"I have been treated for Bowel ..."

About: Southend Hospital

(as the patient),

What I liked

I have been treated for Bowel cancer since October 2008. My surgeon was excellent and very proactive in my care, even carrying out one investigative procedure during lunch hour. Nothing has been too much trouble for my surgeon and the team Similarly, I have received excellent treatment from the Oncology department and my Oncologist. The cancer unit has an excellent reputation which in my view is entirely justified and people living in the area should be very proud of it and grateful that there is such an excellent unit in the town. I have met many patients who have had to travel considerable distances to attend the hospital; the thought of having to travel a long distance after radiotherapy or chemotherapy has made me realise how fortunate I am to live so close to the hospital. We as a community must never allow it to be relocated elsewhere in the County. I have been very impressed with how well everybody involved in my care has communicated with me and with each other. I have felt supported and cared for and have been treated as an individual at all times.

What could be improved

Although the surgical team and Oncology team are excellent, I felt that the care I recieved on the ward was not as good as it could have been. This I think is due to the lack of qualified nurses. The HCA's do a valuable job, but often fairly newly qualified staff nurses are left in charge of a ward. Very often staff are under enormous pressure when a number of patients have returned from surgery and there are insufficient numbers of nursing staffI to cope.

I also think the food needs to be improved. I realise that the hospital is catering for a diverse community, but the choices on the menu are the same every day and if you have a limited diet after surgery, the meals are very unappetising and in some cases inedible.

Anything else?

Most of the staff I have met during the course of the last 10 months while I have been receiving treatment have been kind, reassuring, caring and have been a pleasure to meet.

Story from NHS Choices

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Response from Southend Hospital

Many thanks for your kind comments. We would like to reassure you that the staffing skill mix on each individual ward is tailored to the needs of the patients. There are occaisions where there can be vacancies amongst the qualified staff, however we can reassure you that new staff are recruited into these positions as soon as possible.

We are also sorry that you are unhappy with the choice of food available. Our inpatient menu has been developed to suit a variety of tastes and cater for all dietry requirements. This has resulted in a choice of 24 hot main course options with other cold options available. Other options are also available for those with other specific dietry needs. We would be happy to receive any other suggestions you may have and comment cards are available around the trust.

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