"Both excellent and terrible care at same hospital"

About: King's Mill Hospital / Accident and emergency King's Mill Hospital / General surgery

(as the patient),

I was admitted to A&E in enormous pain, and the staff there were very kind, sympathetic, and helpful. While in A&E I was treated promptly, and underwent numerous tests, and was given pain relief and antibiotics. During this time, I was in a curtained area and felt that I was being given privacy and dignity - which is very important to me. I felt safe and in good hands.

Then I was moved to EAU (the emergency assessment ward), where I was dumped in a small, crowded room with seven other patients, and after begging to have the curtains closed around my bed, I was told that it wasn't allowed. When my pain relief wore off, I was told that no more would be given, as "we don't do pain relief on this ward". I felt very exposed and vulnerable, and the nurses made no effort to make me comfortable. They also insisted on discussing my very personal and embarrassing medical information in loud voices, making no effort to offer me even the illusion of privacy. They showed no signs of compassion, and even seemed irritated by me. If I or any of the other patients needed to go to the toilet, we were forced to wait - often for over 30 minutes - for our drips to be disconnected, and these weren't hung properly anyway, as there were no drip stands on the ward, so they were just lying on the tables beside us, switched off. When my drip tube filled with blood on one occasion, the nurse chided me for being careless with it, and made me feel like a naughty schoolboy.

At meal times, we were forced to sit elbow-to-elbow with total strangers (and their noisy visitors), and again refused the privacy of having the curtains closed. The man in the bed next to me urinated everywhere while I was eating, and no one came to assist him.I begged several times to be moved elsewhere, and was treated with scorn, contempt, and irritation by the nurses.

I was NOT given my antibiotics by the nurse, and despite repeatedly questioning her about it, she insisted that she had given them to me. When I checked the paperwork by my bed, there was a record of all the saline drips, but not the antibiotics. When I questioned her further, she insisted that she had given them to me, and that she never made notes "because I can remember what I've given you. "

When I heard that I may be moved to another ward, I asked what it was like and the nurse said  it was terrible. There are no doctors there and that I was better off here.  So I tried to cope where I was. Several of the patients gave up waiting for the toilet, as no nurses ever came to disconnect their drips, so they just peed in their water jugs or wet the bed. Only one patient got any decent attention from the nurses. He seemed to be a "frequent flyer", and they all obviously loved him. They would visit him and chat with him for 20-30 minutes at a time, completely ignoring the other patients - even ones calling out for help.

Eventually, I was told that I would be moved to another ward if my temperature came down. I had a fever, but was so desperate to escape EAU that I put my head against a fan for 5 hours to get my temperature to appear normal. On one occasion, I was loaded into a wheelchair to be moved, but my temperature came back up as soon as my head was away from the fan, and I was told I had to stay. After successfully freezing my head, I was finally moved to ward 36.

On ward 36, I had a spacious private room, with en-suite bathroom and shower, and was visited by several doctors - not at all the terrible place described by the nurse in EAU! It felt like a 5-star hotel in comparison! I finally had some privacy and dignity, and was treated with respect and compassion by the fantastic nurses and staff. For the first time since A&E I felt safe and cared for. When the nurse took my temperature and discovered my fever, I was terrified that I would be transferred back to EAU, and I begged her to let me stay. I told her that I hadn't been allowed to move to the new ward with a temperature, and she said that was nonsense - I was in a hospital!

The level of care I received in ward 36 was astonishingly good. All the nurses treated me with compassion and kindness, and I was visited constantly throughout the night and day for tests, medication, and just to see if there was anything I needed. The contrast between ward 36 and EAU was staggering. I couldn't believe I was in the same hospital.

Over the following days, I learned that my horrific experience of EAU was by no means unique, I saw a patient's feedback form on the notice board which echoed almost exactly my own personal experience. I only wonder how and why EAU is allowed to continue, since the hospital is clearly aware of what goes on there!

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Response from King's Mill Hospital

Dear reviewer,

Thank you for taking the time to comment on the care you received in the King’s Mill Hospital. We are really pleased to hear how well you were recently cared for by our staff in the Emergency Department and Ward 36, and this has been shared with staff involved in your care. Staff work hard to ensure that patients feel well cared for and supported, and will get a boost from your feedback.

However, we are sorry to hear about your experience in our Emergency Admissions Unit, and we would like to look into the matter to investigate your concerns further. Please contact PET@sfh-tr.nhs.uk .

Kind regards,

Sherwood Forest Hospitals.

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