"Patient care at Frenchay Hospital during my admission"

About: Frenchay Hospital / General surgery

(as the patient),

I have a condition called duputren's contracture which needs regular surgery to remove growths in the hands that pull the fingers over to the palm restricting hand movement. I have it in both hands and both feet which I went to Frenchay hospital at the end of January for the growths to be removed from both feet and my left hand. I've had 4 operations on 6 limbs (twice on the left foot, once on the right foot, twice on the left hand and once on the right hand)over a ten year period the last two at Frenchay with a new consultant. My new consultant is fantastic, a dedicated specialist for my type of condition returning nearly 100% hand movement that other consultants could not achieve. All my patient care received from Bristol North Health Trust has been wonderful until my last visit which I can only explain as a nightmare.

Gone are the days when you go to hospital on a ward with a bed and pre-op attention from the nursing staff. You now turn up on ward 5 and sit in a waiting area with all the people expecting their operation that day all at the same time 7-30 a.m. It seems that we are all waiting for beds to become free in a lottery to whether your operation will take place. I waited with others five and a half hours with no back ground music, no television which other wards have, no free newspapers that can be provided and not able to eat or drink. The cut off time is 2 p.m and if you have no bed by that time you go home, I was the last to be lucky enough to get one with three others being turned away two for the second time. My operation went well with great operating staff and a very professional caring night nurse checking my morphine for pain relief and hand on a regular basis.

The nightmare started when the day staff took over my patient care early in morning I felt one particular nurse had a curt attitude from the off. My morphine drip ran out about 6 a.m. and my pain relief from the day nurse was not as prompt or as good as my previous visits when only one limb was operated on. I was refused socks to cover my foot dressings from the day nurse which I manage to get from the tea lady. The day nurse also refused my transport home that my G P said I was entitled to and would be arranged by the hospital, however the nurse told me no and to get a taxi home (cost £45.00 on a disability living allowance). My request for a wheel chair to the car park was refused the nurse telling me they didn't have one. I walked to the car park in extreme pain from both blood soaked foot dressings on pain killers that make you feel you are drunk. It was a miracle I did not have a bad fall with no questions regarding my safety from the day nurse.

My hand therapy was terminated in what seemed to be a secret staff meeting because I could not make an appointment a few days after my operation. My reasons - it was a friday with the district nurse needing to change my dressings for the weekend, my home help was coming and I could not wear any shoes or walk in the -10c conditions plus no transport with a wheeler chair was available. I am still not happy with my health care at Frenchay and I'm making arrangements for treatment at another hand care unit. In my opinion Bristol North Health Care Trust has not delivered the duty of care I received in the past and it now seems to have a policy of patient beware than the patient's duty of care.

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