"Awful and a depressing example of the worst state..."

About: The Great Western Hospital

What I liked

THe care given by the doctors was good. However my aunt rarely saw a doctor

What could be improved

Nursing care.

This was appallling. My aunt was 99 at the time of her admission. Whilst the "nurses" were pleasant to her her real needs were just not met. She sometimes had to wait more than an hour after ringing for a commode and on occasions this was left by her bed for 2 hours after she has passed faeces into it. She felt dirty and uncared for. Personal hygiene facilities for such a sick old person was minimal.

No help was available with meals so if she didn't like the food or couldn't eat it she went without.

As her effective next of kin (she has no children and her brother is 85 and partially sighted) I was given no information or support even when I asked for it

I spent a lot of time at the hospital and staying in a nearly hotel yet received no information from any of the staff or ackowledgement abut the difficulties this created for me. One staff nurse was positively sarcastic and rude on the phone.

Anything else?

At 99 my aunt is of the generation that does not question poor practice, just tolerates it and comments on it quietly to those closest to her.

After her time there in January 2011 she said she never wanted to return to that hospital.

Sadly this evening she has had to be rushed back in and went becuse she wasn't well enough to insist on being taken somewhere else.

Story from NHS Choices

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Response from The Great Western Hospital

Thank you for your comments about your aunt’s stay in the Cardiology department of Great Western Hospital in January 2011. We are sorry to hear that the care she received was below the standard you should expect. We are also concerned that you did not feel you received the information you asked for at what must have been a very difficult and unsettling time.

We are continually looking at ways we can improve the quality and safety of our services across the Trust and recognise that while we strive to provide excellent care we don’t always get things right, which is why all feedback is so important. We can only apologise for your aunt’s discomfort.

It’s important for patients and relatives to feel free to raise issues and complaints on the ward there and then as this means that problems can be addressed immediately. Each ward has a Ward Manager or Matron who is available to speak to if you want to discuss the care your loved one is receiving. We have recently made the Ward Managers’ contact information more visible by putting posters up around the wards to make it easier for patients and relatives to recognise who is in charge.

In January 2012 we introduced a system called intentional rounding, where nurses carry out checks on patients more regularly, in a structured manner and at set times to ensure patients' needs are being met and that they remain comfortable and reassured.

Although the issues you raise date back 18 months, given their seriousness we would be happy to talk with you in person and we would invite you to contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) at PALS.Team@gwh.nhs.uk or call 01793 604031. This service is free and strictly confidential.

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