"My husband's recent stay at Borders General Hospital"

About: Borders General Hospital / Acute Assessment Unit

(as a relative),

My husband was admitted to BGH suffering from cellulitis, and was an in-patient for about 48 hours.  I cannot emphasise enough how kind, caring and professional the staff were during this time.

However, he has had  to continue treatment on a daily basis for another week, and this is the point at which I feel some concern has to be expressed.  The first of these follow-up visits (for antibiotic injections) was not a good experience.  We arrived at 10.30, as requested.  A full hour later, we saw a nurse, and two and a half hours after that, we saw a doctor, after which treatment took approximately five minutes.  Four hours ten minutes for a five-minute treatment.

What I felt was very clear was that the clinic was extremely understaffed - one doctor instead of three, and only one nurse, with help from another 'shared' floating nurse, to deal with eight fairly complex cases in the first instance.   My sense was one of sympathy for those members of staff. I believe that people should not have to work under those conditions, knowing that they are under constant pressure, and that patients are not in receipt of any communication, explanation or updates. I believe that this clearly caused some embarrassment to the members of staff on the ward.

I feel that staff are trying to work in impossibly difficult conditions, and that this unfortunate experience has reflected a real weakness, a 'blip' in an otherwise positive experience. 


Response from Lynn Mccallum, Consultant Physician. Clinical Director of Unscheduled Care, Acute Medicine, NHS Borders We are preparing to make a change

picture of Lynn Mccallum

Dear DairyJane,

Thank you for taking the time to feedback on your husband's experience in the BGH. Whilst I am really delighted to hear that his inpatient stay was good, I was concerned to read about your collective experience within our Acute Assessment Unit.

The AAU was devised to provide two services, which prior to 2015 were not offered in the BGH. The first is the assessment of acutely unwell patients referred via their GPs. The second is the delivery of care, previously only available in an inpatient setting. This includes rapid investigations (faster than in the outpatient setting) and IV therapies such as antibiotics and blood transfusion. The latter aspect of the service (ambulatory care) was developed with a view to improving the patient experience and prevent them having to be in hospital any longer than is absolutely necessary. Patients tell us daily of how difficult it is to sleep in hospital and how they would prefer to be home and we agree that home is certainly a great place to be once you are well enough to be there!

The concept seems fairly straight forward but unfortunately, has almost been a victim of its own success! When we started in 2015, we had about 3-5 patients coming through ambulatory care and now have closer to 12! In addition, staffing within the NHS remains challenging and we are endeavouring (along with all other local NHS organisations!) to address this with recruitment events and the employment of additional medical staff. I am grateful to you for your sympathy towards our frontline staff and assure you that we really are working to address this problem!

Interestingly, this is the second Care Opinion review that I have answered in the last few days which relates to communication within AAU. Today, I have spoken to the wider team and we are proposing some posters explaining the process that we go through in AAU to assess patients and deliver care. In addition, we are reminding staff of the updates they would wish for themselves and their families if they were in the unfortunate position to be unwell, as a gentle reminder to ensure that everyone is treated with respect and dignity. I have therefore put a planned change as part of this response and will update you again when these are in place.

Once again, I'd like to thank you for taking the time to tell us about your husband's experience via Care Opinion. In NHS Borders, we use all feedback in a constructive manner - positive, to feedback to staff and improve morale and negative to make meaningful changes to improve the patient and relative experience in the future.

I very much hope that your husband has now made a full recovery.

Best wishes,

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Response from Lynne Boyle, Senior Charge Nurse, Medical admissions ward, Borders General Hospital We are preparing to make a change

Dear DairyJane

Thank you for taking the time to share your experience of our services on Care Opinion, which is an excellent platform for allowing us to receive feedback that may not otherwise be given to us.

I'm very pleased to hear of your husband's positive inpatient experience and I will share that with the ward team. I am however disappointed that your experience in Ambulatory Care was less satisfactory - like Lynn states we are experiencing staffing challenges along with the whole NHS and we are working hard to try to address these issues. I will also look at what has happened recently in Ambulatory Care with regard to staffing to try to identify any specific problems but if you wish to contact me personally I would be more than happy to speak with you and get more information and detail so that I can really investigate the circumstances of your husband's experience.

Nursing and medical staff work closely within the department to try to make improvements to the service we provide and to learn from feedback so thank you once again for giving us this information and I hope that your husband is recovering well.



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