"Theatre Admissions unit concerns"

About: Rotherham Hospital / General surgery

(as the patient),

I had reconstructive surgery to my left knee in March, I must say that I was very disappointed with the theatre admissions unit (TAU).

Firstly let me say that if you are yet to go into the TAU and have a similar experience to me, please remember it is not the staff that work in the ward’s fault. They just have to deal with people as the first point of contact and I think absorb a lot of the brunt from complaint and disgruntled patients.

I was advised that I needed to be at the TAU for 7.15am, I was quite excited by this my operation was only a few hours long and I had the hope I may be out of hospital the same day, after checking in with my girlfriend I took a seat and waited to be called through, the ward (I say ward it’s waiting room) filled quickly and it wasn’t long before all relatives/partners were asked to leave. I said goodbye to my partner, advising I wouldn’t be long probably be out of the op just after dinner.

What a mistake that was!

Let me explain what they do, everyone has an appointment at 7.15am regardless of their operation time and they sit in the TAU until they are called through to get changed for the operation, which happened to me at 1.30pm – 6 hours after I arrived, I was called though to go through my pre op questions (which I’d already answered and signed my consent form) I then got changed into my gown and sat again in the waiting room for another hour before eventually being called through, may I add that there was an elderly gentleman in his late 70’s still not in operation wear when I got called through, and he like me had been there from 7.

I understand the need for the unit, it’s to free beds up so people aren’t waiting occupying wards needlessly, I can even sort of see the mentality behind everyone coming in at 7am in case of cancellations, however, this was not communicated to me at any stage, by anyone, sometimes people like to know this for mental preparation, a few of the nurses on the ward got some abuse from annoyed people (none of us were allowed to eat or drink and some people were elderly)

I discuss the unit with one of the nurses who assessed me and she suggested I complain.

I would feel for anyone having to go through the same process I did in future especially if they are older or have a fear of operations, I honestly believe that this needs rethinking.

I would like to think that statistically you can present lots of facts and figures showing the success of the unit, however I do not feel it adequately takes into account the effect on people waiting and being subjected to this.

Let me say that as soon as I left the hospital I wanted to complain about this substandard system, however I simply could not be bothered with the hassle, as it was out of the way and touch wood I won’t need another op. However some of my friends are having operations and, after my experience, I cringe at the fact they are going to the TAU.

I’m sure if they have the operation before dinner they’ll be fine as they won’t have been waiting long.

Please please heed my words as not just a rant and look into what everyone thinks about the unit.

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

Dear Spooks

Firstly can I just say thank you for posting your honest feedback on your recent experience in the TAU.

I am sorry that you had such a negative experience and understand your concerns and frustrations, which in a large part are about a lack of communication and about the way the new Unit is working.

I really would encourage you to contact Patient Services on 01709 304461 to share with us your comments and concerns in more detail.

We will of course look into the issues you raise anyway and respond in more detail if we are able - but please call and help us to learn from your experience.

With best wishes


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

Dear Spooks

I have now had time to share your concerns with the team in the TAU. Your experience of TAU was not a positive one and we apologise again.

We are working hard to ensure each and every patient has the best care and experience they can and that their journey with us is as smooth as possible. At the same time, we need to make sure we are making best use of the clinical resources available to us for the benefit of all patients in our care.

As you can appreciate, getting this balance right does present challenges that, on occasion, impact on waiting times for patients in areas like TAU.

We are already working to make patient journey's more integrated, investing in staff training and carrying out a programme of practice reviews which look in detail at how particular areas operate and highlight improvements.

In TAU we are already looking at many of the issues you raised and are making progress.

Many people have benefited from the introduction of the new TAU and it has reduced the need for people to stay overnight prior to surgery, which reduces stress and anxiety in many patients.

There is always more we can do and we are committed - as part of our patient experience strategy - to providing the best experience of care that we can.

Please do call us on 01709 304461 if you think you have more comments which can help us improve.

With best wishes

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