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About: Castle Hill Hospital

What I liked

Ward 27 was very clean

What could be improved

I'm commenting on behalf of a close relative who is currently in Ward 27, hence my anonymity.

1) Staff seem unable to communicate both to patients and their relatives. Any enquiry either by phone or face to face is met with a bland "They're doing fine" when this is patently not the case. My relative has had complications following major thoracic surgery yet nursing staff are unable or unwilling to give any clues as to possible outcomes or even when my relative may be set free from CH. Nursing staff are more willing to hang about the nursing stations chatting than to sit down with patients explaining what is actually going on – my relative is 80, though not demented, but all she has to go on are quick infobursts. It needs a nurse to sit down and make sure she has understood what she's told.

2) The food is, by general consent amongst patients I've asked, disgusting. This is not an "NHS budget" thing (I was in York Hospital a few months ago and the food was excellent). I've spoken to patients who say they find it inedible.

3) The pantomime of getting into Ward 27 at visiting time is not funny. I stood for 10 minutes, ringing various intercoms, with no answer. During this time a member of staff appeared on the other side of the door and told me cheerfully to "keep ringing, they'll let you in". She disappeared, came back later, and stood next to the "door open" button to tell me that she "wasn't allowed" to let me in. In the end I rang my relative on her (not allowed) mobile phone and *she*, at 80 years old and carrying a chest drain, came and let me in. This is completely unacceptable and I shall be making an official complaint.

All told the medical care is, in common with most of the NHS, superb. However communication skills and attention to simple details which maintain patient dignity are abysmal.

Anything else?

There should be a shop somewhere in the Cardiothoracic building, selling simple essentials such as soap, toothpaste, tissues and the like. Apparently (from the hospital website) there are shops in the "main hospital reception area", wherever this may be. Given the size of the site it seems a little unlikely that patients will lug their chest drains half a mile through the snow to buy toothpaste. How about removing the pointless café in the entrance foyer of the Cardiothoracic building (I've rarely seen it open in any case) and opening a shop selling things like soap, shower gel, apples and newspapers?

Story from NHS Choices

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Response from Castle Hill Hospital

Many thanks for placing your posting on the NHS Choices website about our Cardiothoracic department. We are sorry to read of your relatives recent experience and we will ensure that the staff concerned are made aware although you mention the care itself was goodt.Ther are two shops selling small personel items in the Queens Centre and in the main enterance of the hospital. We are unable to answer specific concerns on this site however if you would like to discuss this matter further with us, please do not hesitate to contact our Patient Advice & Liaison Service on 01482 623065 or email on pals@hey.nhs.uk


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