"In-patient care and poor communication"

About: Ninewells Hospital / General Surgery

(as a relative),

My sister was admitted from NHS 24 doctor service. She was in a lot of pain and this was addressed as soon as possible.

In the ward she had a long time to wait to see a doctor. When she did finally see one a scan was arranged. She underwent emergency surgery for a twisted bowel. I phoned the ward and was advised that post op she would be going to another ward for care. Despite phoning throughout the day and actually going up to the hospital we were told nothing (I was registered as next of kin and my sister expressly had noted that I should be informed all the way). At 10pm that evening I was finally told (after I phoned for the 6th time) that my sister was in ICU and advised to call them. I called them and spoke with the named nurse. She advised me that my sister had suffered some breathing difficulties during the operation which was why she was in ICU and was very surprised to find that we had not been notified or that the doctor had not called. I was finally called by the doctor 20 minutes later who told me that my sister had a small part of her bowel removed but there was some breathing difficulties and taken to ICU that afternoon! ! ! ! ! ! ! Almost 8 hours had passed between her admission to ICU and my being informed and it was only at my instigation.

Throughout her stay any information we were given came from nursing staff and in dribs and drabs. We even found out (accidentally) that she'd had pneumonia and COPD! It was very worrying time for the family and we were not informed as we should have been. I continually requested to talk to a doctor at every stage and the only time this happened was in ICU and it only happened once. There was shocking communication and treatment from medical staff towards us.

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Response from Alison Moss, Feedback Manager, NHS Tayside

Dear “Panda45”

I am extremely sorry to hear of the difficulties you have experienced in relation to staff not communicating with you, as next of kin, during your sister’s admission to hospital and that you were not informed as you should have been. I recognise that this must have been a very worrying time for you and this is not the standard of care and treatment we would wish to provide for patients and their families. I am obviously unable to respond more fully to the specific instances you describe but, should you or your sister wish to provide further information, I would be happy to look into this further. I can be contacted via the Complaints and Feedback Team, either by email – feedback.tayside@nhs.net – or telephone 0800 027 5507.

I very much appreciate you highlighting your experience to us and please be assured that I will share this with the service for their learning.

Kind regards.

Alison Moss

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