"Two very different experiences"

About: Lister Hospital / Neurology

(as the patient),

My wife has had two admissions to the Lister Hospital in Stevenage; the first in August /September and the second in February 2006. The factor common to both was prompt attention in A&E followed by accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment. The similarities end there.

The August admission was followed by patchy nursing care, poor communication within the hospital and a marked lack of nursing staff during the August Bank Holiday period. My wife was at her most ill during this period and it was difficult to find any one to reassure me that her symptoms were compatible with her diagnosis. Her final discharge was delayed by two days as MRI scans remained unread. As ever within the NHS, there were many examples of splendid nursing and consultant neurologist involvement.

On discharge I submitted a detailed account of problems encountered to the Nursing Officer. A phone call from the Complaints Manager informed me that no action could be taken unless my wife personally submitted a complaint. After the terrifying nature of the illness my wife had no wish to relive her experience. A phone call to the Complaints Manager was followed by a letter informing me that the reported difficulties would be investigated. I have heard no more.

The admission of my wife in January demonstrated high level care of pneumonia from the moment of admission to the time of discharge.

These episodes graphically illustrate the difficulties in making an informed assessment of the quality of care within any hospital.

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