What I think Mayday hospital could improve

1. Improve signage to Gynae department – one sign in corridor, then nothing. Also, sign IN gynae department to show people the way out to main corridor.

2. When there is nothing wrong after treatment, why not WRITE to the patient and tell them instead of making them come all the way to Mayday, wasting their time and the doctor’s time?

3. Why make patients wait what seems to be a default time of ten minutes even when the Doctor is not seeing someone else?

4. I think it would be a good idea if the Doctor could read the patient’s notes before the patient enters the room and not while the patient is being seen.

Also, a poor woman was waiting to be seen today in Gynae, having had a questionable result and then was told that she had been booked into the wrong clinic and that she would have to make another appointment, in the right clinic. (I imagine that she would have a wait for another appointment). No apology and let us see if we can get you fitted in today; just sorry, you’ll have to make an appointment. When asked if that was all right, the lady explained that she had had to take time off work – and would obviously have to take more time off work for the new appointment, to say nothing of the worry. I cannot say that the nurse was laughing afterwards but in my opinion she seemed quite amused. I feel that this no way to treat patients.


Nursing at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital King’s Lynn

This is a summary of my own personal experiences, and my (many) observations of others who have been patients at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital King’s Lynn.

I believe the main problem here is in the recruitment, training, supervision and management of nurses.

It seems to me they are recruiting people who haven’t the personal qualities necessary to be nurses. I feel they recruit people who have academic potential instead of those who have genuine empathy and caring qualities. The outcome of this for me was that nurses are looking after patients who seem not to actually care about their patients welfare, recovery and health.

I found supervision to be non-existent. Generally, (with the exception of acute staff in A+E, Intensive Care and High Dependency wards), I felt the staff nurses were lazy, uninterested, and more interested in paperwork than actually touching a patient. This they left to Auxiliaries or student nurses. I thought the auxiliaries seem to rule the ward and the students thought they knew everything.

I felt as if the staff morale was appalling and it’s clear to me the hospital is an awful place to work if the patient experience is a guide. It seemed to me no one respects the needs of the patients and don’t get me started on hospital food. From my experience, this hospital skimped so much on food quality and preparation which makes me think that a serious study is needed. Maybe the nurses need to realise they have a role in nutrition.

When ever I had the temerity to complain the same tired old reply is wheeled out every time; It goes like this;1. we are sorry this happened, 2. this has never happened before, 3. your experience is unique, 4. we’ve made sure it won’t happen again. When I have pursued it further, mysteriously either my notes go missing or the relevant documents go missing. I think the complaints process changes nothing and is a waste of time.

Also, I feel the amount of pointless paperwork filled in on a daily basis has more to do with the system protecting itself than it has to delivering patient care or protecting the patient. I strongly believe if more resources were put to delivering basic nursing care in the first place instead of filling in paperwork, if more resources were given to training students that nursing is all about care instead of management or glamour, then there would be fewer complaints and less need to fill in pointless bits of paper that are on the whole ignored unless something goes wrong.

I think nurses, doctors, consultants and therapists would improve care if they actually listened to both the patient and the relatives instead of jumping in with both feet and assuming from day one that they know all the answers. Relatives have been caring for their patients for years and I think are worth listening to, and patients know their bodies better than the nurses etc. During my stay a Sister twice was about to give me what amounted to a drug error were it not for my own vigilance.

I feel all my points above need a closer look by the Commissioners of the hospital.

A close relative was admitted to a care of the Elderly ward and I believe would have died were it not for the fact that we devoted ourselves to making sure she was fed and looked after. Without us she would have had food left on a tray and wouldn’t have been fed; the times we weren’t able to be there gave testament to this fact.

There are too many incidences at this hospital that cannot be allowed to continue not addressed. I think either senior management don’t know how bad nursing care some patients think is or they don’t care. In my opinion, neither option is particularly good. I also feel the system of inviting comment is flawed because people are scared that if they complain as an in-patient or a relative as an in-patient they will be punished. I don’t feel that honesty is a component of system led surveys.


Lack of care for older patients at Mayday A&E

It was not a busy night in A&E at Mayday Hospital in Croydon when my 75 year old mother was taken there by ambulance. She had been admitted about 30 mins before I arrived and we were in the majors part of the department between 11pm and 5am. During this time I observed nurses talking amongst themselves and overheard their social conversations. They did not pay much attention to the six elderly patients in the majors area. One elderly patient was confused and kept trying to get off of his bed. It was left to his disabled elderly wife to manage him.

One elderly woman was discharged to hospital transport at 3am. I noted that she was washed and dressed by a nurse who did not even speak to her during this very ‘personal’ process.

I was shocked that nobody spoke with my mother to admit her. Whilst her blood pressure was taken and an ECG was done, the nurse did not speak to her or explain what would happen. At 4am no further checks had been done on my mother, but she was very distressed.

I asked a nurse whether there was a plan for my mother or what their concerns were. Initially the nurse tried to imply that it was a busy night, but I pointed out that it was very evident that this was not the case. At 5am I took my mother home. I was asked if she was discharging herself. I told them that she was not, but that I was taking her home for her own health and safety.

Miraculously a senior nurse managed to find a doctor to give my mother a cursory check before we left. This is a poor indictment on the hospital and its nursing staff. Hospital managers should be ashamed of this.

Concerned of Croydon

Why is my mam lying in poo?

My mother is currently in Ward 12 in Rake Lane hospital. She has a broken leg and suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. There has been a bug in the ward since Saturday and she seems to have had it since Tuesday. When we arrived for visiting on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday she has been lying in a bed of not very fresh poo. She has also been desperate for a drink, which she cannot get for herself. We have had to ask the very stretched nursing staff to clean her up and have taken our own water in and given it ourselves. Our family are beside themselves with worry (especially as our father is in ward 15 with heart problems – if he could see the state of our mam he would go berserk). We are looking to take whatever action we can to make sure she gets the help she needs otherwise we don’t expect to have her for much longer. I have read about Patient Advice & Liaison and will try that line of action tomorrow.


Concerned over poor nursing care for my partner

My partner was on I ward at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital for 2 days following a vitreo-retinal operation. We feel the after nurse care was very, very poor. No nurse came to check on her for hours. She asked for pain killers which took two hours to arrive. She also asked for something to eat, as she is diabetic and was starving. Also after the operation, when she was on the ward to recover, no nurses came to check her blood sugar and ask how she was. That was from 12pm on the Friday to 3pm on the Saturday. In my opinion she could have died and no body would have known. This is unacceptable.


My operation was cancelled three times!

In January 2008 I was booked to go into NGH for a hip replacement operation. The day before I had my pre-operation I phoned to find where I was on the list and was told by NGH that the operation had been cancelled. One week later it was cancelled again and then one month later again. This was because my surgeon had gone to India to see to the people out there. I turned up on the 12th March for the pre-op to be told for the third time I had been cancelled. I had to write to my MP and secretary of state for health, the hospital executive and my local councillor to complain. I was told the hospital was aware of my case and was trying to get me in to Thornbury Hospital. This happened on the 29th March 2008; two months and three cancellations later. This inefficiency cost me an extra two months off work. It was a very poor service I even got my doctor and my work HR to put pressure on the hospital to get my operation. To be cancelled once is unfortunate but three times is rubbish and someone somewhere should be held responsible. It still isn’t sorted as I still have a limp in my leg.


I had a horrible postnatal time at St George’s

I wanted to share my story as I’d read one that was very similar. My son was born at St George’s almost two years ago. I was never very happy with my ante-natal care, but it appeared to be about par. I was very overdue and was made to feel by the midwives that I was putting them to some inconvenience. I spoke to one consultant during that time (the only time during my entire pregnancy!) and he was really good.

I was in severe pain by the time I went into labour. I suspected that it was because of a UTI I contracted during the cervical sweep because the midwife didn’t use sterile gloves, but I don’t know that for sure. At any rate, the pain was bladder pain and pain during urination not labour pain. I had to beg to be admitted to the hospital and get some gas and air after my water broke again not for the contractions but for the bladder pain. I did eventually get some, but was left to labour in a room unattended a whole night because I hadn’t reached their threshhold of dilation.

I then had to move to an official (and not as nice) room. My labour was very slow progressing so even after I officially got there, I went through three full shifts of midwives. The first was ok, although she pressured me into having a drip to intensify my contractions (which I hadn’t wanted). The second was very nice. The last one was awful, spoke about me, not to me, cold, rude and neglectful. She couldn’t even be bothered to take my blood pressure but put it on the automatic cuff without telling me.

Eventually I had to have an emergency c-section.

The postnatal ward was awful. It was extremely hot, noisy, I hadn’t slept in three days at this point and was beyond exhaustion. It didn’t seem very clean. I was in a bay away from a window and was really suffering from the heat (this was during a particularly hot few days in June 2007). I was tired and in pain, uncomfortable and lonely after visiting hours.

When the postnatal midwife refused to give me another dose of painkillers (I understand why that was) she suggested I have a dose of morphine instead. I agreed. But then I thought, if I’m knocked out in this chaos, who’s going to look after my baby? And I had wanted to breast feed and was worried about the effects of the morphine. So I told her I had changed my mind.

She was very put out by that because apparently that would cause her all kinds of paperwork difficulty (!). So she brought the ward sister round who screamed at me for having the curtains closed after I told her it was hot and I reminded her that I couldn’t even get out of bed to close the curtains. The sister also used foul language at me and I was seriously scared that they were going to inject me with morphine against my will. Which fortunately they didn’t. But I was frightened and worried the whole night. And I was shocked that I’d been sworn at by a health care “professional”.

This troubled me for a long time and eventually I complained about it to the hospital. I recognise that some time had passed before I complained, but the hospital accepted my complaint and I received an acknowledgement. Since then I have heard nothing, although I followed up with a visit to the PALS office and a follow up email.

The reason I’m sharing this now, even though it happened two years ago, is I saw that St George’s offered another patient the opportunity to complain about her labour and postnatal experience (which was of similar poor quality to mine, but different things happened).

I would encourage the other patient to complain, but don’t hold your breath. They clearly don’t respond to complaints and they clearly haven’t tried to make any changes in two years since this other person’s story was on a level with mine but only happened a few weeks ago.


Surgical Misery at Oldham

Thanks to my GP, who provides an excellent and caring service, I was admitted as an emergency patient with a suspected inflamed appendix to an emergency assessment unit. The care was brilliant from the nursing staff on this ward. However, all seemed to go down hill as I was transferred to two other wards. I spent 48 hours being prodded and poked – being told I wasn’t really ill by one Dr, and should go home, and then being told ‘no’ I was going to theatre. Nursing staff were very busy and unable to answer my concerns and neither the Drs or nurses seemed to know what each other were doing.

I was nil by mouth several times, but due to emergencies coming in my operation was postponed. However, this meant that I went without fluids and pain relief for lengthy periods.

Twice I told nursing staff I was nil by mouth and they told me I wasn’t, luckily I felt too ill to eat- and then medical staff reprimanded me for having water on my table when I was Nil by mouth. I was unable to take my regular medication because of this, and the nurse on that particular ward didn’t know whether it would harm me if I didn’t take it!

I had a scan during a nil by mouth period and had been without pain relief for about 8 hours – it was the most painful experience and the man scanning didn’t seem to realise this or care. I returned to the ward in agony, but the nursing staff didn’t recognise this for over an hour and I was given some pain relief finally.

I was transferred to my third and final ward – which was even worse. And after spiking a temperature and getting even worse, I was advised I would be operated on. Also that I would get pain relief and IV fluids – I’d been without water for about 17 hours by then – it took a further 2 hours, because the nurses were so busy and no-one qualified was free to get an IV into my arm. Eventually I went to theatre late in the evening.

Twenty hours later, I was sent home without information on how to care for myself, the nurse said they needed the bed. My stomach was very swollen and I was concerned, but the nurse just laughed an asked me if it wasn’t it normally like that?

My stomach continued to swell at home and was very, very painful – and 6 days later burst open at the wound site – I had to return to hospital as an emergency admission. Again I returned to the same Assessment ward , and again the staff were brilliant. I had to have my wound opened on the ward and manually drained by the consultant which was horrendous as it had been previously tried by his registrar. I was expecting to go to theatre, and whilst I appreciate it worked – I wasn’t asked if this could happen he just did it. I was put on IV antibiotics – and thankfully they found a Dr who could put IVs in without hurting me!

Unfortunately, I was transferred halfway through my 4 day stay to another ward where again the care was poor – the ward was dirty and the staff did not communicate with the patients or each other effectively. My observations were done irregularly and I began to feel like I was taking up a bed again. In fact, it was said to me by a nurse that they needed my bed. I was discharged to the care of the district nurses who were brilliant. I couldn’t have asked for better care, but the whole process took 8 weeks and left me feeling scared of going into hospital again as a patient.

My concerns are that there were:

– poor communication between medical staff and nurses.

– poor cleanliness: the wards apart from the emergency assessment unit were filthy – particularly the bathrooms and toilet areas.

– doctors not informing you of their names or listening to your concerns – several insisted on attempting to put large IV needles into my arm, despite my explaining I needed a smaller needle. As soon as one listened, it worked!

– being left for lengthy periods without fluids

– being left for lengthy periods without pain relief

– not feeling that I was able to give informed consent, because I wasn’t being fully informed about what was happening to me.

– not being treated with respect.


Unhappy with postnatal care in Cheltenham

After 22 hours of labour and my baby being delivered by forceps I was exhausted, tired and under shock as it was my first baby.

I had a spinal anasthetic and was unable to move my legs. After I was stiched up I was put into a room with my newborn baby where I was left for about 2 hours to bond, without a midwife checking on us as they were all busy doing paperwork. I was then put into a room with 3 other women and screaming babies. All I wanted was to rest which was impossible as i had to settle my baby, who was suffering from injuries to its head from the forceps.

As soon as my baby was asleep I thought I could have some rest but I wasn’t able to sleep with all the noise around me. The next morning I waited for somebody to help me to have a shower and have some breakfast and I was left waiting for about 3 hours. I complained to a midwife that I was hungry and exhausted and asked her if I could be moved to a less crowded room. After another hour of waiting a care assistant supported me to have a shower and get some breakfast but my request of being moved into another room was completly ignored.

When I was able to walk again I had a look around the ward and found that there were other rooms that were less crowed or even empty. My baby’s hair was covered in dried blood and I asked for it to be bathed. I was promised that somebody would show me how to bath it. This didn’t happen until an hour before I left the hospital 3 days later!

The support me and my baby received was very poor when I felt so vunerable. I had to stay 3 days at the hospital and I was unable to recover or rest. I am very disappointed with the standard of care and compassion of the midwives towards patients.

At the antenatal classes I was told that 20 years ago babies were taken away from the mothers for a few hours so that they could rest and the babies got washed and looked after. Why is this not happening anymore? It would have made things so much better for me if I could have just slept for a few hours after being in labour for such a long time.

The hospital experience has completely put me off having more children and left me traumatised.


Unpleasant stay in hospital

In April this year, I spent 5 days in Milton Keynes general hospital suffering from pneumonia. I felt the standards of care were very poor it seemed to me to be a constant shortage of nurses. I often saw seriously ill patients waiting hours for doctors to arrive and administer to them life saving drugs. One morning, I was not served breakfast because of shortage of staff. I could not see my records of medications attached to the bed, which I think is standard practice and no one asked me about the medication that I was already taking. I normally suffer from high blood pressure and take a daily medication to lower it. When my blood pressure fell dangerously low, I could not find any doctors to advise me whether I should have taken my blood pressure tablet. A young Polish duty nurse then recommended that I should not take my blood pressure tablets which I believe saved my life. I thought the hospital was dirty, toilets were filthy and I saw one elderly patient who could not control her bowels had left a trail of excrement leading from her bed to the toilets. There was no one available to clean it for hours and people were treading on it. I still have nightmares about my very unpleasant stay.