"Concern over treatment of a stroke patient"

About: Clare House Practice Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital (Wonford) / Stroke care

(as a friend),

Last year it was feared that I had had a minor stroke, my GP from Clare House sent me to a special unit at RD & E, I was promptly seen and assessed, and within a short time addmitted to a ward for further tests. The majority of the staff were very good, making time to answer any questions and made me feel as I was important and very well cared for.

I felt that the night staff who treated me were short handed and took a while to respond to patients in need of assistance, one lady in peticular was unable to move herself from the neck down, so when she needed someone, one of the other patients in the bay would ring the nurses bell for her.

On my second night, (being in a bay of six beds), the above lady just couldn't get comfortable and I rang the bell twice for her to be repositioned more comfortabily. When after about 30 minutes she was distressed, by guilt at needing to call for help again, I rang the bell again for her, the nurse who had come all the times before, gave the lady a lecture about not having the time to be at her beck and call, and told me not to ring again. I was quite annoyed and told the nurse that it was their job to see to the patients and I would ring for help as and when.

After 10 minutes the staff nurse returned and gave the paralysed lady some medicine and told her it would help her to sleep, which it did, twenty minutes later the lady was fast asleep. I felt pleased for her.

Then next morning when the day staff came on, the night nurse was going around giving the report on the patients in the bay, and I was shocked to hear them say, when asked how the paralysed lady was during the night, the nurse admitted they had given her a large dose of Oramorph to make her sleep as they didn't have time to keep running around after her. The nurse said this laughing!

I have spent a lot of time in hospitals in Cornwall and Devon, and this was the first and only time I had witnessed something of this nature. Another patient and I both felt we had to report to the day staff nurse the actions of the night nurse, but never heard of any action being taken.

I still have a lot of praise for the NHS staff and feel that I have no qualms of needing treatment any time in the future, I'm just sorry that staff shortages and cut budgets have such a stressful effect for members of staff at all levels.

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Response from Natalie Stone, Patient Engagemennt and Experience Co-ordinator, Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust

I would like to thank you for taking the time to provide feedback concerning your stay on our stroke ward earlier last year. I am sorry to hear of what you observed and I would like to assure you that we take feedback on our services very seriously.

Please be assured that I will bring this matter to the attention of senior staff on the ward so that they can discuss this with their team. If you have any further concerns please do get in touch via our Patient Services Department on 01392 402363 or 01392 403915.

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