"Total Knee Replacement at Tameside General"

About: Tameside General Hospital / General surgery Tameside General Hospital / Trauma and orthopaedics

(as the patient),

I recently had a knee replacement at Tamesidse Hospital and the nursing team, with the odd exception, were great. I felt that the wards are woefully understaffed overnights but although busy seem to be about right during the daytime. I stayed in hospital for 6 nights so I felt I got a good picture of the running of a modern ward. For a service that is entirely free; it is marvelous. OK there are lots of gliches and issues and the staff know what they are. Clinicians seldom seemed to spend enough time with their patients in my experience. I saw my consultant/surgeon for a total of 4 minutes throughtout the entire period. However, my knee is now fine and perhaps they have got the consultancy time balance right.

I thought the physiotherapy team are a mixed bunch. The entire process of having a new knee installed relies heavily on the physiotherapists encouragement and skill. I found the team that patrolled the ward during my time there uninspiring and not too enthusiastic (in fact they look bored with their jobs). However, the team that are based in the physiotheraphy department are fantastic. I was so inspired and encouraged by Jill Hartley that I am walking fine and driving; all down to her work and inspiration (she needs a big medal bosses!).

The newly created Enhanced Recovery Scheme seems dubious in its effectiveness and although in my opinion the aim is to empty beds as quickly as possible (no matter what anyone tells you), I found the after-care not very enhanced or joined up with the physio team. I think the enhanced bit, after you leave hospital, is really 3 phone calls to you at home to see how you are doing. So, having contracted an infection in my new knee I phoned the Enhanced Recover Nurse and they got me to attend the out patients clinic that day ("as a favour") where I waited 3 hours in a crowded waiting room to be given some pain killers and anit-biotics during a two minute consultation with a junior doctor? (I could have gone to my own GP).

I want my local hospital to be amongst the best and morale in general seems to me to be a systemic problem. In my experience it was small patches of excellence alongside disapointed employees. I think that Tameside needs to get to grips with morale as it rubs off onto patients. The NHS is one of this countries finest services, but we must nurture and drive for excellence in service.

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Response from Philip Dylak, Director of Nursing, Tameside Hospital Foundation Trust

Thank you for posting these thoughtful comments, for which we are grateful. I will ensure that all the relevant staff are made aware of them so they can act on them. You positive comments will also be passed on to the physiotherapist you mention. The nurse staffing levels on the ward are consistent with hospitals of similar size and type, though I will ask the senior nurse with responsibility for this area if there have been any specific problems or issues recently. It is difficult to comment on the time you spent with the consultant – clearly if the operation went well, there were no complications, and you were monitored by other members of the team, this may not have been a problem. I agree that we must nurture and drive for excellence in our services, and I am sorry to hear that you felt morale was low. The Trust has just been through a quite challenging year, and the support of our staff has been tremendous. They are greatly appreciated and we will bear in mind the comments you make as we continue to develop and improve our services. I hope you are now much recovered and that your improvement continues without further setback.

Best wishes

Philip Dylak

Would you like to help the hospital to improve its services further? We are currently looking for patients and carers to become involved in a development called “Patient Stories”. We want to know more about our services from the point of view of those who received them – what was good, bad, what could be improved, what should be changed. Want to know more about what’s involved?

Please contact Philip Dylak, Director of Nursing at philip.dylak@tgh.nhs.uk

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