"The A&E staff were wonderful, ..."

About: University Hospital Of North Tees

(as the patient),

What I liked

The A&E staff were wonderful, from the receptionist to the nurses, to the doctors. The EAU was as traumatic as an experience as I would care to remember but fortunately I was whisked away before they did any more damage and placed on ward 29. The nursing staff were on the whole superb, and if allowed I would reel off a list of those who clearly are in exactly the right role. Those who excelled, really excelled. They made time in their hectic shifts to pop their heads in to every patient and check how they were doing, how they felt physically and emotionally and make us smile, sometimes making us laugh til we hurt but that's still a great thing. Those ladies have my eternal gratitude because they made the pain and the time away from my partner and children that bit easier to deal with. These nurses should be given those who have difficulties getting through the essential parts of their duties

What could be improved

My consultant reduced me to tears, twice. He yelled at me to such a degree that the patient next to me was "shocked" by his 'attack'. The reason he was so displeased - why was I still here when he left instructions to say I should go home the day after surgery. Forgive me if my medical training is non-existent but I would hope a doctor would want to know how my surgery went first. On the Monday a doctor came and advised he wanted to keep me in at least one more day. Then on Tuesday I get verbally abused by my consultant. The nursing staff saw me a little while later in agony, tears and hyperventalating (something that had happened a few times since the surgery). They calmed me, listened to me and persuaded me to let them call a doctor back to answer the questions I'd listed to ask the consultant but didn't get the opportunity. When he returned it was to yell at me again because "everything was perfectly normal". Since no other member of medical staff had been able to categorically say that, some said it was, some said it wasn't, a doctor told me I had to stay another day.

I went immediately from discharge - literally - to my GPs, because I still didn't know what my treatment had been, the answers to the questions I still hadn't been able to ask were weighing heavily on my mind and I didn't think I should have been discharged at all at that point but though the nurses cared I couldn't have a conversation with the consultant without him jumping at me so I couldn't discuss that either and I just wanted some answers.

Since my return home I have been stuck in bed almost all the time, running a fever that has not broken since I left hospital, with the same headaches and nausea, same loss of appetite, ridiculous levels of fatigue to combat in addition to my chronic conditions. Needless to say I am now being tested to see if I have another infection, which is why I was admitted in the first place. Not a good experience from him at all.

Anything else?

1) One vegetarian choice, that was awful on all but 1 of my 10 days, is not good. My thanks go to the male member of catering staff who hunted the building for a nice veggie meal, sourcing it in the restaurant just so I could eat a proper meal! Other than that my partner resorted to bringing food from home as I was living off cake and custard if that was on the menu and nothing if it wasn't.

2) Nursing staff should have access to loo rolls, it isn't good when the room are celebrating that I happened to have one we could share because its late and nobody but the domestic staff can refill them.

3) On a similar note, we bought anti-bacterial handwash since we had none available in the toilet that was shared between 2 rooms (potentially up to 8 people), none in the wash sink provided for the medical staff in the room and none on entry to the ward - despite a lovely red sign on the floor asking people to ensure clean hands as you are entering a clinical area.

4)Some nurses need additionally training, not in being nurses, but in time management and prioritising. One in particular regularly forgot to bring the pain relief ladies in my room, me included, asked for to the degree that we began asking about 2 hours before we expected to need it fully as this tended to time well. On one occassion I was told I had gone for a cigarette when she came, I explained I hadn't, she said the others in the room said I hadn't, in pantomine style they said "oh no we didn't! none of us has left the room". It transpired she had gone to the wrong room. We are all human and everybody makes mistakes, unfortunately in some occupations those mistakes are more costly than in others. I had already made a similar complaint about another nurse who I give my respect to since she took the time to talk to me about my feelings and explain her's. That's not an easy thing to do and it was appreciated, however it meant I couldn't make the same complaint without it looking like I was being a pain.

Story from NHS Choices

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Response from University Hospital Of North Tees

Dear Helen – we are truly sorry for your experience while you were a patient at the University Hospital of North Tees recently. While most of our staff have treated you the way you should expect, some have quite clearly behaved in an unacceptable way. We would very much like the opportunity to discuss your concerns with you. Please contact us on 01642 617617 and ask to speak to the matron for surgery. We hope you will feel better soon and go on to make a full recovery.

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