"My experiences in the Gynaecology Ward, and elsewhere in the Rotherham General Hospital"

About: Rotherham Hospital / Gynaecology

(as the patient),

I would like to compliment the staff on the Rotherham General Hospital Gynaecology ward, B11. I experienced some exemplary nursing, particularly from two nurses who were wonderful. I absolutely felt I was treated as an individual, which makes all the difference. Because this is planned admission, they know what you’re in for they are sensitive to and accommodating of your needs. When I have been admitted to other wards, I’ve not necessarily experienced the same level of care. The consultant, Mr Ramsden, was so careful & thoughtful throughout numerous consultations, for which I was very grateful.

Less fab was a member of the senior staff who announced her arrival onto the ward with her high heels and woke me up no fewer than SEVEN times as she marched up & down the ward. I got up and spoke to her! This has happened on other wards. Everyone else wears soft soles and I feel there should be no exceptions for rank. It’s just inconsiderate.

There were just a couple of glitches. In the patient information leaflet, it says, in bold, DO NOT sit and suffer. If you need pain killers, please don’t hesitate to ask. I was experiencing serious pain, both from the surgery and my back, and asked for pain relief when the nursing staff came round after surgery. Then I enjoyed a lecture about their ‘pain ladder’, the appropriateness of which must surely depend on correctly assessing what’s required (I wasn’t asked to ‘score’ my pain, as I have been elsewhere). Fear of the pain no doubt aggravated my agitation and knowing that something stronger was being withheld made me much less able to cope. I don’t feel I should have had to wait for the Oramorph.

The Patient Information leaflet also clearly stated that we'd see a physiotherapist and be given exercises. Even though I was in for longer than expected, there was no sighting of a physio at all. The layout of the leaflet has some formatting errors – e.g. in bold in wrong place. The most important exhortation – it’s essential to increase doing your pelvic floor exercises until you’re practising 4 or 5 contraction 3 times every hour – is orphaned on the last page and thus is easy to miss. I feel comprehension and clarity is sacrificed to the hospital's corporate style.

The second thing was that the booklet I received, which was called ‘Abdominal/Vaginal Hysterectomy’ was very graphic in its language, too graphic for family use. I have two teenage sons who do not want to know about their mother’s bits. Nevertheless, there were parts of it that I’d have liked to share with them as they needed to know what I was and was not capable of doing on my return home and for the subsequent few weeks. It would have been really useful to have a simple A4 sheet which explained the basics and perhaps contained information for the family and carers of the patient and how they could help. The leaflet was not entirely appropriate for me either. My operation was a prolapse repair, with the hysterectomy being only incidental, so some of the information was not appropriate.

I found that there was a disconnect once I was discharged and I would have appreciated more specific advice earlier. A practice nurse I saw some time down the line suggested that I could use a rubber ring to prevent discomfort while seated, but I could have done with this advice at the point of being discharged home.

A general point about the hospital, rather than just the gynaecology ward. The Trust is very keen to tell me that my cultural needs will be respected, but not, it seems, in the matter of a morning cuppa. You’re often woken for obs at 6am, you have access to only a jug of cold water. Then again a little later, you’re turfed out of bed so that the bed can be made (badly), and you have a wash. Then the staff disappear for handover. Not til 8.45-9am does a hot drink appear, and then only the one cup, not a decent mugful! Having a hot drink on waking is common in this country, but it seems it’s too expensive to administer within the budget.

My experiences in the hospital have been very mixed but my stay on B11 was good, and in particular the nursing care on the ward was exemplary. I hope my thanks reach the staff.

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Response from Grace Oldfield, Patient Involvement Manager, Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust

Dear Rain910, thank you for your posting. I am very grateful to you for taking the time to feed back your experience whilst a patient on Ward B11 and also for your kind comments about the quality of nursing and medical care you received. I shall ensure your comments are passed on to the staff involved.

However, we are concerned about the various issues you have raised and we are investigating these and will come back to you in the near future.

With best wishes,


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Response from Grace Oldfield, Patient Involvement Manager, Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust

Dear Rain910,

We have now had an opportunity to look into the concerns you expressed last week around the ward environment, advice before discharge and patient information whilst a patient on Ward B11.

We have discussed the contents of your posting with the Ward Manager for Ward B11 who was very pleased to hear that you experienced exemplary nursing care and that you felt you were treated as an individual. Your feedback will be passed onto Mr Ramsden and the ward staff.

However, you did raise a number of different concerns which we have now had time to investigate with the Ward Manager.

Firstly, you raised concerns about a member of senior staff wearing inappropriate footwear. The Ward Manager has checked all the nurses footwear and found no issues but staff do recall a patient raising concerns about ‘noisy shoes’ and apparently a member of medical staff was identified and immediately reminded of our dress code and the importance of quiet shoes.

Secondly, in aiming to explain our actions and keep you informed, it seems that you felt you were lectured to about the ‘pain ladder’ and for this we apologise. The ward manager has discussed the need to clarify how much patients want to know or already know as part of the discussion around pain relief with staff members. As you rightly point out, our first action should have been to assess your pain and this has been reiterated with staff.

Thirdly, it is no longer routine for all patients to be seen by a physiotherapist. We have reviewed the content of the leaflet in question and take on board your points. The leaflet is due for review soon anyway as part of a 2 year review cycle. We would, however, like to reassure you that the leaflets are all about the content not the design but the consistent design helps many people to navigate the information better.

Fourthly, we are disappointed to hear your comments on the contents of the information leaflet. We pride ourselves on the quality of the patient information produced here in Rotherham but are constantly reviewing what we do and how we do it and know things can always be improved. The booklets that we provide are educational and this is the first time we have had feedback that they are too graphic. The booklets are intended for patient use, containing essential information, and are not necessarily produced for teenage/family use, which we would leave to parental discretion. We will undertake to have the content in a word document so it could be modified on an ad hoc basis and printed off should another patient require this.

Many other Trusts no longer produce their own patient information choosing to use information available from charities or other bodies and this is something we might consider as part of our strategy going forward but we have always been praised for the quality of our information leaflets and do produce leaflets for younger audiences where they have been requested, in X-ray for example.

We do have a patient information policy which ensures we cover risks and benefits and try to write using plain English and also have a Reader Panel made up of patients, volunteers and Members who assist us in the process.

Lastly, nutrition and hydration are vitally important to our patients and we strive to offer cups of tea frequently during the day. We are always willing to try to provide more than one cup of tea on request and indeed the ward manager has purchased mugs rather than cups to facilitate this. We can only apologise that you were not offered a cup of tea, though this should have been on an individual basis at that hour rather than a tea trolley as such.

We do hope this response goes some way into explaining that we make every effort to provide quality care and support for patients attending this hospital and should you wish to discuss this further, please don’t hesitate to contact our Patient Services Department on 01709 424461 to discuss things further.

With best wishes,


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