"Two sides to every story.........."

About: Royal Cornwall Hospital (Treliske)

I was admitted to South Crofty Ward, at 07.30 late Feb 2014, for a replacement hip operation. I was quickly shown to my bed, obviously I was a little nervous. I returned to the ward at approx 16.00 and was monitored hourly, for the rest of the day and through the night. Although in a certain amount of pain, I remained in good spirits, managing to eat a light meal, but didn’t get much sleep. It was during the night that I started to notice some marked differences, both in staffing and procedures, in relation to the day and night staff. Its an unfortunate fact, that as a patient, you do feel vulnerable and you also have an awful lot of time, to just observe. There were four night staff, as far as I could make out, one staff nurse and three nursing assistants, although it was difficult to tell, as some staff did not have name badges. The first thing I noticed, was that hand washing, was practically non existent, I had noticed that day staff, rigorously washed their hands, each time they moved from one patient, to the next. During the course of the night an elderly gentleman , became clearly confused and unfortunately was doubly incontinent. As the bay, was being used as a post operative ward, I was perplexed, how someone, with clearly challenging hygiene issues, could have been placed, in amongst a highly vulnerable group of patients. This obviously also perplexed the nurse, who was attending, stating in a loud voice and I quote, “ I am not sure what you are doing here and I have absolutely no idea what is wrong with you.” This same nurse proceeded to change this gentleman a number of times throughout the night, getting more and more frustrated. Soiled bed linen was just dumped on the floor and the smell, was quite sickening. Eventually the linen was bagged up, with no attempt to clean the floor. It was obviously very distressing for the gentleman and worrying for the rest of the patients . Eventually after an interminable night, it was a relief to see the day shift arrived. As I have stated previously, day staff worked faultlessly and although under pressure remained professional and compassionate at all times. Unfortunately, the night shift eventually arrived and virtually a re- run, of the previous nights poor hygiene practice, commenced. Eventually the day staff arrived . On my last night, before transferring to St Michaels, although under a different staff nurse, hygiene did not improve and I refused a replacement water jug which had been refilled, using the ward, hand washing sink by a male nurse. In the morning I reported this incident, but unfortunately was transferred before the ward co- coordinator, could speak to me. Having experienced my stay at Treliske, it appears that one of the routes that clostridium difficile and Norovirus may be entering the patient chain, is through the night shift and clearly action needs to be taken. The full version of this review is posted on Patient Opinion.

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Response from Royal Cornwall Hospital (Treliske)

Thank you for taking the time to give your feedback on your recent stay on South Crofty Ward. Your comments have been passed to the matron for Trauma and Orthopaedics who will take up the issues with the ward team.

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