"Mixed care after gall bladder operation"

About: The Great Western Hospital / General surgery Wiltshire PCT / District nursing

(as the patient),

I was admitted to hospital for a Gall bladder operation. A previous attempt of removal, a year earlier was abandoned most thankfully, this was due to serious complications.

So the operation was non routine, because it was stuck to my liver and duodenum, thus requiring great skill and patience to complete the operation successfully. The consultant and his team were brilliant and I can't speak highly enough of them. However some of the nursing staff were less than professional. Upon returning to the ward, I was well overdosed with morphine, I nearly stopped breathing and was hallucinating badly. I was then given something else to negate the effect. I believe that this was done without consulting the medical team. A registrar was incensed when he found out shortly afterwards.

The sloppiness continued. I was in lots of severe pain and discomfort and was left for long periods. After a few days I developed a severe case of oral thrush, my tongue was pure white and my throat was closing up. I asked the nurse many times, in vain, for medication. Yes, I was simply ignored. By that evening I was desperate and begged the nurse for some help, she just said, I would have to see a doctor!

Eventually the night shift came on, what a difference! They were caring, interested and professional. They noticed my problem immediately and within a very short time I had been given the right medication. The medication began to work very quickly and I soon felt a lot better. However I really thought I could have choked to death.

Also during that week in hospital, the flush in my toilet never stopped flushing. I reported it daily, sometimes twice, but nothing was ever done about it! Finally I was discharged from hospital, only to return quickly with a very bad infection of the operation wound. More antibiotics and another small operation to drain the wound, then back home after a couple of days to three weeks of dressing changes from the superb district nurses and my local surgery.

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Response from Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust We are preparing to make a change

Thank you for taking the time to share your experience following your recent operation. I am pleased the care provided by the surgical team was very good – I will share you feedback with them as I am sure they will be keen to hear it.

I am concerned about the experience you had on the ward following your operation and note the differences you have highlighted between the day and night shift.

I would like to follow this up on your behalf with the Matron and Ward Manager so they can take action on the ground for future patients so I would appreciate some more details via email if you are happy for me to deal with this on your behalf. Please email me at comms@gwh.nhs.uk including your name, the ward you stayed on and the approximate dates of your stay.

I will also share your feedback with our Chief Nurse who has recently joined the Trust and is looking at ways we can improve patient care through a stronger focus on nursing practice at ward level so your feedback will be very useful for her. One of the areas she is particularly keen to ensure is greater consistency in how patients are treated. We know that the vast majority of time for the vast majority of patients our staff get it right. When they don’t we’re keen to learn from that and make improvements.

With regards to the problem with the toilet, once I have the specific details of your ward I will raise this with our estates provider, Carillion so that they can assure me the problem has been resolved for future patients.

I look forward to hearing from you via the email above.

Kind regards

Kevin McNamara

Response from The Great Western Hospital

Thank you for your comments. I’m sorry that you experienced a mixed standard of health care at the Great Western Hospital recently. Although it’s good to hear your positive comments about our consultants and the nurses who looked after you in the evening, we were disappointed that some parts of the nursing team didn’t live up to your expectations. I have shared your feedback with the relevant Matrons and with our Chief Nurse so they are aware of your experience and can bring it to the attention of staff on the ground. Our Chief Nurse has recently published a new nursing strategy for the Trust, http://www.gwh.nhs.uk/about-us/news/trust-launches-new-nursing-strategy which focuses on improving the consistency of care To address exactly the sorts of issues you raise. This year we are also investing £150,000 in a Nurse leadership development programme so Ward Managers and Senior Nurses have the leadership skills to support their teams in providing higher quality care and monitor standards. At the same time we’re investing over £1m in more nurses which will help ensure all our wards are up to the standard of the best. I hope this provides some reassurance that we are focussed on making significant improvements in those areas where we need to within the hospital. I’d be happy to discuss your concerns in more detail, then please feel free to call our Customer Service team on 01793 604031, (8.30am to 5pm Monday to Friday). Alternately, please email us at pals.team@gwh.nhs.uk

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