"Highs and lows - Emergency operation and recovery..."

About: Queen's Medical Centre

I was admitted to hospital on 16th December 2013 and diagnosed with acute Ulcerative Colitis. After failing all medical treatment I underwent an emergency colectomy with ileostomy. I spent time in four wards throughout my stay: B3, F21, E12 (HDU) and E14 and in all but one, I received a brilliant level of care. On the whole, my care at the QMC was exemplary. Upon admission I was promptly seen by a consultant. After spending a few nights on B3 and receiving a good level of care I was transferred to F21. I cannot say thank you enough to the staff on F21. Every one of the nurses was compassionate, hard-working and attentive despite the busy nature of the ward and it being the run-up to the Christmas period. The ward was decorated for Christmas and all staff did their best to keep up a festive spirit. I was scared about the possibility of surgery and not only did the nurses provide top medical care, but also took the time to reassure me. They treated everybody with dignity and respect. They were very welcoming to my visitors. The gastroenterologists and later the consultant surgeon who treated me explained everything thoroughly and were extremely caring and understanding throughout. When I didn't understand things they'd told me they were always prepared to explain again. My consultant surgeon even came and spoke to me on New Year's Day before operating on Jan 2nd. I cannot thank her enough - not only for saving my life! But also for talking to me with real sympathy and honesty that made such a difficult situation a lot more bearable. The care I received in E12 (HDU) was of a very high standard and I was looked after brilliantly throughout. However, I cannot honestly say the same for the care I received in E14. Sadly, after what was a largely positive stay, the week I spent in E14 left me desperate to leave. Several staff members in particular were rude and very unkind. Pain relief was woefully inadequate and always late - I was left, 5 days after open abdominal surgery, without any relief for 7 hours before it became so intolerable a doctor had to administer an emergency dose of IV morphine. Nurses argued openly in front of me about my care. One older lady was left for 90 mins+ needing the toilet (until she was crying and begging) - nurses came regularly to snap at her that they were busy, and she'd have to wait. Even the Christian 'support' people were terribly rude and when I said I wanted to attend a church service in a bed or chair (I was still bedbound at this point) they told me to 'stop making such a big deal and walk'. One morning I got out of bed, my bed was stripped then left unmade for 8 hours. My new stoma bag (full of my own faeces) leaked onto my open wound and when I asked a nurse to help me change it, she told me she needed her lunch break. There are more stories, but I've run out of characters. In short, the majority of my care was excellent, but E14 let the whole stay down. I would be terrified to ever return to that ward.

Story from NHS Choices

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Response from Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust

Thank you for taking the time to write and share your experiences of our hospital. We are glad to hear that during your time with us you felt that you received good care on wards B3, F21, and E12, and from the consultant gastroenterologists and surgeons We will share your kind words with all our colleagues there - we are sure they will appreciate them.

Thank you too for sharing your experience of care on ward E14. We are sorry that on that occasion you did not feel cared for, and your feedback is valuable to help us identify where we can do better. It is of great concern to us to read about the poor attitudes and behaviour you feel you and other patients received from colleagues on the ward and this is certainly not in keeping with the standards we expect all staff to abide by. We are always looking to how we can improve patient experience and we are confident that any issues on ward E14 at that time will now have been addressed by the ward managers, however we will share your feedback with them so they can be made aware of your own experience, to help avoid similar occurrences in the future.

If you would like to speak directly to us more about any of your experiences, positive or negative, you can contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) at PALS@nuh.nhs.uk or by telephone to 0800 183 02 04, we would be happy to hear from you.