"I was a patient on ward 14A last ..."

About: Queen Elizabeth Hospital (Gateshead)

(as the patient),

What I liked

I was a patient on ward 14A last week. I thought the domestic staff and ward housekeeper were kind and friendly. They worked hard but still had time for a kind word especially when I was upset. One of the nurses on the ward was also very caring. The porters were nice and made conversation.

What could be improved

The nursing care was poor. They spent more time discussing the bed situation in front of a board than looking after patients. I was admitted an emergency and was discharged without a diagnosis and with the acute problem I was admitted with still presesnt. I came out with an additional problem caused by a cannula in my arm, which was neglected when it tissued. One week later I am literally sitting on the problem (an abscess) waiting for it to get worse now that the antibiotics are finished. My GP is also anticipating that he will have to represent me as an emegency in the next few days. In addition, I am crying with the pain in my swollen arm, due to the neglected cannula.

My impression of the QE is that money comes before patient care. By sending me home without the diagnostic procedure I require is false economy however, as I will surely end up with repeated admissions. This will cost more than if the doctor had got to the bottom of the problem (no pun intended) in the first place.

This hospital has in my opinion many serious problems. Lack of resources is the obvious one. More worrying however is the attitutude of some of the nursing and medical staff. It costs nothing to be pleasant to people and a kind word is a treatment in itself.

I wish my feedback was more positive, especially given that I have worked as a nurse in the NHS all my life. I have even worked at the QE! I despair for the future of nursing in this hospital.

Anything else?

Improvement has to come from the top! The CEO needs to see what is going on at ground level. Modern matrons would do well to look to their predecessors for inspiration. They need to be on the wards talking to the patients.

Story from NHS Choices

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Response from Queen Elizabeth Hospital

Thank you very much for taking the time to highlight some of the problems you have experienced whilst in our hospital.

Firstly, can I apologise that the standard of care we provided did not meet your expectations – we try very hard to ensure the best possible care for all our patients.

I note your comments regarding improvement coming from the top and that I personally need to see what is happening at ground level. I do visit all of the wards and departments on a regular basis and I will ensure that I visit Ward 14a again in response to your comments. The matrons (who wear a purple uniform in this hospital) do spend a great deal of time on the wards talking with both patients and staff and I see this as being a key part of their role. I would like to thank you for your kind comments about the domestic staff, porters and housekeeper and I have passed these comments on to our director of operational services.

Ian Renwick.

Chief Executive of Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust.

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