"No confidence"

About: Royal Lancaster Infirmary

My wife was recently taken to RLI because she suddenly developed extreme shortness of breath, leaving her unable to say more than a few words and she was also cold to the touch. She was in her first week of recovery at home following a heart attack and had had an operation in the CCU at Blackpool in which a stent fitted in her RCA. Her breathlessness wasn’t alleviated by rest or by the use of GTN spray. I called 999 and when the ambulance arrived the team carried out an ECG and detected what they called “an anomaly” in the V3 trace. The ambulance therefore took my wife to A&E at Lancaster. The treatment she received at Lancaster, in both A&E on her arrival and subsequently in the AMU ward was in my opinion, below a reasonable standard in several ways. We found that there were clear problems of communication between staff and my wife and myself and it seemed between staff and between different departments and staff repeatedly failed to explain what was being done or why. No results were communicated to us, and we had several specific areas of concern about the treatment too detailed to give here. However, as one example, at doctor’s rounds on the morning of her discharge, my wife wasn’t told anything about her condition or about any investigations carried out and she wasn’t offered any of the medicines that were prescribed at Blackpool for her to take each morning. She wasn’t told whether she should or shouldn’t take her medicines when she got home and when my wife challenged this it no-one seemed able to respond to her concerns.That seemed poor practice to say the least. In addition, the subsequent “discharge process” was, in my opinion, little short of disgraceful. We got no discharge papers, although we asked about these twice, and we were given no advice on what actions or precautions my wife should take in future. As a result, I was thoroughly disappointed in how my wife had been treated. I cannot possibly express any opinion about the medical care my wife received, because no-one seemed able or willing to tell us anything useful. What I can say, though, is that in general terms, the actions and attitudes of the staff, and the perceived quality her treatment, fell very far short of my experiences in many hospitals ranging from the Shetland Islands to Southampton, and therefore what I feel is reasonable to expect. It was frankly abysmal in comparison to the treatment that she received at Blackpool. I would suggest, if nothing else, that the “customer/patient care” and “communications” parts of training in the RLI is in serious need of improvement.

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Response from Royal Lancaster Infirmary

We are really sorry that your wife's experience at our hospital wasn’t what you would expect and are very keen to investigate and respond directly to you. Please would you contact our Patient Relations team on 01539 795497 to allow us to carry out that work

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