"My overnight experience!"

About: East Surrey Hospital / General medicine

(as the patient),

Although I was sent to the AMU at ESH via the doctor as I had a racing heartbeat and attended with ECG reports and a letter, the waiting time to be seen was too long, I remained in a queue, rather than being prioritised given the information to hand. Once I had been seen then the care was incredibly good except for the way patients were evacuated from beds!

1. The elderly lady next to me had been told that she would be going home about 5pm and that they were waiting on a blood result. Whilst eating our lunch, a porter suddenly appeared and she was being taken to the departure lounge! We both looked shocked and she explained she was eating her lunch. The porter muttered something, waved their hands in the air and stomped off. When the porter returned 10 mins later and asked if she had 'finished now? ' (abruptly) we both explained she had not been discharged and was waiting for a 'medical' person to do so with her results.... the porter said they must have been alright and took her! ! ! Later the porter came back and explained to me that the bed manager and ward manager were chasing for beds and they had to get people out! (communication needs to be improved when patients are leaving AND training for porters in how to address patients as they are real people, not statistics.)

2. Another elderly patient (rather confused) had been taken out of her bed and sat on a chair half way down the ward. She was waiting to be transferred to another ward, another patient entered in a wheelchair and was given her bed - the one who had been turfed out of the bed remained sitting on the chair with her belongings for at least 30 mins... what was wrong with leaving the person in the wheelchair in the wheelchair for 30 mins - she was very 'with it' and needed no special equipment when put into the bed.... even the nurses were not happy with what had happened, you could see their exchanged looks and they kept apologising to the lady parked in the chair.

3. A carer came to visit her mother (dementia patient) and brought with her a clearly labelled walking frame, she asked for it to stay with the mother and also asked that she would be notified if the mother was moved. This same morning the mother was suddenly moved to another ward but the walking frame remained in our ward. The carer arrived and was very cross that no one had phoned her and that the walking frame had remained in our ward, separated from the mother.

Bearing in mind that this all happened in one morning!!! Maybe it needs training or improvement with communication or more staff.... people need to remember that whilst medical care is paramount, people are people and some are not 'with it enough' to know what is happening to them.

Again I must say that medical care and attentiveness was very good as were the surroundings. (a separate washing area leaving the toilet free for others would have been good).

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Response from Ben Mearns, Chief of Medicine, Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust

picture of Ben Mearns

Dear Polyanna

Thank you very much for your feedback. The experiences that you describe are completely unacceptable and I am extremely sorry that you were subject to this behaviour.

I will quickly speak with our Site management Team and ensure that this never happens again.

We have a duty of care to each and every patient under our care and it is thankfully rare in our hospital for someone to be treated in such a way.

I will deal with this immediately.

Please contact me on ben.mearns@sash.nhs.uk if you need anything further.

Kindest regards

Dr Ben Mearns

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