"Medical side excellent, administration abysmal"

About: Royal Berkshire Hospital

What I liked

The medical team who performed my operation, the staff in the recovery ward and all the nurses and other staff in Lister Ward treated me exceptionally well. They were all kind and considerate to me at all times, I cannot praise them enough. The food provided by the hospital kitchen staff was very good. The variety of dishes available was broad and the food always hot and well presented.

What could be improved

The administrative side of this hospital can only be described as not fit for purpose and does not seem to be designed with the patient in mind. Examples: After surgery I was transferred to the recovery ward, my wife was told before I went down to surgery, that the operation would take about 1.5 to 2 hours and I would be in recovery for about another 1.5 hours. In the event I was in recovery for some 5 hours. No information as to the reason, which was minor, was given to my wife when she asked and naturally she thought that something drastic had happened to me. This caused her unnecessary worry. The day before my discharge I went down to the x-ray department at 9 in the evening and cleared for discharge by my consultant at 9 on the following morning, providing I satisfied the physiotherapist . Clearance for discharge was given at 12 mid-day. I waited for six and a half hours for the paperwork to be completed finally leaving the ward at 6.30 pm. I was not given any discharge papers or medication to take home as the Pharmacy closed at 5pm. I was given a prescription to take to my local chemist however. I was told that there had been a computer breakdown which had delayed matters, but why was there not a back up system in place? Can't staff write things down and put it on the computer later. Management needs to look at this matter because it sully's the hospital's reputation. The management ploy of asking 'what if' should be applied.

Anything else?

Recently I went to have my pacemaker checked out . Usually following this routine procedure the staff give my an appointment for the next check up straight away. I consult my diary and a date and time is agreed which is acceptable to the hospital and myself. Now it appears that this is being done centrally and I will be sent an appointment at a later date having at the moment no idea of the date or time. This decision seems to me to have been taken for the benefit of the admin side without the patient being considered.

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Response from Royal Berkshire Hospital

Thank you for taking the time to post comments about your recent experience in our Orthopaedic ward. The matron for that area will pass your positive comments onto the ward team and the doctors who were involved in your treatment. It is always good to hear that our service and the care that we give meets or exceeds expectations so we are really disappointed that the experience you had surrounding our administration and your discharge was not up to the same standards as the rest of your care. We are aware that our discharge process is not always as slick as it should be and we are making changes to improve this. Unfortunately, on the day you were due to leave the hospital our IT systems failed throughout the Trust. While we have contingency plans in place to revert to paper systems if this happens, we did have problems dispensing medication. We had to prioritise those patient receiving chemotherapy and emergency patients within our dispensary and provide patients who were able to access off-site chemists with a prescription to allow them to do this. We can only apologise for the disruption that was caused to you when our systems failed, it was a rare situation and the matron will ensure your comments are fed back to the team who were dealing with the emergency situation.

She will also ask for the cardiac team to note and respond to your comments regarding the pacemaker service. Thank you again for posting your comments and giving us the opportunity to respond and we wish you well in your continued recovery.

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