"My son presented for a knee injury ..."

About: Hemel Hempstead Hospital

(as a relative),

What I liked

My son presented for a knee injury incurred during sport. He was seen quickly and xrayed but clinical staff had very poor communication skills that severly reduced their effectiveness and gave a very unprofessional impression. The clinician was not a native english speaker and was sometimes impossible to understand - despite attempts to clarify. My teenage old son asked me later if it was normal for doctors to be allowed to chew gum. More specifically, as parents we were not properly briefed on the diagnosis. We were simply given a standard leaflet for knee exercises and were not advised how or when to start this regime. When I enquired of the hospital later to find out what the diagnosis was I was told by a nurse that the notes simply said 'ligaments'. How ambiguous is that? As it turned out, a later diagnosis is of Osgood Schlatters where initially, the knee exercises are not recomended at least initially.

What could be improved

Verbal and written communication skills.

Send patients home with a written diagnosis. A few words on a postcard is all that is needed. Recomended home treatment and the relevance of patient leaflets should be explained.

Ban chewing gum - especially when dealing with patients.

The ability for patients to review notes online following discharge. This would avoid having to distract nursing staff from their duties in the event that patients have queries about what they have been diagnosed with / recomended to do.

Story from NHS Choices

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Response from Antony Tiernan, Director of Corporate Affairs and Communications, Communications and corporate affairs, West Herfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust

picture of Antony Tiernan

Unfortunately, we didn't reply to this review at the time it was posted. Considering it is now old, we have decided not to respond. However, it has been read and its contents noted.

For more information about the work of our hospitals, visit www.westhertshospitals.nhs.uk. Alternatively, you can follow us on Twitter: @westhertsnhs.

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