"Clean bright ward, good food and attentive staff."

About: Queen's Medical Centre

What I liked

My treatment was first class.

All the staff were courteous and friendly.

The food was very good.

The nurses appeared to be fully occupied, having occasional periods when they were 'rushed off their feet' but on the whole they had time for their patients.

What could be improved

1. The Pharmacy needs to be sorted out. I witnessed many people being prevented from going home for typically 4 hours after the doctors discharged them because the process of obtaining medication from the pharmacy is so slow.

2. Silly 'check lists' on walls for staff to tick boxes to say that a room has been checked for equipment on the first Monday of the month, or that someone has checked every single hour to see that I have been able to go to the toilet, which is totally inappropriate nonsence for patients who are able bodied. Get rid of check lists and save the nurses efforts for attending to those who are less able bodied. If the ward managers want check lists completing, maybe they should do the checks themselves rather than devise work for busy nurses to complete.

3. On 3 occasions and whilst in a cardiology ward I was suffering arrythmias which needed to be captured on an ECG, yet the nurses on the night shifts were unable to operate the ECG machine which was new and would not allow operators to use it until my details had been labouriously typed in, by which time the arrythmias had largely subsided. The fact that 3 nurses had to call for assistance from colleagues suggests that this is a training issue and not an individual issue.

Anything else?

Whilst in a bay with 4 patients, one of the patients suffered cardiac arrest and was revived by use of a defibrillator after about 6 shocks and cardiac massage. He suffered a further arrest 45 minutes later after his family arrived and was revived once more in a similar manner. This went on from 00:30am until 8.30am when I was able to escape to the dining room for my breakfast. During this time the patient was shocked over 40 times and underwent several bouts of cardiac massage, during which time about 10 members of his family were crying and wailing, running in and out of the bay as staff tried to encourage them to wait in the family room.

The effect this had on me and the other occupant of the bay was horrible in the extreme. I found myself willing for the man to die because I couldn't stand the trauma of hearing the patients cardiac arrest yawn followed by the heart monitor alarm and then the defibilllator charging once more, knowing what the patient was going through. He was a lovely man and I was later pleased to hear that following a couple of days in intensive care he regained consciousness. The staff did a fantastic job of keeping him alive when I incorrectly would have thought that he should have been allowed to die. But it was not something that other patients should have to witness. The old chap's arrest was unexpected and I cannot fault the fact that he was in a bay with other patients. I understand that there was nowhere else to take this patient as no side rooms were available. And there was nowhere else to put we other patients who were in the bay. But this experience was truely horrible for me. I don't ever want to be 'shocked' after witnessing that, or undergo cardiac massage. It has frightened me. I cannot think of any solutions that would avoid patients like me witnessing something so horrible the otherside of a flimsy curtain. If there is a solution, please employ it !

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Response from Queen's Medical Centre

Thank you for getting in touch. We were pleased to hear that your treatment and care during your stay was of a high standard. We will ensure that your kind comments are shared with the relevant teams.

Your suggestions and comments regarding ways we can improve are greatly appreciated. With regards to our pharmacy service, we are currently piloting a new medicine ward delivery service to ensure timely discharge for patients. Our new campaign, called ‘Beds by 11’ has also been launched which will help medications needed for patients’ discharge be ready on time to avoid any delays. We are confident each of these projects will improve the experience of future patients.

With reference to the concern you raised regarding the appropriateness of staff check lists and hourly checking, this is an important part of our Trust-wide patient safety programme. We are in the process of rolling out our enhanced hourly rounding programme, known as ‘Caring around the Clock’, on all of our wards. This will help us to ensure our nurses check on patients’ care needs hourly, so that our patients receive consistently high standards of care, all day, every day.

The concerns you mentioned with the operation of ECG equipment are troubling. We have raised this with colleagues on the relevant ward. Where colleagues require additional training, we will put this in place.

We were sorry to hear of your distressing experience relating to another patient on the ward. Should you require any further support please do not hesitate to contact our Patient Advice and Liaison service on 0800 183 0204.

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