"My anaethetist listened carefully ..."

About: Southampton General Hospital

(as the patient),

What I liked

My anaethetist listened carefully to my views and adjusted the anaesthetic to suit my individual needs for undergoing orthopaedic surgery. Also one of the staff nurses involved in my care showed genuine regard, and respect for everyone on the ward, and whenever she was on duty I, and my fellow patients felt safe, secure and well cared for. She spent time talking and listening to the patients, and provided practical help that is so vital when recovering from painful and initially immobilising surgery.

What could be improved

I shall always remember how my request to have a female nurse help me onto and off of bedpans on my first day post op was not able to be met. With drips, oxygen, monitors and both feet attached to machinery I found it humiliating and painful to be assisted by only one male nurse for such intimate personal care. On the same day, having waited till the afternoon, I requested to be washed and taken out of my operating gown. Finally a bowl of water arrived but no towel in reach. I was left to manage the best I could. I felt totally helpless but felt that I would be creating even more of a fuss if I now asked for assistance. Obviously without help I could not remove my op gown or put on my own nightie on as I could not reach up to thread the drip through the sleeves and I only had one hand that could be put in the water bowl. It was sometime before another member of staff found and helped me with this basic bit of nursing care. Having been a nurse myself I am aware of pressures and workload on a ward, but I did not feel that basic professional care values were shared by all of the staff team on the ward. I was saddened and dismayed by this experience and I know I would be very anxious if I needed to return.

Anything else?

I feel that the quality of the food still has some way to go before it can be regarded as appetising, at best dishes were bland. Vegetables were always very overcooked and therefore unlikely to have much nutritional value. Fortunately my family brought in food parcels to keep me going.

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Response from Southampton General Hospital

Iris: many thanks for giving us your comments. We have passed on your positive feedback about the anaesthetist but we were sorry to hear you did not feel that your privacy and dignity were respected. We have recently signed up to a new initiative with a plan in place to reduce mixed-sex accommodation and provide better patient experiences. You can read about this on our website http://bit.ly/8qAAgE and if you would like to speak to someone about your concerns, please contact our Patient Advice and Liaison team on pals@suht.swest.nhs.uk or 023 8079 8498.

You may be interested to know that since your stay, we have started rolling out a new catering service that provides an extensive, tastier and more flexible menu choice. Extensive tasting sessions were held and the nutritional value of the meals has been comprehensively assessed. The selected meals have healthy levels of salt and fat and deliver much improved nutrition for patients.

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