"Aftercare, terrible!"

About: The Tunbridge Wells Hospital

I was treated in the gynaecology department in December last year as I needed a laparotomy to remove a large Ovarian Cyst. Upon arrival my husband and I were ushered into a wating area, and then left there, with a few other bewildered couples! We were shown no reassurance or ' warmth'. In a short while a nurse entered and demanded that our partners should now leave,. As she put it, this was a 'drop off and go' arrangement because there wouldn't be room for them to wait. Without exception they all refused, and remained with us,. It seems very discompassionate to leave anxious patients without any support, and particularly when we were left pretty much in the dark; nobody had taken the time to explain to us (and our partners) how everything was going to happen that day, and this compounded our anxiety. Through the day, details eventually emerged, partners were sent away (with a contact phone number) and operations were successfully completed. Though the initial pre-op experience wasn't great, the worse was yet to come! I was given an epidural for the pain. this provided very good relief, and I was reasonably comfortable. Intermittently nurses came in and asked me to rate the pain an a scale, which I could genuinely mark as low/moderate, as at this stage the epidural had it covered. The next day I was visited by the registrar, who examined the wound and asked me a few questions, after which (.unbeknown to me) she recommended that I should be discharged. Shortly after, the ward sister came in told me 'there was no rush, but I would be leaving in a short while. I was completely stunned to be asked to go within 24 hours. I'm fairly stoic, and hadn't been demanding, but was still in a weakened state, and felt desperately worried about returning home to the rigours of family life so soon. After questioning this decision, she gave a huge sigh, and said that discharge after such a short time was 'quite normal' but (very grudgingly) that she would speak to the consultant if 'I' wanted. I was made to feel a complete nuisance. The consultant arrived, said there had been a mistake, and that I should stay. By this point I was feeling patronised, and unwelcome, and left very shortly (with the customary packet of paracetamol!) To cut a long story short. I went home to stay with my parents, within hours was suffering the most intense pain imaginable (child-birth ain't nothing!) and was forced to phone my GP for some stronger pain relief. The whole experience at Pembury was truly dreadful; awful communication and pitiful aftercare. The only shining light in this ordeal was the quality and diligence of the healthcare assistants, who were lovely, and very compassionate. It's taken me a long time to recover from this ordeal, and to summon the energy to bother complaining. I also suffer from Multiple sclerosis and the inevitable consequences of an operation like this (exacerbated by no aftercare) have been far reaching. I hope I never have to go back.

Story from NHS Choices

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Response from The Tunbridge Wells Hospital

Thank you for taking the time to write a review and I am sorry to hear about your poor experience when visiting our gynaecology department. If you would like to contact the PALs office at either Maidstone or Tunbridge Wells Hospital to discuss this further we would be happy to take your concerns forward. With kind regards, the PALs team

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