"Stressful diabetic care in Rotherham Hospital"

About: Rotherham Hospital / Diabetic medicine

(as the patient),

I wish to bring to your attention a number of concerns that I have observed / experienced whilst being admitted to Rotherham hospital recently.

On being admitted to B1, I was asked what medication I was taking. I explained what medication I was currently taking and was placed on a drip and sliding scale. I had to have my sugar levels taken every hour on the hour.

As the evening progressed into night I settled down into my new environment. I found it impossible to get any sleep due to the noises around me, which I believe could have been avoided. Being opposite the nurse station, all night I could hear nurses talking / shouting down the corridors, the banging of doors and metal bin lids.

When I asked for my medication (Anatriptaline) the Staff Nurse said that it was not on the doctor’s list so they could not prescribe it to me. As this drug is prescribed to me for clinical depression, this only aggravated the situation.

I do not think that any of the above was done intentionally, but maybe that the nurses have become a little "complacent". A number of solutions could rectify these problems.

Nurses need to think that voices carry. Not to mention patient confidentiality.

Doors could have rubbers fitted as well as bins etc to keep to noise to a minimum.

Records need to be kept accurately and continuity maintained from ward to ward.

The cost would be minimal and patients would benefit from more sleep, which in turn would aid recovery.

I was moved after two days onto A4 and the porter took me up to the new ward about 22:00. On the way up to the ward I struck up a conversation with a member of staff and told him about the noise problems. The member of staff said things were going to get worse as the ward I was going to was well known for the treatment of drug addicts and alcoholics and could get shall we say "a little rowdy".

Once I arrive on the ward (22:39) I sat on my bed and the gent in the next bed whispered "Glen". I turned round and said "sorry, my name is Sean". He then stood up and walked round to my side of the bed, lent down and said, "I know your name and when you go to sleep tonight I am going to fucking stab you in the neck with this pen".

At this, I stood up and walked over to the nurse station. I explained what had happened and the nurses tried to reassure me I would be fine. The patient, I was informed, was an alcoholic and did not know what he was saying or doing. I explained that if they did not find me another bed to sleep in, I would discharge myself. After some conversation, it was agreed that I could sleep in one of the empty wards. This did help as I did manage to get some sleep.

The next day I was put in a different bay, opposite the nurse station. I went to use the toilet, which I can only describe as dirty. The wash basin had not been cleaned, the toilet was dirty and there was urine around the base of the bowl. Incontinence pads were over flowing and placed in the wrong bin. I did report these problems to a member of staff and the reply was "well the men are not as careful as the ladies". Needless to say, from then on I used the ladies toilet.

I noted that when I was in contact with staff, hands were not sanitized and at 16:00 when I checked the main entrance to the ward the hand sanitizer was empty. I assumed that they would be refilled; but I checked again at 22:00 and they were still empty. I reported the matter to a nurse who replied "well we don't have a key to fill them up, it’s not our job!" "The reason why we don't have them on the beds is because the alcoholics drink them!"

The question is why am I, a diabetic, having to share the same ward as these people? Due to their habit, I was left wide open to any cross contamination. I understand these people need help, but believe they should have their own secure wing.

I also noted that my bedside table was not cleaned during my stay and yet when my water jug and glass were replaced, they would insist in leaving the glass upside down on the dirty surface. My bed was not moved or swept at any point during my stay.

Being a diabetic pump user I was expected to test my BG but ran out of ketone test strips. Ketones which were still present, but when I ran out of strips, I was told that the hospital did not stock them - even though I got my ketones tester from the hospital in the first instance! This led to even more stress and my sugar levels started to rise again and I had no way of testing them. I spoke to the ward pharmacist who said they would get me some urine test strips, but they never did arrive.

The above problem has been rectified through my consultant listening to me. He apologised for this error.

I would welcome the opportunity to come in and discuss any of these problems with management, as I believe that cut backs have now led to the patients needs becoming last, instead of first.

I look forward to your response to these issues I have brought to your attention and await your reply.

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Response from Rebecca Allinson, Associate Director, Corporate Relations, Rotherham Hospital

Dear Sean

Thank you for posting your comments and for subsequently contacting us directly with your concerns via Patient Services.

As you know we are now in the process of arranging for relevant staff to meet with you.

Whilst we are very disappointed to learn of your disturbed nights and the poor way in which a frightening situation was handled, we are grateful that you have been able to give us feedback in such detail which we will act on.

In the meantime we are pleased that your consultant has rectified the issue with urine testing strips. We also want to assure you that we are actually focusing on how we can reduce avoidable noise at night (from staff).

With regards to our duty to care for the diverse population with a diverse range of needs we do indeed review how best to do this on a regular basis.

Regardless of the challenges, during your stay you felt unsafe, the standards of cleanliness were not what we require and nor did your concerns appear to be satisfactorily rectified when you raised them with the staff present and for all this we are sorry.

Our investigations and action on these aspects will be shared with you at the meeting but please accept our sincere apologies for these unacceptable failings.

With best wishes


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