About: Royal Berkshire Hospital

I have just spent my second spell on Sonning Ward in 12 months. On the first occasion there were several aspects of care on the ward which were, quite frankly, unempathic and wholly inadequate: leaving me lacking in confidence and self-esteem and highly anxious about my second visit. These factors were highlighted at the time, however, and are not relevant here, other than to point out the vast improvement between admissions. For this admission, the complete nursing team were exemplary in their approach and a real credit to RBH: particularly when working through a major incident at the hospital, when patients remained blissfully unaware of the pressures which they must have been working under. Seeing one consistent nurse for 3 days provided a welcome trusting and caring relationship. Every nurse on every shift appeared reasonably well informed regarding my progress and were timely and efficient regarding my needs. On one occasion, however, one staff nurse attempted, at my request, to make me comfortable and, on failing, gave up and walked away without comment. This I reported to the ward sister, and was assured that this would be followed up. Health care assistants, student nurses and ward orderlies all demonstrated commitment, empathy and a caring attittude. Cleaning of ward bay areas seemed regular and thorough. Ward toilets were less immaculate, with urine samples regularly left on the floor in dishes for extended periods before disposal. Shower areas are inadequately fitted with hooks/shelves. The approach to medication was noticeably different between admissions.On this occasion there was a very definite, patient-centred approach, whereby I was provided, consistently with required antibiotics but was encouraged throughout, to request relief for pain and/or nausea to suit myself at any time. The breast care team has been dedicated, professional and reassuring throughout all attendances, both on Sonning Ward and in clinics, despite a crippling appointment system which has frequently left me to make my own arrangements at times when I have already felt at my lowest. Hopefully the new hospital system will be addressing this. Good, clear communication between team members and patient is always evident and to be highly commended in a constantly pressured environment. The time needed is the time taken, without exception. Although my own experience of privacy and dignity was perfectly acceptable, there were other patients in my bay where this was not always the case. I refer to attitudes of some of the medical team: in particular a completely unsympathetic junior medic who refused to listen to what a patient was saying to them, causing distress and anxiety; and an anaesthetist who, had their patient not been unwell, should have been reported for their aggressive and cocky attitude. They should apprciate that a curtain is not a sound-proof door and that the whole bay is privy to some very personal information.

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Response from Royal Berkshire Hospital

Many thanks for providing such balanced feedback with regards to your care. We are very sorry to hear of your earlier experiences on Sonning Ward and the anxiety that this left you with and so are very glad to hear that your recent care was of a better standard. We will work to ensure that the further concerns that you have identified are addressed and appreciate you taking the time and trouble to highlight them. If it would be of help to discuss anything further, please contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service on 0118 322 8338 or email talktous@royalberkshire.nhs.uk. They can arrange for you to be contacted by the department matron.

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