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"I became violently ill all of a sudden and..."

About: Queen Elizabeth Hospital (Gateshead)

What I liked

I became violently ill all of a sudden and eventually ended up in HDU. The staff, standard of care and investment in patients there were excellent and have probably saved my life.

What could be improved

My issues started with me staying in the Short Stay Unit. Upon transfer after triage I asked for water, as I felt terribly thirsty. The nurse who accompanied me declared in a clipped tone that they are not responsible for water and I 'needed to wait my turn' and let the ward staff get me settled. I was shocked at their rudeness. I waited another 8 minutes for a drink. After this I was repeatedly left covered in vomit and diarrhoe - I had my sheets changed every now and again. I was never cleaned properly and just wrapped in a sheet. The staff seemed very busy and the buzzer was answerered slowly. As I could not use the public toilet staff said they would bring me a commode, then disappeared. I had to ring again. The commode/liners were always late in coming creating more mess. Apart from one nurse and the Doctors nobody took the time to explain what was going on. As I got more and more sick I would have needed somebody to spend time with me to discuss options. The care was both undignified and severely lacking. My bedframe was covered in diarrhoe, which was not wiped. The food was inedible. When I asked staff to make important telephone contacts on my behalf they took over an hour to do so, as they had trollies/meds etc to deal with. Most of my requests were answered with: 'in a minute', then staff disappeared and I had to call again. An awful experience at the Short Stay.

Anything else?

After discharge from HDU I came onto a ward. Some very nice staff there. Problems were medication given at the wrong time. General confusion about meds ongoing issue. Some staff

very slow to answer buzzer. Staff 'disappeared' for cups of tea and avoided patients at times.

My room was not cleaned for 2 whole days. Some staff had no idea about infection control.

Some wouldn't use gloves/pinnies and/or not wash hands. Commode emptied with bare hands, then meds issued without gloves/washing hands. Several commode liners leaked onto the floor.

Cleaned with paper towels, but not bleach. Diarrhoe stain left under bed all weekend.Sheets stained with blood and vomit left on for hours and even overnight.

Story from


Response from Queen Elizabeth Hospital

Thank you for providing feedback on your visit to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. I am sorry you feel disappointed with some of our staff and that you felt unhappy with other aspects of your care.

We try very hard to ensure the best possible care for all our patients and we encourage patients to feedback to us when they feel this has not been achieved. We take any negative feedback seriously and we use comments such as yours to help in the future training of our staff.

I am concerned about a number of issues you have raised and would like to look into this further.

If you would like us to investigate the specific issues you have mentioned, we would need you to raise this with us directly. If you would like to do this please contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) on 0800 953 0667.

Ian Renwick.

Chief Executive of Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust.

  • {{helpful}} {{helpful == 1 ? "person thinks" : "people think"}} this response is helpful