"Review of Ashton Ward"

About: Kettering General Hospital

I completed a 'Friends and Family' form as I left Ashton Ward on 23rd December 2013 following a 5 night stay after a knee replacement. I tried to follow up what then happened to the form and was just told that they had all been entered from the day in question and that there was no way of finding out if my particular form had been processed. I have found no evidence of the form having been processed, although anonymous, some of the comments are quite specific. I will try to recreate some of my comments from the form here. I am delighted with the surgery. My knee replacement has been a great success, however my experience of Ashton Ward was not so good. On reflection I would say that I was traumatised by my 5 night stay. I felt too upset and vulnerable to complain whilst I was a patient however if it were to happen to me again (heaven forbid!) I now know that I need to 'speak up' at the time, no matter how vulnerable I am feeling. There was no TV or 'day' room available on the ward, meaning no detraction or place to 'escape'. Unfortunately one of the other patients had a very nasty cough and another snored very loudly, day and night. It would have been nice to have somewhere to escape to without leaving the ward completely for some peace and quiet or to watch TV. I was not offered ice-pack relief until I was crying with pain. I am used to pain as I have inflammatory arthritis, however the postoperative pain was understandably more severe than I was used to. I was not catheterised and had to use bed pans to urinate following the spinal block. I was encouraged to drink as much fluid as possible and therefore the bed pans were full when I emptied my bladder. I was left sitting in the full bed pan for some considerable time, several times, as staff were too busy to help me. I was advised to keep pressing the buzzer for help. This felt both uncomfortable, degrading and I was made to feel a 'nuisance' each time. Many staff seemed to be rather defensive in my opinion, leading to a rather strange atmosphere on the ward. I have since wondered if this had something to do with the number of 'bank' staff on duty. There seemed to be rather a lot of whispering in corners and blame rather than a caring atmosphere which was most unpleasant. Perhaps the thing which shocked me most was the lack of cleaning in the bathrooms. I used the bathroom nearest to my bed and the tick list on the wall was not updated between 04.00 on 20/12 and 10.05 on 23/12. I have kept photographic evidence of the cleaning checklist. I'm not sure if the closeness to Christmas led to staff being more distracted than usual, one nurse openly bragged how little sleep they had had in the past few days due to Christmas socialising! I had experienced wonderful care on the day case Treatment Unit some months prior to this admittance and was shocked at the contrast. I also found the physiotherapy available following surgery to be very helpful.

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Response from Kettering General Hospital

I am very disappointed to read your review and I am sorry that you have had an unpleasant experience. We take seriously any comments of this nature and will feed this back to the team on Ashton Ward. In order that we can investigate this further and ensure that this is not repeated would you kindly contact the Patient Advice & Liaison Service (PALS) or Amanda Punter, Patient Experience Facilitator for Surgery on 01536 491227 and provide them with your contact details.

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