"I was a patient on ward B1 for ..."

About: Rotherham Hospital

(as the patient),

What I liked

I was a patient on ward B1 for 4 days at the beginning of the month.

The noise on the ward was not conducive to aiding recovery, with "buzzers" not being answered for 10 to 20 minutes on some occasions.

The telephones ring and ring, in fact my wife timed the lenght it took to answer and it varied from 5 to 18 minutes on one occasion, of course the patients in bed can hear this constantly.

I heard an elderly man ask for a drink of Horlicks at night but all that was on offer was tea or coffe, not much of an aid to restful sleep, and the same man asked for a bowl of porridge the following morning only to be told that only cereals or bread and jam were on offer nothing warm to eat.

The nursing staff were always busy and there seemed so few of them, the staff nurses often having to look after 2 bays instead of the one.

I was seen by one consultant and told I had to stay in, yet was seen later that day by another and told I could go home, however this was not passed on to the nursing staff

What could be improved

To have someone dedicated to answer the phones,

To improve the refreshments on offer particularly the night time drink.

To offer a hot midday meal rather than soup and sandwiches

To improve the liason between medical and nursing staff.

To try and cut down on the noise particularly at night

To increase the number of nurses/auxillarys on duty

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Response from Rotherham Hospital

Thank you for bringing to my attention the concerns raised regarding your stay on the Emergency Admissions Unit (EAU) in April 2008.

May I take this opportunity to explain some of the concerns highlighted.

Noise of the buzzers: I would like to reassure you that when a patient requires assistance from a member of staff after using the handsets provided, the standard on B1 is that buzzers are answered as quickly as possible. If a buzzer continues to ring it may not suggest that help has not been provided as it could be due to

1) a further buzzer ringing in unison still waiting to be answered, or

2) an override of the system which means that if a buzzer is not answered within the systems allocated time, it will continue to buzz even when it has been switched off. However if this was not your experience please accept my apologies. The override system has been highlighted as a problem and hopefully will be resolved in the near future.

Noise at night: The unit provides 24 hour service for admissions therefore depending on how busy the unit is, there will always be a level of noise, but I would like to reassure you that as the Ward Manager I have brought this to the attention of my staff to ensure that they limit the volume of noise at night by staff.

On EAU (B1) the receptionist answers all internal and outside calls at the main desk. If a call is for a specific patient then the call is transferred to the appropriate bay. The nurse may not always be within that bay as often they have a further bay of patients to care for and also ward and drug rounds to attend to. I have re-highlighted to the receptionists that when possible they check that the nurse is available to take the call so that the bay telephone is not constantly ringing, thus causing un-necessary noise.

Can I reassure you also that Horlicks and hot chocolate beverages are also available on B1. I have brought to the attention of staff via our weekly ward meeting that these choices should be offered / available at all times and I am sorry this was not the case during your admission.

In the past a hot meal was offered, but it was found that the majority of patients who attended the emergency admissions unit were either nil by mouth or too ill to eat a large meal resulting in meal wastage. Therefore it was suggested that soup and sandwiches were more appropriate for the Emergency Admissions Unit.

The sandwiches are pre packed therefore can be refrigerated on B1 until the expiry date. They are also readily available throughout the day and night if patients are admitted in-between meal times.

Currently I am awaiting confirmation to employ a designated house keeper, as such an appointment will help us to maintain the high standards we strive for on EAU.

Again I would like to apologise for any distress experienced and assure you all your comments have been taken on board to ensure any patient admitted onto ward B1 receives an excellent standard of care.

Tina Smith

Acting Ward Manager B1.

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