"Great teamwork brings success"

About: Queen's Medical Centre / Trauma and orthopaedics

(as the patient),

The operation I had last week was a knee arthroscopy at the Queens Medical Centre in Nottingham. I had an identical operation there three years ago so I was not stressed by the thought of going in. However, last time I was in hospital I stayed two nights whereas this time I arrived at 7.15am and was out at 7.00pm the same day. That was a big improvement.

I should have had the operation last month but had to postpone it after getting pneumonia. I was phoned to arrange a new date and this was the earliest date that I would have been fit enough for the operation anyway, so I did not have to suffer any delay.

Inevitably there was a lot of waiting during my day at the hospital; I didn't go to the theatre until mid-day, but then I was second on the list. I am not complaining at all. If they had told me to come in at 10am and the patient in front of me had phoned in sick, then lots of expensive staff and resources would have been standing idle.

Anyway, I was quite enjoying the wait. There were six of us sitting in a ward bay where reclining chairs took the place of beds. In between nurses, doctors and admin staff visiting us, we chatted and compared histories.

All staff were very polite, professional and thorough; they were also very friendly. Even the man who wheeled me down to the holding room struck up an interesting conversation. Because it was lunchtime when I arrived to have my anesthetic there was a bit of a delay in entering the theatre. Even so, the nurse who was with me (you are never left alone) chatted with me all the time. Had I been nervous, this would have put me at ease. Even the anesthetist spared me a few moments to talk about her past work experience.

There is no 'them and us' attitude, everyone bends over backwards to reassure you and put you at ease. The thoroughness with which every member of staff checks your identity and the operation you are having is amazing - but also reassuring. The giant arrow drawn on my right leg and pointing at my knee took days to wash off! A tip to others; don't forget your date of birth or you will never get past anyone.

When I was operated on three years ago it was my first general anesthetic and I was a bit worried. However, as I discovered then - and again this time - it is amazing. The time between falling asleep and waking up disappears. There is no sensation of time, it seems like two seconds. No dreaming, no feeling during the operation. I just woke up, wide-awake and with a clear head with two nurses looking down at me. I must have dropped off to sleep again because the next moment I was being wheeled into the bay where I had spent the morning.

My leg felt a bit stiff because my knee was heavily bandaged but I had no pain. In fact I have not taken any of the tablets given to me at any time since the operation - not even a paracetamol. I actually felt more refreshed than before the operation; I suppose I had had an extra hour's sleep.

Now that the ban on mobile phones has been relaxed, I was able to switch mine on and reassure my wife that all was well. This is a great asset but I hope that future patients don't abuse the arrangement and that they only use their phone for essential calls, silencing them at all other times.

After I had been been trained in the use of crutches, seen by the physiotherapist, been given my tablets and officially discharged I had almost finished reading the book I had brought with me. I had time to enjoy a coffee inside the main entrance before my wife arrived. She was able to park for 5 minutes while she helped me to the car.

Every member of staff was excellent that day and I appreciate all they did for me. If we did not have the NHS and all treatment had to be paid for then, I for one, would not have been able to afford this operation. It cost me £354 last month when a plumber replaced a small part on a copper pipe - and he displayed few professional qualities.

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