"feedback on general care which was both excellent and at times amounting to bullying"

About: Royal Alexandra Hospital / Trauma & orthopaedics

(as the patient),

I was admitted at A @ E after a fall. The care I received at A @ E could not have been better. The staff were kind and compassionate explained everything and provided all required support without ever patronising or overlooking me. This made me feel confident that I was in good hands.

I was given all the tests I needed speedily, a mistake was made through tiredness, explanation and apology was given and so a blood test was to be done again. Mistakes do happen and the way it was explained made me feel respected and again I felt that I was in excellent hands.

I had Xray and MRI scan in no time, and even though I waited around 3 hours on a gurney in a corridor to be taken back to the ward, I still felt lucky. Although the receptionist did not talk to me directly I could hear her ring for a porter at regular intervals and this reassured me.

I was admitted to the ward, and made comfortable and the welcome was warm and reassuring. I was not shown how to call a nurse or how to use the remote control to get my bed in a good position.

I have a chronic back condition for which I had brought my analgesic drugs, note had been taken of these by the consultant at A @ E.

Food was served at tea-time and again I was surprised by the good level of quality.

The night staff came on and drugs were distributed and I realised immediately that what was prescribed was a lot less than my normal presciption drugs and mentioned it. This was dismissed by the nurse. By around 11 pm the pain was very bad, and since I did not know how to call the nurse from my bed I walked with my two sticks to the nurse station. I clearly interrupted their chit chat, and was given short shrift when I mentioned that I was in a lot of pain and needed help. I was told that the only drug I was due was a Diazepam at 2. 00 am and that was that. I was told that in future I was to call the nurse from my bed, I still was not shown how.

As I went back to bed another patient explained me how to call the nurse from my bed and we struck up a 3 sentence each conversation. A nurse came in and told us to be quiet.

At that point I felt bullied and that I was in a oppressive environment where nothing I could do or say was going to make things ok for me.

I managed to meditate myself to sleep until 3. 30 am through the growing pain. By 4 am I had not been given the Diazepam or anything, I think I asked for it but of this I am not sure, as I was in such pain. The pain was such at that point that the Diazepam did not touch the pain at all, I was pacing up and down like a wounded animal for hours unwittingly disturbing the whole ward. Around 6am I asked again for help and was told that the shift were in the middle of change over and I would have to wait.

Finally the doctor came, realized the mistake, prescribed me some morphine (a little) and had my appropriate drugs administered. When the drugs were administered the nurse told me that I should have told them what drugs I was on ( I had told the consultant who had written it down). When I said that I had, the nurse said that I should have told them that the medication was insufficient (I had on several occasions and actually it was their job to ask not mine to say). The nurse said that they had tried to get a doctor in the night for me but they were very busy. Nothing of this was said to me in the night, and, in light of my clinical experience, I don't think this was true.

Again I felt bullied into taking responsibility for a mistake that was not mine....MISTAKES DO HAPPEN...we are all human, sometimes tired, sometimes overstretched... mistakes are not an issue they are part of life, but being bullied and shamed on top of enduring the consequences of those mistakes is unacceptable.

Sadly I witnessed this type of attitude with two more patients on my ward on at least three more occasions. I was quite aware of their situation, but I was scared to speak out and think they were too...I mean really speak out and get hold of our power again...the more I tried and the harder the bullying seemed...I was helpless and in pain...not in a good place to confront a bullying once and for all.

The pain settled, the day staff were once again very kind and compassionate. The physiotherapist came and was helpful. The pain Nurse came and was exceptionally helpful with explanations, drug management techniques, intelligent and useful advise. Again the food was surprisingly good.

It took hours to discharge me because my drugs had been changed and they took forever to dispense them from pharmacy to the ward, but I did not care about the wait...I know the hospital is overstretched like everywhere else. The nurses were embarassed by the length of the wait, but to me that is just life.

Some things cannot be helped, but respect and compassion are great healers, and bullying patients who 'put up and shut up' because they are in pain and helpless is utterly unacceptable.

It seems to unfair that the great kindness and warmth of so many is overshadowed by the cruelty of a few.

I hope my comments will be taken in the spirit that they are given, not as a means to punish but as a tool to raise awareness and improve the standards of our wonderful National Health Service.

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Response from Paul Cannon, Head of Administration, Acute Services Division, Greater Glasgow & Clyde NHS

Thank you for sharing your experience, both good and bad, I was very pleased to read your positive comments about the A&E staff, the food and the initial welcome on the ward.

You did however make some negative comments about the ward, especially how you were cared for overnight, and I was very sorry to read that this experience seemed to overshadow all the good care and attention your received.

I would like to share this with the ward manager to ensure that this feedback is provided to the staff concerned, and reflected upon, but I cannot identify from your feedback the ward you were cared for in. If you are able to provide some further detail by emailing me direct I will ensure that this is passed on to the appropriate local manager.

You can contact me on paul.cannon@ggc.scot.nhs.uk

I look forward to hearing from you.

In the meantime I will pass your comments on to the A&E staff and the catering staff at the Hospital.


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