"My experience was a two part event: ..."

About: Royal United Hospital

(as the patient),

What I liked

My experience was a two part event: PreOp Assessment Unit and the Day Surgery Unit (DSU).

PreOp Assessment Unit: Although the staff were friendly the organisation and function of the unit came across as disjointed and chaotic and I prepared myself for a similar experience in the DSU.

I had full confidence in my surgeon so I was not worried about the surgery.

I was in for a very pleasant surprise. Within a few minutes of arriving and I was introduced to my named nurse and taken to my cubicle.

I was told exactly what to expect and when to expect it and everything ran to plan.

In theatre, the staff bantered and chatted while I was prepared for the procedure. It was obvious to me that this team worked well together and their easy, but very professional manner, left me in no doubt that I was in very capable hands; I had a local anaesthetic and throughout the 45 minutes in theatre I had a lot of opportunity for observation. This team clearly loved what they were doing and it showed.

After the procedure, I was offered refreshments and given information about my post surgical care.

I could not fault the care I was given in the RUH's Day Surgery Unit - well done and thank you to the staff.

What could be improved

The Preop Assessment Unit would benefit from being a patient in their own establishment.

The members of staff were friendly enough but I got the distinct feeling they were just doing a job. I arrived and was told to complete a form which I did.

I was seen after a bit of a wait, returned to the reception, waited a bit more, had some more tests done, returned to reception. I spend an hour in the unit.

The was nothing wrong with the care I received but I did walk out of it feeling like I had been processed like a number.

In the hour that I spent in the unit the following 3 small improvements would have changed my whole experience:

1. Use the patient's preferred name

I was asked on the form to state my preferred name. I was called three times and not once was my preferred name used. When I asked why they ask for it, if they are not going to use it, I was told there were papers on top of the form.

I suggested that they lift the two sheets of paper to look at my preference.

2. Provide a staff room away from reception

While waiting to be called back I was amazed at the chatting going on in reception while the waiting area was full of patients - some of whom had been waiting for a long time. I have no problem with camaraderie - it is reassuring in a well organised team. I understand that they may have been waiting for something to happen or space to become available but the perception that was created, was that it was done at the patients' expense; Very little seemed to be happening past the reception doors while in the waiting room the patients fumed and swapped stories about their experiences in that department.

3. Organise the diary and inform the patients

Everyone knows appointment sometimes overrun but from what I have seen in this department there was very little concern for the patients' time. There were a number of patients who brought packed lunches with them and that was telling.

Anything else?

A comment about hospitals in general

Parking costs a lot of money and it is the patients who pay for planning inefficiencies. Has any hospital ever considered paying the additional charges on behalf of a patient when a clinic overruns by say, more than an hour late?

Story from NHS Choices

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