"I was referred to the Atkinson ..."

About: St George's Hospital (Tooting) (London)

(as the patient),

What I liked

I was referred to the Atkinson Morey Wing of this hospital and was offered the option for surgery within 3 days of being diagnosed with a frontal meningioma.

The method of surgery and the risks involved were explained to me and my family.

The Atkinson Morely Wing was built in 2001 and being relatively new gives you the confidence that it has all the current equipment and facilities required to provide a safe and reliable environment for major neurosurgery.

The neurosurgery nurses and surgeons were excellent and had a wonderful bed-side manner.

I was offered the facility to phone the neurosurgery nurses anytime if I had any concerns after I had been discharged and I did use this facility.

What could be improved

Even though the Brodie Ward was limited to 6 beds, it only takes one patient who is restless and noisey at night to prevent everyone else getting a good night's sleep, and unfortunately I had one in my ward!

When I was discharged, I was not entirely clear what my post-operative monitoring plan would be. I was told verbally by my surgeon, but was then told that if I had not heard from the Registrar(?) within 2 weeks that I should chase the hospital myself.

The catering staff didn't seem to appreciate that some patients lose their appetites after they go through major surgery and instead of "pushing" food on to them which was subsequently wasted, they should only give them food they really ask for.

Anything else?

I was shocked at the lack of a centralised computerised record for the St George's site which contained all the medical history of a patient who uses the facility. I was admitted twice within 2 weeks - once for neurosurgery, and then subsequently for a pulmonary embolism following the operation, and the records of my 2 visits were kept separate on paper based filing systems with little connection between the two. I found myself having to tell the doctor/nursing staff of the history fo my first visit when I was admitted 2 weeks later. I was surprised at the archaic administration and the opportunity it presented for errors and ommissions. I know this is all the result of the failure by the NHS to get its national computerised patient record system off the ground, and I can't blame the St George's staff for this situation, but improved administration will free up staff time for patient care and a reduction in errors.

I was sent for a doppler scan by the DVT nurse after complaining about pains in my left leg. When I got to the scanning department they said "so you have pains in your right leg". I told them that it was my left leg. They said that the paperwork they had been sent was that it was my right leg. I assured the doctor that irt was my left leg. Somehow the DVT nurse had put the wrong leg on the computerised record sent to tthe scanning department. At least I wasn't going in for surgery on my leg!

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