"Terrible nurse care at the BMI Churchill."

About: Bmi - The Clementine Churchill Hospital

I attended the BMI Churchill as a day patient for a minor surgical procedure. I had originally been due to attend in the afternoon. I was contacted two days prior and asked if I would mind attending in the morning instead, because I was currently the only patient on the list in the afternoon and this would allow them to avoid having to pay the anaesthetist (actual reason given). I somewhat reluctantly agreed, as it meant rearranging my work schedule to accommodate. By way of incentive, they informed me that if I turned up by 7.15 am, they would put me first on the list. I turned up at 7am. I was then shown to my room, where I was kept waiting for *seven hours* (until 2pm) before my procedure. During this time I was, of course, not allowed to eat or drink as I was nil-by-mouth due to the operation being performed under a general anaesthetic. I was the last patient to be operated on for the day's list, not the first. Had someone said "I'm sorry there's a delay, you'll be seen in four hours" I wouldn't have been pleased, but I would at least have been informed. But no - instead, there was very little effort made to find out when my procedure would be undertaken (despite asking more than once), and the nursing staff seemed to feel that this state of affairs was acceptable. My room overlooked the car park and was particularly warm with the sun shining on to the windows all morning. I was extremely dehydrated after 7 hours without fluids. Nothing was done to prevent or mitigate this. Overall I found the nursing staff to be a) lacking in empathy, b) indifferent, c) careless, d) lacking in communication skills with poor English. One nurse who, sadly, was a student nurse only temporarily there, showed more empathy in all her dealings with me than the rest of her colleagues put together. An example of this is where she was assisting a more senior nurse in changing my dressings. The more senior nurse was most interested in changing the dressing in the minimum amount of time and with the minimum amount of effort. The student nurse was most interested in changing the dressing while causing the minimum amount of pain. The two approaches were markedly different. A similar minor illustration came when she wished to remove the cannula from my hand. The senior nurse was all for ripping off the sticking label (and all of the hair on my hand with it); The student nurse was quite happy for me to peel the label off my hand with significantly less discomfort. While simple examples, these were indicative of the general attitattitude of the nurses. Most of the nurses knocked before entering the room (there is no lock on the door). Some didn't feel a need to bother. One entered the room while I was in the bathroom, and continued to do her paperwork in my room while she waited for me to emerge. The door was frequently left open after they had entered, so that anyone walking past could easily see in. Food was simplistic and poor.

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Response from Bmi - The Clementine Churchill Hospital

I am sorry that your stay with us was below your expectations. I have checked our complaints system and we haven’t received a complaint that fits in with your feedback, and as you have posted anonymously, it’s difficult to respond to you directly. I’d like to invite you to contact me at the hospital so together we can investigate your experience with us further. Details of how to contact me are below. I can comment generally on the issues that you have raised. Whilst we try to minimise changes to the operating list, sometimes delays happen due to unforeseen circumstances. You quite rightly mention that being kept informed helps somewhat in such circumstances. We endeavour to keep patients informed and apologise that this did not happen on this occasion. I’m surprised at the reason given to you for the delay, as the hospital does not incur the cost for the anaesthetist. I’m sorry to hear that you found some of the nursing care to be unacceptable. We are aware of how important it is for nurses to show empathy to patients at all times. We are in the process of implementing the Chief Nurse of England ‘6 Cs’ initiative, which is to demonstrate care, compassion, competence, communication, commitment and courage to remind our nursing teams of the importance of this in providing good patient care. (More information can be found at http://www.england.nhs.uk/nursingvision/ ). It is not possible to provide locks on the doors of the room due to safety reasons. As we care for patients following operations who have undergone an anaesthetic or who might be extremely unwell, there is the possibility that the patient might become unwell and need immediate attention. If they had locked the door of their room we would not be able to reach them. It’s therefore important that we have access to the rooms should we need it urgently. However, I would expect anyone entering the rooms to knock and, following your feedback, I will reiterate the importance of that and the need to retain privacy, to the hospital teams. We also have a reason for completing any paperwork in patient’s rooms. We encourage our nurses to complete any patient documentation whilst in the patient’s room so they can involve the patient in the recording of their treatment. We are sorry to hear that you found the menu choices and food poor. We will speak to Chef regarding your comments about the food. As I mentioned at the start of my response, I really would appreciate you contacting me through the hospital as I believe that we can learn from your experience to make things better for other patients. I can be reached via the Clementine Churchill Hospital at: Sudbury Hill Harrow Middlesex, HA1 3RX Or please telephone 020 8872 3872 and explain that I have asked you to get in touch with me. Kind regards Kay Ferris Regional Director of Nursing BMI Healthcare

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