"Serious room for improvement!!"

About: Derriford Hospital

I was moved from the MAU to the SAU, to Marlborough Ward having been admitted from A and E after collapsing at home. The time in MAU and SAU had vastly improved since my stay there in December 2013. There were more staff, who seemed attentive and caring, and they actually responded to my requests for water or whatever. The food had improved considerably too! I was then transferred to Marlborough (short-stay) Ward, and downhill from there! Too few nurses who cared, although there were a couple of exceptions, who seemed to either be gossiping amongst themselves or sat at the desk, not noticing when a dementia patient was about to pull out their canula, or wander off the ward. Numerous times either myself or my wife had to assist another patient who was about to get out of bed when they were wearing a red wristband! The staff just didn't seem to notice, and this was an open ward right in front of their desk! On one occasion my wife had to physically shout for a nurse to assist a man whose oxygen supply was compromised, despite him having rung his bell and been shouting for ages! Only when she jolted them out of their "own little world" was there any nursing assistance! Another time my wife asked at the desk whether or not a man should be getting up out of bed (wearing a red wristband) to be met with "he's not my patient!" Well he wasn't my wifes's either!! On the plus side, whilst the food wasn't as good as that in the MAU/SAU, the serving staff were lovely and very kind. The cleaning staff were also very thorough. As far as my actual care from doctors was concerned, the neurology department was very swift with their testing and results and keeping me informed of what was going on; cardiology however, wasn't! The Senior House Officer on the ward couldn't be faulted as he was very informative and extremely thorough and professional. In conclusion, it is the nursing staff who are your main contact when you are a frightened, vulnerable and ill patient, and the staff on Marlborough Ward need to adjust their attitude. Yes they were short-staffed, but that is not the fault of the patients. A more caring and observant attitude is required. Urgently!!! Two final observations: interestingly, nameplates were only just being fitted over the beds in Marlborough Ward during my stay, and television should be free for all patients!

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Response from Mary Anderson, Senior Quality Facilitator, Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust

Good morning,

Further to your recent posting, the Ward Manager for Marlborough has come back with a response which I attach below. I hope this is helpful.

Kind regards


Response from Marlborough Ward Manager

I am very sorry and apologise that the patient's stay was below their and my expectations. I do not expect staff to be gossiping at the desk. They are required to use the nurses' station to complete nursing paperwork, take phone calls and take nursing handover from MAU. It can often be busy around the desk. I have highlighted this to the nursing team to ensure that it does not occur again.

Regarding the patient with dementia, we often have a number of patients with dementia and other needs that require extra help and support. The staff are all trained to deal with this and are currently undergoing further training in caring for the confused patients, vulnerable adults and caring for the older person. Unfortunately patients with dementia often become more confused in an unfamiliar environment or when they are physically unwell.

I am unable to comment about the level of staffing at the time of the patient's admission or the cardiology team as I do not have dates of the admission or the patient's details.

The name boards were something that were not put in place before the ward opened so were installed at a later date. I'm afraid that the televisions are supplied and managed by a private company.

I would like to thank the patient their helpful feedback.

  • {{helpful}} {{helpful == 1 ? "person thinks" : "people think"}} this response is helpful

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