"Other than breakfasts I was well looked after"

About: Borders General Hospital / Stroke Unit The Knoll Hospital

(as the patient),

In February last year I suffered a stroke. I was taken to the BGH where I was cared for for 4 weeks. In early March I was subsequently transferred to the Knoll Hospital, Duns where I stayed for a further 4 weeks. In both hospitals the nursing care was excellent. On most days I was attended by a Physiotherapist or Occupational Therapist who gave me ever exacting exercises.

There was one problem, however. Twenty-one years ago I was diagnosed with stomach cancer and I was sent to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary (old one) where I had a complete gastrectomy. After recovery my eating habits changed. I had to eat little and often. Foods which I had previously liked made me feel queasy. E.g. Cereals with milk and porridge. The dietician gave me a diet sheet indicating that I should have a fried breakfast and in order to increase my weight I should eat foods that slimmers would normally avoid. This I have happily and successfully done for the last 20 years.

I had no problems at the BGH where for breakfast I was given a bacon roll. This was the only fried breakfast available.

However at the Knoll Hospital, I was told that there was no cooked breakfast available. I would have to choose between cereals, porridge, toast, grated cheese or fruit.

Twice I had been taken to the patients’ kitchen by the Occupational Therapist where I was tested in making tea and toast. No problems. Hopefully, I suggested that I could make my own breakfast of fried bacon, tomatoes and toast. I would get my wife to bring the food for cooking. After she had consulted with superiors this suggestion was turned down. (On the morning after I returned home I successfully made a breakfast of fried bacon, fried tomatoes and toast.) It was delicious!

During most of my stay at the Knoll my breakfasts consisted of toast and grated cheese, Cuppa Soup, fruit or tinned fruit. I did not enjoy my breakfasts.

Other than breakfasts I was well looked after. I was given an uncooked snack whenever I asked. During the night when I sometimes had reflux I would be given a cup of tea to relieve the burning sensation in my throat.

Please do not think that I did not appreciate all of the care, attention and kindness I received in the Knoll.

I only wish that a little more could be done for those who have abnormal dietary requirements.

Yours sincerely,


Response from Karen Maitland, Assistant Service Manager for Unscheduled Care, NHS Borders 5 months ago
Karen Maitland
Assistant Service Manager for Unscheduled Care,
NHS Borders
Submitted on 06/02/2020 at 10:05
Published on Care Opinion at 10:05

Dear restonpeter

Thank you for taking the time to use Care Opinion to share the details of your experience of your stay in the Borders Stroke Unit. I will ensure that your feedback is shared with the staff on the ward. It is great to hear that you found the nursing care to be excellent.

I appreciate how life changing suffering a stroke is and having to spend a total of 8 weeks in hospital would have been a worrying time for you and your family. I am therefore pleased that during your time at the BGH and the Knoll you received great care from the nurses, physiotherapists and occupational therapists. Having a multidisciplinary team approach to our patient's care is vital in their stroke recovery and we are proud of this approach at NHS Borders.

I hope you have now fully recovered and are coping well back at home.

Best wishes


  • restonpeter doesn't think this response is helpful
    {{helpful}} other {{helpful == 1 ? "person thinks" : "people think"}} it is helpful

Update posted by restonpeter (the patient)

Dear Karen,

Your reply was quite positive and encouraging as far as it went.

However by making no mention of my special needs it appears that the subject was deliberately avoided.

The main point in my report was that despite my diet recommendations I was refused a cooked breakfast at the Knoll Hospital. I may be wrong, but it appears to me that the rules are made for the benefit of the staff (and costs) rather than for the requirements of the patient who has special needs. I was quite willing to make, provide and pay for my breakfasts.

On reflection, despite the excellent care I received at the Knoll, it might have been better for me to have been at a hospital where my special diet was catered for.

Yours sincerely,


Response from Caroline Burgess, Clinical Nurse Manager, Primary & Community Services, NHS Borders 5 months ago
Caroline Burgess
Clinical Nurse Manager, Primary & Community Services,
NHS Borders
Submitted on 17/02/2020 at 12:45
Published on Care Opinion at 12:45

Dear restonpeter

Thank you for your feedback relating to your stay at the Knoll Community Hospital. Karen sent me the link to your feedback to respond regarding your situation and a cooked breakfast.

As you may be aware, there are limited facilities at the Knoll to support requests for a cooked breakfast and I would suggest that supporting patients to make their own fried breakfasts would be difficult to facilitate (but maybe not impossible). Whilst an Occupational Therapist was able to supervise the making of tea and toast, the ability to support making a fried breakfast daily at breakfast time would be a challenge. I have however taken your comments on board and will add this to the ward meeting agenda for next week where I will be present so we can discuss as a team ways of supporting patients such as yourself who have nutritional needs which we cannot meet with the usual meal options. This will need support from the estates and facilities team if we do identify what more we can do so I will include them with any options we identify.

Fluids and nutrition are an important part of the healing process and it is imperative that we meet our individual patient needs, thank you again for the feedback.

Kind regards,

Caroline Burgess

Clinical Nurse Manager

  • {{helpful}} {{helpful == 1 ? "person thinks" : "people think"}} this response is helpful

Update posted by restonpeter (the patient)

Dear Ms Burgess,

Thank you for your helpful response to my comments. I am pleased that your going to discuss my problem at the next ward meeting.

I would reiterate that as well as having no stomach, I have no spleen or gallbladder.

I would also reiterate that I regretted being a nuisance and greatly appreciated everything that was done for me.

Would it be too much trouble to let me know what decision, if any, was made at next week's ward meeting?

Yours sincerely,


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