"Colon cancer treatment in Portsmouth - good care, communication could be a bit better"

About: Queen Alexandra Hospital

(as the patient),

I have been treated for colon cancer over the last year in St Mary's and Queen Alexandra's hospitals, Portsmouth. I can only praise the dedication and hard work of all of those involved. Their work, I believe, has been of the highest standards of professionalism

.My only substantial criticism is that of interdisciplinary co-ordination. As I have been passed from one specialist area to another, there has often been an obvious lack of timely information passing to ensure that each succeeding specialist has the complete information on which to proceed. As a recently retired businessman, I have often been able to ask questions about what is to be the next speciality to deal with me and have been able, therefore, to aid in passing information. But I have many times thought that, if I was the 'little old lady' of fable, I would be completely confused by the vague statements about my next treatment step and unable to provide intelligent information to my next 'handler'.

An additional, though much smaller criticism is that of food and drink. The menu given to me for my first meal after having a stoma installed, appeared to be the menu common to all patients. Advice on what I should eat from the menu was not available, nor were what I would consider meals appropriate to a patient with such potentially special dietary requirements. In addition, the delivery mechanisms for the supply of drinking water appeared to be that established sometime during the Crimean War. The summer of 2006 was extremely hot and I was on my back for 5 weeks in an un-cooled ward. Repeated requests for a more frequent supply of cold water went largely un-responded to.

But I must conclude by saying again that I could not fault the skills and dedication of all the staff with whom I had contact, and I am very grateful to them for all of the help they gave to me.

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