"My mum's experience of the Northern General"

About: Northern General Hospital / Older people's healthcare

(as a relative),

Mum has been in NGH twice within a few months. The first time was a very unpleasant experience whilst on Brearley 3. The second time she was on Brearley 2 which was much better but still had problems.

On Brearley 3 the staff did not seem to want to even open the door to visitors - despite there always being at least 3 people standing around the nurses station. Whilst visiting I once counted 8 people around the nurses station but nobody seemed available to help patients or talk to relatives. I was told I would have to wait when I asked to speak to someone about my mother.

My mother felt she was being a trouble when she had to ask for help. However, when she did manage to get herself washed she was told by the nurse that they did not believe she had had a wash. My mother still has all her mental facalties and did not like it when they assumed she did not know what she was doing.

On Brearley 3 she received 2 weeks of antibiotics which I felt were not doing her any good. I continually asked why she was on them but nobody took any notice. When she did finally manage to leave she was only out of hospital a couple of days before she was back in and on some appropriate antibiotics.

However, I think the worst thing was the food. They do not send enough meals for there to be a choice. If they start serving at one end of the ward they have run out of choices by the time they get to the other end. One Sunday they were serving Roast Beef. They came to my mother and asked if she liked cauliflower cheese so she assumed this was part of the dinner. They returned with a plate of cauliflower cheese and nothing else - they had run out of meat. Another time both my mother and the lady in the next bed wanted fish and there was only one portion left so they cut it in half and were given half a portion each. How can patients expect to get better if they are not fed properly?

Whilst my mother was on Brearley 3 they closed the ward beacause of infection, but would not let my mother leave in case the infection was spread. They fumigated the ward whilst my mother and a few others had to wait in the day room. This does not fill you with confidence.

On Brearley 2 my mother was in for 5 weeks. After 3 weeks she was told she would be coming home the following week. I made arrangements at home and arranged to pick her up on the Friday. On the Thursday night at 8. 00pm the ward rang and told me that she could not come home because they had not arranged any care for her! How long do they need to arrange care. She had already finished the antibiotics she required 2 weeks previously. She had to stay another week whilst they arranged care - how much is this costing the NHS?

I know that the NHS is very stretched, but I feel that money is being wasted by giving inappropriate treatment to patients and not getting them back home quickly enough.

I hope this information will help other patients in the future.

Do you have a similar story to tell? Tell your story & make a difference ››


Response from Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

We are very sorry to hear about your mums experience at the Northern General Hospital. We treat all concerns very seriously and wouls like to investigate the issues you have raised.

We would be very grateful if you would contact our Patient Services Team on 0114 271 2400 or email PST@sth.nhs.uk to provide us with more information.