had come adrift. This made me not bother the sister to address my problem. The professionals do a good job and I am grateful to them, but others are not fit for purpose and should try other employment. One last point, the food problem needs a total rethink as a new way must be found to solve it. My wife should not have to bring all my food and drink in for me!


Labour experience at St Thomas hospital

I was treated very well with the exception of a couple of people who I saw. When I went for my 12 week scan, I saw a sonographer – I can’t remember what she said to me but I didn’t like the way she was towards me or her attitude. When I went for my 20 week scan, I remembered I had a bad experience during my 12 week scan so I came prepared and took note of my sonographers name. She was so rude – because of her, I started missing all my hospital and GP appointments as I felt very uncomfortable. When I went in, she didn’t even say hello or give me any eye contact – she just told me to get on the bed. She didn’t let me see the scan of my baby until towards the end. When I told her I couldn’t see, she just ignored me. She didn’t even explain what she was doing or measuring or anything. My partner asked her if we could know the sex of the baby and she just looked at him and ignored him.

She then told me to walk around because the baby was in an awkward position. I told my partner to help me up as I was feeling faint and she started shouting at me. She said, “Can the two of you stop talking and do as I say? It’s after 4pm and I don’t know about the two of you, but I want to go home. So can you hurry up?” I was shocked and upset and sick. I wanted to walk out but my partner convinced me to stay.

Before we left, she asked us if we wanted any pictures and I said “yes please”. I don’t think she heard me say ‘please’ because she said “Yes what?!” My partner repeated what I said. I felt as though I was having to beg for a photo with the way she was talking to me.

When we were going to pay for the photo, she demanded the money form us and because my partner had gel on hid right hand, he gave her the money from his left. She gave him a dirty look and said “I don’t want the money from your left hand, I want it form your right” I thought her behaviour and attitude was very rude, unprofessional and uncalled for. A lady like that should not interact with sensitive patients like myself in that manner. If I had the time, energy and confidence then, I would have immediately made a complaint.

Also, while I was asleep, my contractions started at 4am. By 9am, they were every 5 minutes so I made my way down to the hospital. When I got there, as there were a few people in front of me, I did not get seen until 4pm. By then I was in so much pain but I tried to keep myself under control as I was previously suffering from panic attacks.

When I did see someone I was upset because she said, “There are a lot of people waiting to be seen and, no offence, you don’t look like you’re in pain so I’m going to send you home.” I was so disappointed it brought tears to my eyes and the pain felt worse. I had travelled two hours on a bus just to get sent back without even being examined. Not only that, I was on my own and I had never been to an antenatal class as the hospital did not contact me for any classes.

She was about to discharge me when a doctor came and told her to examine me before I left. I felt dizzy and started to throw up. When she examined me, a doctor came back and told me that I was a few centimetres dilated and I would not be going home.

After that, the treatment I got was fantastic. I fell asleep and was comfortable.

In the evening I was transferred to a night nurse. Although she was quite nice to me, she was very rough and heavy handed – I felt more pain every time she touched me than I did when I felt a contraction. When I told my partner, he said that he could see that.

I also did not like the way she was getting angry and frustrated with me during the delivery. I did not know what I was doing and she kept telling me to do what I practised in the antenatal classes. I told her many times that I have never been to an antenatal class and I could she that she was getting annoyed.

In the end, when she gave me the baby, I saw he had a big dent in his head. My partner told me the midwife did not wait for me to push the baby out (she dragged him out) and that the dent was from her finger print. That also showed me that she was heavy handed and I wasn’t just imagining things.

After that, the care and treatment I got was so amazing I don’t think it could have got any better. I would also like to mention the care I received from the trainee midwife, as this was so fantastic.


Chronology of Orthopaedic/Plastic surgery care following serious accident

Whilst this incident dates back a couple of years, my motives – far from vengeful, as these doctors have been outstanding in their skill – stem from a desire to share what may be a “hidden rot”, and so prompt changes for the care of future patients like me.

I am a professional man of Afro-Caribbean origin in my mid-30s, who sadly concludes race and racial preconceptions contributed to the manner in which medical staff decided to approach my care, in what was my first true experience as a patient. Disturbing, clearly endemic, and seemingly a “wilful oversight” at this hospital, my overall impression was that far too many seriously unacceptable incidents occurred during a patients stay here, with most either too: old, vulnerable, dependent, or just plain “proud” to raise complaint.


July 2006 Female Nurse (Ward)

My “baptism-of-fire” was with an at first unfriendly, and openly suspicious night-nurse – who eventually just came right out and asked whether I had been fighting?

July 2006 Female Nurse (Ward)

Incredibly hostile, she came on shift visibly seething. Due to my vulnerability, and pain-based high overnight dependency, worried I asked her shift colleague if she could attend to me instead. I later witnessed her explode at a patient who was just trying to calmly explain his pre-admission medication, an observed 5 minute tirade.

July/August 2006 Nurses (Ward)

A completely bodged ward closure-and-transfer whilst in-surgery, saw all my belongings including a portable TV and fan, misplaced. On my return to the SHD (Surgical High Dependency) unit it was only the visitation of relatives and the invention on our behalf, of a ward manager, that my belongings were recovered. An apparent firm chat with less-than cooperative ward staff found these items relegated to a side room, with fan in use elsewhere. Amazingly in front of both, relatives and I, a disagreement also ensued between this manager and a pony-tailed nurse who, quite arrogant her in manner, seemed to imply it was I that was at fault.

August 2006 Female Nurse (SHD unit)

Following transfer to this unit, I was left in severe pain with sleepless nights. I was one of two patients attended to by this nurse, another two by another nurse on the ward’s far side. From the start, my nurses attitude toward me was one of reluctance and apathy, this in strong contrast to her other charge. She made me feel reluctant to ask for the simplest of assistance by her uncaring attitude, and toward the end of my stay, literally just began wondering off the ward actually when I had requested help, for 10-15 minutes at a time. I rarely requested her help, but unable to stand anymore began requesting the help of the other nurse who, though very busy, was exceptional in her care of me. I would seriously go as far as to actually question the appointed nurses suitability for this post.

August 2006 Female Agency Nurse (Ward)

From the moment she came on duty she seemed to take great exception to me by her attitude, this though we had never met. Any request for assistance was met by an unashamed reluctance to help me in a short, rude and abrupt manner of communication, vague treatment, or as on most occasions by just completely ignoring me. I actually began to think she hated me, as she openly showed the polar opposite manner to all other patients. There was only the exception of an African lady patient, who was to later report to me experience of the same behaviour. She duly cited colour prejudice as a suspicion, she and I incidentally being the only non-white patients on this full ward. From my experience, I can only say it seemed a plausible possibility.

August 2006 Female Nurse (Ward)

Shortly after a very emotional visit by my mother and co, this nurse had the nerve to – whilst helping me onto a Zimmer-frame with another colleague – patronisingly repeat the words: “So you a mummy’s boy init!” in this unprofessional “street-style” manner, that she perhaps thought I might be receptive too. I looked in disbelief at the colleague who just remained quiet, before enlightening her that I was unashamed of displaying affection for my mother – livid this should even need explaining to a nurse.

August 2006 Female Physiotherapist

In stark contrast to her colleagues, I found this young lady’s behaviour toward me quite arrogant and rude. She seemed unable to grasp I could not do more than my pain permitted, one occasion persisting discourteously in a petty disagreement in front of all my relatives. She even sent me down to the Ophthalmic Clinic with out assistance to help me into/out-of my wheelchair, later blaming what became an awkward incident on me.

August 2006 Female Nurse (Ward) / October 2006 Female Nurse (Clinic)

Contrary to guidance offered in their ‘Information for in-patients’ booklet, I was astonished on the two occasions when I politely brought the issue of hand-hygiene to nurses. Once, having witnessed substantially handled bay-curtains prior to my treatment, the other witnessing my wound-dressing repeatedly interrupted to answer door-knocks – opening and closing an office door. In response, I was angrily snapped back at, throughout which all I could do was to attempt to reason and explain my concerns to calm the situation down. I would strongly suggest that all admissions, including emergencies and transferrals, are issued this booklet on arrival, as I was not.

January 2007 Female Nurse (Ward)

A later follow-on overnight-admission landed me in care of a night-nurse who presented incredibly rudely on the only two occasions of contact.

The first, having settled down sleep following a ‘lights-out’ call by nurses, I was awoken by this nurse at about 11pm, walking over to my bed announcing loudly and rudely “OK boy!” before brusquely attaching ‘ID wrist-bands’. I felt embarrassed, then insulted, as I noticed her soon after approaching two other patients, more calmly, and with the words “All right my dear”. Too tired, I just tried to get back to sleep, but was again awoken at 3am in exactly the same “OK boy!” manner, this time with the overhead lamp direct switched-on right into my face and accompanying the words “Canula, Canula”. I looked round dazed and in disbelief at this woman’s behaviour, so abrupt it had awoken the patient next to me, though before I knew it she had grabbed my left hand and proceeded to apply an excruciating painful and long needle in preparation for a drip. I was astounded by what I was experiencing, something akin to a prison camp, though as if not insult enough, when the awoken patient enquired as to why I required this and not him, she had the absolute nerve – mid-application – to turn round and tell him it was because he was in better health than me, before chuckling to herself. On the contrary, the drip-necessity was purely due to an earlier potentially fatal ‘pulmonary embolism’, prior to which I was in exceptional health. But for my vulnerability, I can assure I would not usually tolerate such indignity.


As a long-distance hospital-transport-dependant patient, I was for a short period dependant on this hospital’s own patient transport service.

October 2006

Right outside my mother’s home and in front of my mother, regarding a chat about my deciding whether to take with me warmer clothing, the driver commented out loud: “You know what us black people are like…”

October 2006

Again, this time at our doorstep and in front of my mother, regarding a prior request for a car (not van) due to rear passenger-seat comfort of injured leg, the driver comments to me a number of times and at volume, “What d’you think you are, posh or somethin?” On this occasion I was pushed to answer back with an explanation with some anger. The same driver also swore at volume with complete disregard, into his phone all the way down the M4 motorway.

November 2006

This decisively “Mute” driver displayed the most frightening erratic and dangerous driving all the way down the motorway and into London. At one point we were ‘driver-side wheels in the corrugated central-reservation border’ at around 70mph, not to mention brake slamming in the urban areas, which on one occasion literally sent me flying.

January 2007

This rude and arrogant driver in a calm discussion as to which routes ahead seemed clearer, out-of-nowhere asked me if I would like to get out and walk, snapping I could go one way, and he’d go the other. I refrained from any further conversation with him after this. He later kept asking me to do the window up, though when I explained to him that I felt sick, reminding him of his duty to care and deal with such incidents should they occur, was again snapped at, this time warning me not to be sick as I was a ‘transferable’ patient anyway, whatever this meant.


As mentioned, criticism of this Orthopaedic and Plastics team has always been grounded in some dilemma as surgically – the skill of these doctors has been nothing short of exceptional. Alas, entirely unnecessarily this has too often contrasted sharply with their ‘bedside’ manner, and as such feel duty bound to highlight experiences on behalf of the less vocal.

July 2006

On initial transfer to Charing Cross, I recall feeling what can only be described as a feeling of contempt from this group. Visiting consultants just stared at me as if I was inhuman or a ghost. A stone-faced female plastics consultant or registrar throughout came across as abrupt and unfriendly, to the point of being unusual. As strange as it may sound, I actually felt as if I was being judged on my accident.

In particular, I vividly recall my experience of a prolonged panic-attack brought on by breathing and cooling issues, consequent of a Pulmonary Embolism. In this enduring memory, I recall these doctors and nurses just stood round my bed throughout, staring at me as if in disgust or as if some sought of weirdo – a picture I will never forget…

August 2006

During my stay, sympathy was felt for a concerned doctor who had accidentally pricked herself with a needle she had used on me. Whilst happy to compliantly answer an apparently routine health questionnaire in relation to the incident, I was alarmed and shocked to be asked questions basically inferring I could be homosexual. At the time whilst vulnerable and dependant I still genuinely wanted to help, but some time after leaving felt quite offended, even violated that I had been cornered this way.

October 2006

Months later, I was to attend my first fracture clinic as an outpatient. Here a simple enquiry as to how long they would expect to retain an excruciatingly painful piece of metallic, surgical apparatus through my right leg was unbelievably insensitive.

I was abruptly and coldly just told as long as possible, as otherwise my leg could break again leading to amputation – though this, rather than stated, instead comically indicated with a finger-knife action across my leg and, believe it or not – a whistle!

November 2006-January 2007

Successive attendances as an outpatient had felt akin to a cattle market, with all the staff friendliness and dignity to match, though the final straw arrived for me on attendance of my “decidedly” final – March 2007 clinic.

March 2007

Following the usual wait plus an additional hours wait alone in an assessment room, an attempt to ask a number of predetermined ‘Quality-of-life’ questions, actually quite dear to me, was again slighted. I was just made to feel hurried and my questions trivialised, and this from a consultant I had until then held head-above-the-rest. To my anger he commented that we guys always wanted more, as if not individuals but one homogenous group, before eventually just walking out citing urgency of schedule.


Throughout my stay and after first being told I might not make it, I lost count of the numerous times (well into double figures I kid you not) the mantra “You could lose your leg” was repeated by these doctors, practically drummed into me to the point I literally had to blot it out to steady both morale and sanity. This of course continued into outpatient status, even adding that at any other hospital I would have probably lost my leg, then citing an envisaged femur surgical-correction as a “loss” potential.

Their policy, at least verbally, was one of astonishingly cold, matter-of-fact negativity toward my recovery, one consultant telling me – I will likely “never” bend my leg again, another – I will “never” recover sensation following an under-arm operation, “never” this, “never” that, “never, never, never” – all of which I have proved wrong.

I also felt the success of the operation seemed to oddly remove any right for me to question or query issues concerning my own body – as if I should just be thankful.

I am not naïve in recognising a perhaps litigious wary “prepare-a-patient-for-the-worst” thinking behind their approach, though it is one thing to “air-on-the-side-of-caution”, and another to denigrate. I would like to think these people were glad of my recovery, though a more cynical me would ponder the thought of some power-driven attempt to further distress me. I even actually recall first, the look of anticipation, then surprise on a doctors face, my having showed no reaction to being told hopes of a then discharge were instead dashed. I genuinely can not understand why people, who I am sure deep down do want to save life and limb, feel it necessary to inhumanely convey such contortion, in such a disturbing and callous manner.


Good care at QMC, but bad staff shortages

I had varicose vein surgery and an overnight stay on D8. The pre-operative care was excellent, 2 vascular surgeons and an anaesthetist clearly explained what was going to happen. The nurses were very caring. I was lucky being first on the list because I didn’t have to wait around. However, I waited for 2 hours in the post-op area because they couldn’t find me a bed! The nurse was very kind, but told me this is happening more and more and she was frantically busy.

I personally received excellent care on D8, but I didn’t need to call the nurses very often. My only gripe was that although I arrived at 12.30 my bag was not sent down until 6pm. Also, the food was rather dire!

The nurses were obviously overworked, but they were all very caring. There were 5 elderly ladies in my bay whose needs were much greater than mine. They were all complaining how long it took for call buttons to be answered, especially at night, and the 2 night nurses were rather abrupt with everyone. Unfortunately 1 lady kept talking and calling out most of the night, so none of us got much sleep!

During the evening an 85-year old lady had an upset stomach and she decided to just sit on a chair outside the toilet rather than going back to bed. She was rather distressed about the situation, but no one questioned this or offered her much help. The toilet didn’t get cleaned until next morning, although she asked for this to be done. However, the rest of the ward was kept very clean and all staff regularly washed their hands.

One lady got up in the night, walking with her zimmer frame. She felt ill, but her cries for help were unanswered and she fell flat on her back with the zimmer landing on top of her. I pushed the call button and several nurses then came to help, taking her back to bed.

I was glad to go home to get some sleep, thankful that I was only in for 1 night. I have been given differing information about my aftercare. The nurse practitioner in the vascular clinic at my pre-op check up, the nurse on D8 and my GP surgery district nurse have each told me different times regarding how long I have to wear surgical stockings. I’m now using my own judgement. I also do now know whether I have to go to a follow up appointment – I will contact the vascular clinic to find out.

Overall, the doctors and nurses are doing a great job, but many more nurses are needed. Perhaps less paperwork and more proper nursing!


Nurses need more consideration for their patients

Over the past couple of years I have had a couple of operations causing me to have to stay in hospital over night, mostly at Rotherham General Hospital. Until my last operation Rotherham had always, in my opinion, been the best for after care from all the medicals staff and the standard of hygiene but then I was admitted to ward B11 for a hysterectomy in February of this year. What a shock!

The day after my op I was in pain and constantly being sick, when I asked for anything they just brought the tablets and stuck them down and walked away. I could barely move because of the pain but I would take the tablets and then unfortunately I’d be sick again therefore they would come straight back up not doing me any good what so ever. It wasn’t until I got mad, which is not like me at all, that the staff nurse came and gave me an injection for the pain, but that wasn’t until the end of the day and then she never spoke to me or explained what she was doing until I asked.

The aftercare was just horrendous, I know the nurses were busy and had a lot to do but not one of them spoke to me and asked if I was ok. I spent the first 24 hours in a dirty, sickly, hospital issue night gown; I never had the chance to have a wash that day.

Night time was also horrendous. A nurse came round with the tablets at 11-12 o clock just when everyone had settled down and gone to sleep, why couldn’t they come round a bit earlier, we all needed our rest to help recover. One night the nurse in charge came around at 2am collecting the charts from the bottom of the bed, dropping one on the floor with almighty bang and then sat down at the table to flick through all the papers by this time another nurse was having a conversation with someone in the next bay and we could hear everything. Surely they should have more consideration for other patients.

Up to going into hospital this last time, I had always been pleased with everything the staff had done. I didn’t have to wait long for appointments and I was even fitted in a month earlier than originally thought for my operation, which I was pleased about.


Concerns over lack of basic care at Northern General

I recently had a 9 day stay on Huntsman 7 ward at Northern General Hospital in Sheffield. I underwent reconstructive foot surgery. The surgical and medical care I received was first class. However my experience on the ward was not good. The ward was kept spotlessly clean and the trained staff were mostly competent and caring. Most patients on this ward were non-mobile and reliant on support staff for basic care. Call bells went unanswered for long periods even though staff could be seen and heard chatting. The mainly elderly patients were left unattended except when drugs were given out or when their call was answered. I had to constantly call for help for an old lady with dementia and broken hip when she climbed out of bed and attempted to walk. No one came to check on her even though she must have been considered high risk. My worst experience was when two support staff insisted that I stand up to transfer to a chair while they made my bed. I told them this wasn’t possible as my legs were still numb from having an epidural in place for 3 days. They insisted that I could feel my legs as the epidural had been removed the day before, (in fact it took 48 hours to regain feeling in my left leg and my right leg was in a cast). They would not listen to me and pulled me to my feet with the result that my left leg crumpled and I went down onto the floor. Unbelievably, the same thing happened on the night shift, at which point I became very distressed and was seen as a nuisance. It seems that there is nobody monitoring the standard of nursing care or setting a professional standard. I hope I never have to be admitted to hospital again.


I have questions that need answering

My father was admitted to Weston General Hospital in early August 2009 with a pleural effusion (fluid). We were informed that the procedure was straightforward and he would be admitted as an in patient for 24 to 48 hours. He was initially admitted to the Assessment Unit and an x-ray confirmed fluid on his lungs. We were informed that this was not an emergency and the procedure would be performed that evening or the next morning.

The next day at 5pm he was transferred to a ward. We were then informed that all the Doctors had retired for the day and the procedure would be performed the following morning. Once again, we were informed that the procedure was not urgent.

When my mother and I returned from the restaurant to find that my father had been transferred to a ward (without notice) we proceeded to find the ward. On arrival I felt we were met by an extremely hostile and rude sister who informed us that we shouldn’t be visiting at that time.

Shortly afterwards another nurse came to assess my father and when he was unable to hear her (Dad was hearing impaired) she had to ask us if my father was confused. My Dad was present during this and very concerned that he was being treated in this way.

The procedure was not performed on that morning as agreed. We were then approached by another Doctor who suggested that Dad have an ultra sound first. Ultra sound performed -four hours later procedure still not performed. We were informed again that Dad was not an emergency. The procedure was eventually performed late that afternoon.

During this period I believe Dad was not monitored properly, or provided with enough fluids and food. I think the care he received was beyond words.

When we left Dad that evening he seemed stable to me. My Mum was extremely upset and said to the night nurse “please take care of him he is very precious” to which this person replied “husbands are precious you are lucky to have one mine died a year ago”. This statement made me feel concerned.

We returned the next morning to find that Dad’s bed had been moved. On asking the Consultant why he informed us that there was a “mad man” on the ward and they had moved Dad for peace and quiet.

On speaking to the Consultant he informed me that his x-ray had shown a small area of white consolidation – “it could be cancer it could be something else but it didn’t matter either way” because the Oncologist had informed him that he would not provide Dad with any chemotherapy. During the same conversation I asked the Consultant for some anti-biotics as a preventative measure (i.e. to prevent infection from draining) and was informed that this was not standard procedure and would not be undertaken. He then went on to inform me that Dad had developed other conditions whilst in hospital and he would prefer me to sign the DNR (do not resuscitate) form – to which I refused. When I refused he talked to my Mum and this went on all day long.

On that afternoon, we were approached by another Doctor who informed us that Dad had a severe infection and antibiotics were being commenced immediately. It was then what seemed to me hours later they were administered.

On the following morning (early hours) we telephoned to check on Dad and we were informed that he was improving. Shortly afterwards we received a call from the hospital. On arrival we found Dad on a ventilator. I was called away from Dads bed again and asked to sign the DNR form – to which I refused. My mother was then called away. This continued for hours and hours. My Dad was placed on the Liverpool pathway but in my opinion we were not informed. The Doctor informed my mother and brother that he would administer a pain killer and after twenty minutes Dad would be comfortable enough to switch off the ventilator. I don’t think either of them was informed that this would result in Dad stopping breathing. Luckily I feel when the nurses arrived to do the same I was able to stop them.

Dad passed away on that afternoon and I feel the care, respect and dignity he received from those treating him was inhumane to say the least.

This is just a brief summary of the events.

We have requested Dad’s notes and the hospital have only provided some. I have telephoned the hospital on numerous occasions but telephone calls are never returned. I have been promised telephone calls from the Chief Executive but not returned.

Referring back to my conversation with the Consultant on Friday – Dad’s notes (those I have) state that the white area x-ray could have been infection but he was refusing antibiotics. The notes also state he should perform a CT scan but saw no need as it wouldn’t change the plan of treatment. I want to question exactly what is going on in this hospital and ward.