"Urology - Poor aftercare - excuse the rant!"

About: Southmead Hospital

I arrived at Southmead as instructed at 7am, and told that my op would be done at around 1pm.

At 1.30 I was informed that the op had been put on hold with a view to cancellation because of a bed shortage. Very stressful. Anyway, it was eventually decided to go ahead.

I awoke in recovery and was eventually sent to a ward at 7pm where I was not offered a drink or food despite having had nothing to eat for 24 hrs.

The nursing staff were initially good (this changed) but somewhat unsympathetic, I do not think that they were aware of which procedure had been undertaken. Call bells are not responded to.

Despite excruciating pain after insufficient pain medication a nurse attempted to haul me out of bed at 10am the next morning. Shocking.

There was insufficient pain medication throughout my stay even though the Doctor had prescribed medication on the hour.

However, after this instruction I was made to wait 5.5 hours by the nurses.

After asking why, I was told that they did not dispense pain medication unless it was asked for by the patient.

i.e. there is no pain management whatsoever on the urology ward.

I was left unable to move at times, pressing a towel to my wounds for hours on end to relieve the pain a little.

The second day I had a new nurse who did not appear to have had the same training as the previous nurses.

the nurse came to my room, introduced them-self and said they would be taking care of me from now on, then disappeared for most of the day.

This continued until I decided that it was better if I left the hospital as I was not getting much in the way of care anyway.

No obs were done on the 3rd morning, despite a high temperature the day before.

When I asked the nurse to remove my catheter, they literally went running off down the corridor horrified.

It took me 3 hours to find a (lovely) nurse who would do it after which I was supposed to empty my bladder to order.

All the way through my stay the nurses did not want to change the bags.

One of my main issues is the lack of response to call bells which were all left ringing for between 5-15 minutes night and day which meant that there was a 24 hour continuous noise of call bells making sleep difficult.

Empty drips are also left to ping without response from nurses.

People were sometimes literally calling out to anyone going by in the corridor for help as they were not receiving a response from nurses.

I would add that the Consultant and Registrar seemed to do their best, instructions were ignored and too many nursing staff let the hospital down, although not all.

Empathy is a biggie (or lack thereof).

Pain relief was abysmal from recovery through to leaving and I was much better at home dispensing meds at regular intervals myself.

This ward has the worst management I have experienced in a hospital.

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Response from Southmead Hospital

Dear Anonymous – I was sorry to learn of your unsatisfactory experience when you attended the Bristol Urological Institute (BUI) at Southmead. I cannot effectively respond to many of the issues you have raised without further details, but if you would like to contact complaints@nbt.nhs.uk and provide your personal details we would be very happy to take forward the concerns you have raised.

My general comments are that patients who have been listed for elective surgery are only ever cancelled as a last resort. However, at times emergency admissions and the difficulties of discharging some patients who are medically fit to transfer from the acute setting back to primary care, means Southmead on occasions can struggle to free up beds. Whilst clearly your procedure was able to proceed, I regret it was necessary to warn you it might have to be postponed, as we appreciate just how stressful this for patients.

Pain relief should be administered promptly and to the required level, but clearly there is a finite limit which can be given without causing problems for the patient. I apologise if your pain relief was not discussed and alternative options considered as they should have been.

I also apologise that nursing staff were not empathetic, or sufficiently reactive to allow them to cater for your needs. Please be assured the comments you have raised have been fed back to the service to allow staff to reflect on your experience.

Thank you for taking the time and trouble to post your views and I hope that you are now well recovered from your procedure.

Kind regards – Steve Sykes

Advice and Complaints Team

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