"I attended a pre-op appointment ..."

About: Royal Berkshire Hospital

(as the patient),

What I liked

I attended a pre-op appointment for a proposed corneal scrape under general anesthetic during which time I saw only nurses who answered none of my questions. The only staff members who were pleasant and competant were in the Blood Bank.

What could be improved

When I got off the lift I couldn't help but notice a long untidy length of workmen's open toolboxes on the floor all along the opposite wall. They were all still there some three hours later when I left the building. There were no workmen in sight, and, as far as I could tell, no repairs taking place. The pre-op nurse was defensive when she met me. Her first words were, "I understand you are very likely upset by the delays in your treatment, but it's not MY fault." Then her colleague, in the process of testing whether I might have MRSA, shoved a swab up my nose with the zeal of an Egyptian embalmer. When she next threatened me with another swab destined to go down my throat, I said, "If you make me vomit, I'm aiming for your shoes." She immediately lost her temper, tossed her rubber gloves into the rubbish bin and flounced out of the room.

The ECG technician kept me waiting while she finished her telephone conversation and afterward gave me garbled directions to the Blood Bank, refusing to escort me there because she was all alone in her department. Naturally, I got lost in the rabbit warren of hospital corridors. I would never have found the place, if a kind volunteer hadn't taken pity on me.

Anything else?

I was highly stressed when I arrived for my pre-op appointment and the nurses did nothing to diffuse the situation. Because my blood pressure was admittedly sky high, the consultant postponed my surgery by leaving a message on my telephone answering machine.

I have since tried repeatedly reach him by phone to address my concerns, writing a letter, leaving messages with his secretary to no avail. Instead I've been scheduled for another pre-op appointment.

Story from NHS Choices

Do you have a similar story to tell? Tell your story & make a difference ››