"Medical wards 7 to 9"

About: Princess Royal University Hospital (Orpington)

Over the last four weeks, our elderly parents/grandparents have been admitted and discharged by Medical wards 7, 8 and 9 on more than one occasion allowing us to get a reasonable insight into their care. The porters and day staff have been very helpful, friendly, respectful and caring towards them, particularly considering the very hot weather conditions they have had to work in of late. No air conditioning, windows that are limited in how far they can open and one small fan to move between a bay of patients have exacerbated the situation particularly when your relative is already dehydrated before admission and suffering from a fever. However, unfortunately the night staff cast a shadow over the quality of care at the PRU. In two of those wards at both the beginning and end of their shifts we have found them to be unhelpful, incompetent (failing to inform subordinates that our relative is nil by mouth after a supposed 90 minute handover) and not responding to the calls and requests of our relative. It is very distressing to leave a distressed loved one nearing the end of their life in the hands of a group of nurses 'led' by someone who does not have the common curtesy or respect to allow visitors or patients to communicate their concerns and needs. They seemed to fail to understand that they needed to comfort and care for physical and mental wellbeing of their patients and based on what we witnessed they seemed to be failing on both accounts. In the morning, today the night staff albeit different individuals on medical ward 8 were equally rude and unhelpful, causing huge concern for our relatives.

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Response from Princess Royal University Hospital

I am very sorry to hear that the recent heat and our ward environments were so uncomfortable when your relatives have been admitted for care. We will be reviewing actions that can be undertaken to resolve the problem, acknowledging at the moment that the wards do not have in built air conditioning. The windows have to be limited in the amount they are able to be opened for patient safety reasons I am afraid. Your comments about differences in the quality of nursing between day and night shifts are of significant concern to us and I have our Director of Nursing for the Princess Royal site will be discussing your comments with the Matrons responsible for the individual ward areas. If there are comments you would wish me to pass on relating to a specific ward area please do not hesitate to contact me, my email contact is cathy.varley@nhs.net