"Very unpleasant stay"

About: Royal Berkshire Hospital

I was admitted to the a&e department in February after calling NHS direct. During my stay I was told that I had pneumonia and would have to be admitted, and would need to stay for the next couple of days. I had many issues with the a&e department whilst there: The cleanliness of the hospital shocked me, and I felt there were several issues. The bin was opposite where I was and it was overflowing, with rubbish and dirty tissues on the floor. It was at least three hours before the bin was changed, and even then the waste on the floor was left a couple more hours until a cleaner swept the floor. As I was being sick. The rubbish on the floor was even kicked to the side by a couple of staff members. I had sick bowls which were never taken away -I cleaned them away myself the next day as I left. The metal bar on the trolley that was used to secure my drip looked like it had only been cleaned on one side -you could see the marks down one side where it had been cleaned and stains on the other side (it seems like it hadn't been lifted to be cleaned). The nurses station was nearby to where I was left, and they talked for a lot of the night, meaning I was unable to sleep. Sometimes they discussed patients (allowing me to hear confidential information about those around me), other times just chatting generally. Whilst I understand they have a very hard job, and they need to communicate with each other, I felt that it would have been more appropriate somewhere more private; or at a lower volume. At one stage their conversation went on for over an hour whilst they discussed their opinions on plastic surgery. I also felt that they weren't making checks on patients as often as they should -for example my drip was finished for over an hour before I was able to get the attention of a passing nurse. The doctor I first saw told me that I would need to stay for a couple of days, but I was then told the next morning that I was being sent home (to my relief). I feel this may have been because of a lack of beds -something that I heard the nurses discussing over night. I had been told different things by the different doctors I saw and felt quite uniformed in regards to my treatment. I was also told they had lost my samples and would need to retake them but this never happened. I was very ill throughout the day after being released and was re-admitted to hospital (a different one) the following evening, where I felt the treatment I received was of a much higher and more reassuring standard.

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Response from Royal Berkshire Hospital

May we offer our sincere apologies for your experience in the Emergency Department (ED). We strive very hard to deliver a positive experience but on this occasion we have let you down. The department has been very busy of late as we strive to get patients admitted to ward areas within 4 hours and the fact that you have been in the ED overnight is a direct reflection of how busy the department is. To add to this, ED is fully operational 24 hours a day so it is going to be noisy and busy compared to a ward. We apologise for the state of the bins and the loud conversations and the matron for the area will reiterate to her staff about ensuring conversations are out of ear shot of patients to preserve confidentiality. Should you wish to discuss this further please contact Matron Brenda Morton on 0118 322 8088.

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