My husband’s TIA and my TIA

In July last year my husband suffered a TIA. We went to Southend Hospital A&E and after examination by the Stroke Registrar, he was admitted to the Stroke Unit and monitored overnight. He then took part in a pilot to try out some drugs. He was also monitored further to see what had caused his stroke. It was later discovered that he had a heart murmur. All this time, he was looked after with the greatest of care and continues to do so during his visits to the Warfarin Clinic.

Ten days after my husband had the TIA, I experienced tingling in my left arm. At first I thought I had been lying on it, but when it happened again, we rang for the ambulance. I was taken to A & E. Nothing was found, but they referred me to the Stroke Clinic and I was given an appointment for the following week. I thought I had over-reacted, but they said not to worry. I had a Doppler scan and the consultant said I would not be going home. He showed me the X-Ray of my carotid artery and explained that I was in danger of having a full-blown stroke.

To cut a long story short, I was admitted to hospital, everyone was so kind and took time to explain what they wanted to do and what the operation would entail and what could happen. This happened several times and several people spoke to me about it. The surgical team visited me and explained everything that would happen.

I did have to spend a long time in hospital because the specialist anaesthetists were not available, but during all that time I was really well looked after and was never made to feel a nuisance and I never felt ignored and put in a corner. Every time someone came into the ward they spoke to me, even when they had come to see someone else.

I have to say that everyone on this ward treated me with the utmost care and respect and I think this Unit achieves the standard that any ward or unit would be pleased to attain.

Since then I have had treatment in the Endoscopy Unit and have also found them to be kind and caring.

Both my husband and I think we are lucky to live close to Southend Hospital and we are very grateful to have received such wonderful care.


A blood clot in my leg (DVT)

What was good:

– after I was re-measured, I was really upset that I could not get help from hospital; but my GP got me access to the correct sized RAL class 2 stockings to help me avoid post thrombosis syndrome.

– my physio returned my telephone call to give me new exercises when I got stressed about my walking not improving.

– Until December 2012, my GP had a superb computer booking system that allowed patients to book online. And view appointments online. It was invaluable throughout the INR testing.

– The convenience and ease in that INR testing could be done through my GP surgery, rather than needing to visit Addenbrookes.

What could have been done better:

– A and E or my GP or CamDoc could have taken my symptoms seriously, and helped me get an earlier (DVT) diagnosis. I was in a lot of pain, for a five-week period. And my leg was swollen and useless for months, possibly as a result of the delay in getting access to warfarin treatment.

– Addenbrookes Thrombosis Treatment Team/Anti-Coagulation Team could have given me access to a DVT Consultant, or someone that could examine my leg, explain my DVT and help advise what was stopping me walking. My leg was swollen, cold, bent, and I could not move my toes.

– Other than the first ten days when I was visiting the TTT and could ask the nurses questions (they just told me that everyone was different, and some people can’t walk, and when I mentioned chest pains and my other leg also being swollen and hurting, they told me it was unlikely I had another clot and failed to help me), I had no access to care/advise during my three months on warfarin and that made the whole process a lot more stressful than it needed to be.

– Addenbrookes could have had a DVT Consultant talk to me, and discuss my treatment, and concerns, before sending out a standard letter to take me off warfarin, without any interaction with me over a period of months.

– My walking got worse after I discontinued warfarin, and I had no contact to seek help, guidance or advice.

– Bupa could have communicated promptly with the Thrombosis Treatment Team to make sure that I got access to the treatment that I needed.

– My GP could have liaised with me regularly, and kindly. Rather than initially shouting at me, then at subsequent appointments watching the clock during appointments, and at another appointment suggesting taking away an MSK referral when the nurse insisted that I see a GP for chest pain.

– My GP could have retained their – superb – online booking system, after the December 2012 computer upgrade.


67 year old husbands heart problem

My husband visited our GP in May to complain about tightness in his chest, palpitations & dizziness. He was told this could possibly be due to a leaky valve & referred him to the Ilkeston cardiology dept.

In June the Doctor there put him on beta blockers & referred him to the warfarin clinic as any heart treatment would require his blood to be less sticky, in order to avoid blood clots, which could lead to a stroke. The cardiologist in Ilkeston Hospital also referred him to the cardiology dept at the Nottingham City Hospital.

An appointment was sent through for him for early Oct, which even our GP thought was rather a long wait. This appointment was then cancelled by the hospital & another one made for the end of October.

My husband sent a letter of complaint to the Chief Exec of the QMC in August. This letter remains unacknowledged but he has now been sent a fresh appointment for slightly earlier in Oct. Not good, is it, when one is left waiting for 5 months between seeing a GP to seeing a heart specialist. Even then he doesn’t think the appointment will give him more than another referral after that doctor has seen & spoken to him.

Meanwhile our life is on hold until we know when or even if, there is going to be any treatment. He wouldn’t have had to wait this long to have a bad tooth looked at!


Could do better

My husband recently had a heart valve replacement op. The op was successful. With a bit of tweaking, the care could have been better.

He was given a pessary and told that the nurse would be back in 20 mins – he had to wait for an escort to the WC. It was 30 mins before the nurse came back, my husband was quite unhappy as he was desperate to use the toilet before that time and messed himself – very upsetting.

He was offered an exercise bike to try – liked it and saw that there was a programme one could do, so asked to be offered the programme. The answer was no, you only get one go – no further goes! How ridiculous, to have a bike there not being used.

The day he was to be discharged, a blood test was done, for his Warfarin levels, but a nurse had to come back and repeat the blood test as ‘there wasn’t enough blood taken’.

This test requires a certain volume of blood for the test – Why was this not done first time?

He was told and it was entered in his notes that he would be discharged the following day – on the morning in question, his consultant said he was fit to come home, but it was 6.30pm before he could leave as his prescription wasn’t ready! Why not?


The NHS at its very best

My mum was referred to the INR Coag Climic after starting on Warfarin. The Clinic ran like clockwork and we were rarely kept waiting more than 5 minutes. The staff were efficient and friendly and went out of their way to be helpful and friendly. Well done and thank you from a very grateful daughter.


Lack of communication with us and concerns about my relative’s care

My elderly relative was readmitted to hospital (after a failed discharge) and was kept waiting in A&E another 6 hours. My relative had one x-ray and saw one doctor for 5 mins, but the family had to put her on the commode 3 times. The staff were very very busy, however the made no attempt at communication whatsoever (not even a smile to say we haven’t forgotten you).

Then my relative had to spend another 2 days on the assessment bay, which was staffed by 2 nurses, with 14 patients that were all elderly and all in need. Essential bloods were not taken (i.e. for her warfarin levels), and there was no one to wash her. We had to take our relative to the toilet, to feed and look after her. I even ended up giving another elderly lady her drink, which was left on her table too far away to reach. This woman was left lying in the same position for 6 hours, with no intervention (she had no family to help her). From what I saw of this unit, basic care and medical care seem to be of a very poor standard.

My elderly relative was moved to an outlying ward at midnight and her relatives were not informed (yes, they had all our numbers). I was very very unhappy about the treatment my relative had, as had previous good experiences at this hospital.

very unhappy this hospital could do better

A&E and Acute Medical Unit

My Mother (79) was admitted to A&E on Monday night with symptoms of a TIA; she has a history of stroke and atrial fibrillation. She is in full control of her drugs which include Warfarin and is monitored closely.

Fortunately, when we arrived at 1. 00 am the department was not too busy and she received lots of attentive care, with many professionals asking for her story. Unfortunately, no bed could be found straight away but eventually she was transferred to a 6-bedded unit (an off-shoot of A&E I believe) where she also received excellent care. She was discharged during that afternoon and was asked to return the following morning at 8. 30 for the TIA clinic.

During our day in AMU, which started with blood tests and a consultation with a junior doctor, Mum was given a CT scan, an ultrasound scan and an MIR scan. The very kind junior doctor also came to find us in the scanning department to let us know that the Consultant was available to see to discuss her treatment and we were given lots of information on her condition, and an alternative protocol to prevent a repeat TIA. Clearly, Mum’s condition was unstable so devoting a whole day to get a complete picture and new treatment was most gratifying and prevented us worrying over several weeks, between appointments.

Without exception, everyone we came into contact with during the day, in every department, (including the Pharmacy and Costa’s! ! ) couldn’t have been more helpful or kind. Thank you.


Appointments for Exeter princess Elizabeth orthapaedic dept

The care received once one gets through the appt system is great but— I have an appt for a op on my foot, appt arrives and states if on warfarin contact pre assessment. Rang and told will have general anaesthic so need a pre assessment and put me through to surgeons secretary. Answer phone. Rang twice more. Answer phone. Left messages with my hospital number, tel number etc each time. Have I been contacted. No. This I have to say is the norm I have experienced with orthapaedic appts. Other depts are so helpful and messages get through to consultants. I hope I hear eventually as I would like my op to go ahead.

Frustrated appt seeker

Long delay for discharge from hospital at QMC

I was looked after very well on ward B3 at the Queen’s Medical Centre.

Unfortunately, on the last night of my stay I was woken up and told that my bed was needed in an emergency, and so I was to be moved to a bed on the top floor of the hospital. The next day, I was told that I would be leaving that morning, but was then not discharged until 4pm as I had to wait until I was given my prescription of warfarin tablets.