"Short staffed, then long wait for medication"

About: Watford General Hospital

(as the patient),

Went to Watford General Hospital as I broke my ankle in 3 places and required surgery. I was waiting over an hour before I was seen to (I was taken by ambulance so I wasn’t in complete agony). Eventually got an x-ray done, though I must point out the nurse asked my friends to wheel chair me to the x-ray room!

After this I had a back-cast put on. My friend fainted from the heat and was put on a bed next to me. She was later told off by a nurse for lying on the bed, without even asking if she was a patient!

I was taken to a temporary ward and was hoping to be transferred quite quickly, unfortunately I ended up staying the night and the only dinner they are able to provide is a sandwich! I got my 2nd xray at midnight and had to wait until the next afternoon before being transferred. This was only held up because the junior sister wanted to go on her break. When she returned she waited another hour until I was transferred. I found this ward very short-staffed, slow to responding to patients buzzers and the communication was very poor. An elderly man next to me was told he could go home by a doctor. When he got dressed the nurse had a go at him for being dressed, when he explained she said the doctor never told her he could go home.

My surgery was cancelled until the next day after being transferred. I found the staff generally more friendly, but a couple of staff members were very slow in attending to patients and the bed pans were left for long periods of time before being collected.

The day of my surgery, I had not eaten since the sandwich the day before. Despite having ordered dinner from the menu, I arrived back from surgery half hour after dinner had been served and was told I was too late for dinner. I was offered a choice of 1 sandwich.....corn beef. I declined and was starved until breakfast the next day.

I was discharged the next day and was told it would be quicker to wait in the discharge lounge because I would get my medication quicker. It was the complete opposite, it took nearly 4 hours of waiting! I was in a cast and had to elevate my leg as much as possible, after 2 hours of waiting I had to ask for a stool which was too low anyway. Lots of people were complaining about the long wait especially a gentleman next to me with a heart condition. The staff told us they had no power over the Pharmacy and they have had the same problem everyday since it opened in February.

Conclusion – I think that after the closure of Hemel Hempstead A&E, this hospital does not have the provisions to cater for the amount of patients coming in from the surrounding areas. Many of the staff seemed new or students, doctors’ visits to patients were few and far between and patients were waiting a long time for help. Clearly the NHS is not the best it ever has been as suggested by the PM and anyone who saw confessions of a nurse on Channel 4 recently will know exactly what does go on behind the scenes at NHS hospitals.

I think that something needs to be done and fast, as people like me are losing trust in the NHS.

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