"Staff were calm and courteous, but clearly..."

About: Frenchay Hospital

Anything else?

I was a "day-case" patient, which in hospital parlance means I was a quick job, in and out within 12 hours.

In Frenchay, this means you go in at 7:30 and hang around until there is a slot available for your surgery, I'm not sure how this is more efficient than having fixed appointments, but the powers that be have clearly decided that the inconvenience of having to sit in a waiting room, not knowing when you'll be seen, is a necessary evil.

On arrival, bleary-eyed and barely awake, I was "greeted" by the most miserable receptionist it has been my displeasure to meet, she grunted a few questions at me and told me to sit down in the waiting room.

Shortly afterward, the nursing team emerged and started calling us in, a few at a time. Thankfully I was one of the first, so I headed out to what I can only describe as a corridor with cubicles a wholly inadequate space for the nurses to work in. I was introduced to my nurse by name and from that point on, everything improved.

They took me through a few standard pre-op questions, and we had a friendly chat despite her clearly being under the kosh, with a mass of patients to deal with behind me, I never felt rushed or unwelcome.

I then wen't into a second waiting room where for dignities sake, men were kept away from the ladies as we were all put into our gowns. it was generally quite pleasant, television and reading materials were provided and the seating was comfortable enough that I managed to have a little nap.

Some time later (an hour or so) the hubbub from the processing corridor stopped and most of the nurses disappeared to the ward, ready to recieve us post-op. A few remained to carry out the thankless task of sending people home, those who were not lucky enough to secure a bed for the day...

I was soon introduced to my surgeon, a delightful lady, she explained that due to circumstances out of her control, and anaesthetist was unavailable, thankfully my surgery could be performed under local, so I was given the option and took it.

The surgery was handled swiftly, and with as much attention to my comfort that I could have wanted. The post-op was not so good however, once again the nurses were lovely, but simply had too much to do, so could not pay much heed to me. I hung around on the ward for about an hour, and when the necessary paperwork was done, I wandered off with no painkillers or fresh dressings...

Honestly, given the situation the staff were put it, I could not have asked for better care, but I do think that the sheer volume of patient they were expected to treat, with no space to do it in, was abysmal.

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Response from Frenchay Hospital

Dear Anonymous – I apologise for not being able to respond to your comments until now; unfortunately we were experiencing some technical problems.

I regret that the reception staff were not more friendly but pleased to learn that you care was very good and the staff acted in a professional manner. I was also concerned to learn that you were discharged without any apparent discussion about pain relief. It is often the case that no prescription pain relief or special dressings are necessary, but I apologise if this was not discussed with you.

A common admission time is used to ensure patients are prepared for their operation in good time. Surgery can sometime proceed very smoothly and sometimes complications occur. This makes it very difficult to predict a specific time when patients will be called. However, the Trust is considering a morning and afternoon admission time for some surgery to reduce the wait where possible.

You mentioned some patients were informed their surgery could not proceed. This can be for a variety of reasons, some related to the patients own circumstances, and others because of other demands on the service due to emergency admissions, or overrunning procedures Ultimately patient safety must take our priority. As a consequence one of the key aims in the organisation last year has been to reduce cancelled operations, particularly same day cancellations. We have been working towards ensuring that all theatre and bed availability is filly used. Whilst this has resulted in our lowest level of cancelled operations ever achieved in the hospital for the past 5 months, we are not complacent and we recognise how upsetting this can be to patients and their families.

The accommodation at Frenchay is well past its designed life and I regret the facilities are cramped. However the new building at Southmead will offer one of Europe’s leading hospital facilities and will overcome these issues. You can find out more about the facilities at http://www.nbt.nhs.uk/newhospital or by following the links from the North Bristol NHS Trust website.

Thank you for taking the time and trouble to post your views which will be fed back to the day case unit. I hope that you make a quick recovery from your surgery.

Kind regards – Steve Sykes

Advice and Complaints Team

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