"Worst Experience of my Life"

About: Queen Elizabeth Hospital (Gateshead)

I am not prone to hysteria and can usually handle myself well in any given situation but a recent experience at the Peter Smith Surgery Centre left me so traumatised and tearful (just minutes before surgery) that no less than 6 members of the nursing / managerial staff came to my assistance. I don't want to go into too much detail here as I am still getting over the experience and am undecided what to do about it - suffice as to say my nightmare was caused by a senior member of the surgical team who seriously needs some training in caring for and respecting patients, bedside manner, listening skills and being a decent human being. Whilst this person obviously thinks they have reached the 'top of their game' in their chosen field, they are not 'god' and should not patronise people who are particularly vulnerable before surgery or otherwise. This person's attitude towards me was witnessed by other staff and this person even admitted lying to me to strengthen their argument (again in front of colleagues). In any other situation their attitude would be identified as bullying and harassment - although nothing was said to this person at the time probably because of their senior position? I would point out however that an amazing young surgical nurse never left my side (even staying with me after her shift ended) to ensure I was all right. The nursing staff seemed rightly appalled by the incident and couldn't do enough for me. When I mentioned this senior staff's demeanour I was told that they (surgery staff) were simply used to it. My guess (apart from appalling bed-side skills in this case) is that these seniors are under some internal political pressure around funding and resources and that they are possibly taking their frustrations out on patients now [this person asked me if I knew "...how lucky you are to have surgery today?"]. I've paid into the NHS for a considerable number of years and this the first year I've had to have relatively minor surgery - I don't think the attitude to me was warranted or appropriate at all. I'm still considering what to do - in my job I would be suspended if I acted this way but I suspect if I take this further, little, if anything, would be done and I would have to re-live the whole ordeal again. I honestly don't think PALS or anyone else at the QE would take any meaningful action against a senior member of the surgical staff for a lowly NHS patient like me - and that's how I've been made to feel! I do feel for other patients however, so I may consider my options in the matter. In the meantime good luck to anyone having treatment here - I honestly pray you don't have an experience like mine.

Story from NHS Choices

Do you have a similar story to tell? Tell your story & make a difference ››


Response from Queen Elizabeth Hospital

We're sorry to hear you feel your care has fallen of short of how we expect all of our patients to be treated. Your experience has obviously made you anxious and understandably has left you with some issues that you would like to be looked into further. If you can contact our PALS (Patient Advice and Liaison Service) on 0800 653 0667 or pals@ghnt.nhs.uk they can collect some more details from you and look into this on your behalf.

  • {{helpful}} {{helpful == 1 ? "person thinks" : "people think"}} this response is helpful