"Staff had no time for patients"

About: Royal Hallamshire Hospital / General surgery

(as the patient),

I reported to ward H day room at 7.00am for my six monthly bladder check. My son had problems finding the admissions desk. No one came into the room until 7.50am when a member of staff called my name and escorted me to the admissions office. I asked the young nurse to carry my bag and she seemed surprised. The admissions nurse found my blood pressure high. The anaesthetist came into the room (apparently on other business) and introduced himself and agreed to use anaesthetic as it had been successful twice before. My blood pressure reduced to an acceptable level and I went into theatre at 3.00pm. After several unsuccessful attempts of injecting, I was given general anaesthetic. On my return to the ward at 6.00pm, I was attached to a drip, oxygen and a catheter. A jug of water was put out of my reach on the table next to me. I wasn’t given any comforting cups of tea and toast was offered as had been in past operations.

At almost 9.00pm a bed time drink of tea or coffee (no other choice) was given. When given a dose of paracetamol later I was advised to ring for help if I was in pain but when I did so I was told that they were too busy to give me more pain killers. During the morning the catheter was removed and I was told I could go home, and it was obvious that the bed was needed ASAP. I arranged for transport from Loxley Park to take me home. This is the fourth time I have been admitted to wad H. I have always gone there in the belief that my stay would be as much without stress as possible, and thought very highly of the care I received. This time the staff had no time for patient comfort e.g. straightening sheets and clothing and leaving water within reach and interviews with surgeons and the anaesthetists was rushed. There was no time for kindness and reassurance.

The staff were always under pressure to keep up with schedule it seemed. Being an “old hand” at being hospitalised, I was able to tolerate the conditions, but had I been a young woman, fearful of what was happening to her this would have been a frightful experience. There also seems to be a fault with communications between pre-op clinic and the GP, since the high blood pressure was not treated before I was admitted. I am reluctant to complain but feel I should in this case for the sake of NHS quality of service.

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