"Excellent surgical care; communications poor; instant tea"

About: Royal Hallamshire Hospital / General surgery

(as the patient),

I was admitted as an emergency with suspected appendicitis. At the end of a long day the appendix was removed, the wound has healed beautifully and, a month later, I am back at work. The surgical care was excellent, and was well explained.

But there are a number of elements of the hospital experience which could be improved, which I'll split into three parts - communications, recognition that the hospital environment which is an everyday workaday experience for the staff isn't that for the patients, and food.

First, communications; just tell us what is going on, and why. I wasn't able to have anything to drink during a long and painful day. Tell me why. I had a blood sample taken. For what purpose? Tell me why? I was given tablets to take but which they were & why wasn't well explained. Nor was the fact that they were likely to give me diaorrhea, and what to do when they did; I had to find that out by myself on the internet.

Second, taking for granted that we understand the system. We don't; we don't work there every day. Communicate with us what is happening and why. The gulf of perception can often be very wide and be illustrated in small but revealing ways. For example when I had a blood sample taken the nurse asked "Where do they normally take a blood sample from?" But I'm 59, I was last in hospital aged 9, 50 years ago; "normally" in relation to having a blood sample taken simply doesn't feature in my experience. There needs to be greater understanding that the patient experience of being in hospital is VERY different from the staff experience.

Finally, food. The food was generally OK, but surely we can do better than instant tea? Ye Gods. I was gagging for a cup of tea, but proper tea, not flavoured water. Is it beyond the NHS to use a kettle and some teabags? This felt like cost-effective tea as defined by an accountant. Fine; give it to an accountant. Let the rest of us have real tea made properly. These small things matter.

But, overall, I needed to lose my appendix and the Hallamshire made a good job of removing it.

Do you have a similar story to tell? Tell your story & make a difference ››