"Lack of respect and thought for ill anxious..."

About: Royal Berkshire Hospital

Surgery in Sonning Ward on 12/5/14. First nurse was very quietly spoken and respectful as were the two surgeons I saw at the bedside. Otherwise, not good at all. Nurse who came to prepare me for theatre talked loudly about my symptoms and surgery at bedside. Asked her to lower her voice. She asked why. I pointed to a patient in adjacent bed. Nurse said 'oh don't worry about her she's a nurse'. I replied 'I'm a member of the public and entitled to privacy and confidentiality'. o apology or recognition of the truth of that. She took me to theatre, didn't use gel on the way in to theatre suite nor wash her hands in pre-op room despite my asking and then telling her to. She kept saying she'd do it later. She said 'I'll do this first' and put ECG pads onto me. Another nurse there who was washing her hands said (in a tone of voice as if to justify her colleague's action) 'tests show the gel doesn't really work'. No point RBH having posters telling patients to ask staff if their hands are clean if staff couldn't care less! Went into surgery with heightened anxiety. In recovery, woken gently but nurse wandered off so 3 times another (male) patient had to alert the nurse to the fact that my machine was beeping and had red flashing lights. I was told to take deep breaths so presumably my oxygen levels or heart rate were down which I find scary. Lovely original quiet nurse arrived to take me back. to the ward. Saw my pulse rate was 45 and refused to take me (Thank you!). Recovery nurse said 'oh she'll be OK. Go on, take her'. Original nurse refused. Conversation continued thus until pulse rate went up a bit. Back on the ward, a different nurse came several times to do checks. After one such session, she grunted with satisfaction. She then (when I asked what happens next) looked surprised and said 'you go home' and pulled the curtains right back. I pointed out that I needed to get dressed. She said yes and walked away. I called her back and asked her to close the curtains. She did so with a bad grace and so roughly they came away from their position by the wall, leaving me again without privacy as she walked off. I was in the bay furthest from nurses' station. I said to my companion that if we had recorded the noise the nurses made throughout the morning and played it back to anyone else, they would think we had recorded an office party. Shouting, laughing, calling 'Bye...'. Have they no conception that ill or anxious people need peace and quiet and hard surfaces bounce sound around? The nurse in the bed opposite me went to sleep with 2 pillows over her ears. All staff individually pleasant enough but exhibited an astonishing lack of basic consideration. They seem to have lost sight of their vocation. Would any of them talk so loudly and laugh and shout about at home if someone were ill or anxious? I'm just so glad that I was only in for the day.

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Response from Royal Berkshire Hospital

We are really sorry that your care was not managed well. We consider it important that we provide a safe, respectful and therapeutic environment for patients and that we do all that we can to protect our patients from acquiring infections. Clearly this was not your experience for which we apologise. It would be of help to us if you would contact us via our Patient Relations Team on 0118 322 8338 (email talktous@royalberkshire.nhs.uk) if you felt able to.

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