"Breast reconstruction"

About: Frenchay Hospital

I had a breast reconstruction in April 2014 and overall had a much better experience than my mastectomy at Southmead (the old hospital not the new building). Nursing care before, during and after the op was very good - things like being given antisickness meds for when you come round from general anaesthetic make all the difference. I only had to wait about 1 hour for my op which is good because it is very tiring having to wait for hours and hours during which you are not even allowed to have a small drink of water. There were no admin mix ups this time. I was also impressed with the way their physiotherapists check that you can walk up and down stairs safely before you are allowed to go home - this didn't happen at Southmead. They were very short staffed particularly on one day when one of the nurses was sent home sick unexpectedly, which led to us having some problems in our part of the ward with personal care which ended up creating an even higher workload for the remaining nursing staff having to do extra cleaning that could have been avoided. There weren't enough nurses to help me get out of bed that day (couldn't get up on my own), so this delayed me getting my mobility back and tubes removed. We also had some problems with the food - our bay of the ward always seemed to be the last one to get meals brought to us, by which time our choice from the menu had often run out, the remaining food was cold, and on one occasion a lady was left her meal but no cutlery to eat it with.

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Response from Frenchay Hospital

Dear Anonymous – thank you for your feedback about the Breast Care Services at North Bristol NHS Trust (NBT). I am pleased that surgically you had a very positive experience and that the after-care was also good, but I was disappointed to learn that the nursing team were stretched and that the ward hotel services were poor. Clearly receiving hot meals is an important part of the overall care package. A new Breast Care Centre will open on the Southmead site in the summer and this will allow NBT to deliver services from a much improved environment; I have included a link to the details: http://www.nbt.nhs.uk/bristolbreastcarecentre Surgical and related physiotherapy care will be delivered from the new Brunel Building, which again will ensure a much better patient experience. As part of a new initiative NBT have introduced a new role for a sister on each ward. This sister will not be directly involved in nursing care, but instead will be available to liaise with patients and their relatives and to immediately resolve any issues or problems (such as a poor meals service) and if necessary assist where staffing is unexpectedly reduced. I am sorry that you were not able to take advantage of this new system of supporting patients, but we are confident that future patients will benefit from the change. Thank you again for your comments which have been fed back to the departments and staff involved. Kind Regards – Steve Sykes Advice and Complaints Team.

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