"Surgery and care "

About: John Radcliffe Hospital / Accident and emergency John Radcliffe Hospital / General surgery

(as the patient),

I attended the emergency at about 3 am one evening, with severe abdominal pain. There were no other people in the waiting area. I saw the receptionist, and waited, and waited and waited.

The notice screen posted a wait of 3 1/2 hours. I could only assume they had an extremely busy evening and were full and backlogged. I was finally seen some 1. 5 hours later, in the paediatric emergency- no other patients at all in there.

I was moved around to adults within minutes and whilst there were a number of patients, there were at least half of the beds empty. I wondered why the protracted wait, I was clearly in a lot of pain and not seen by a nurse for 1 1/2 hours. I mean there was literally no one even walking by, just the receptionist behind the glass wall. There was no explanation as to what the waiting time might be and more puzzling why, given the screen at 3. 5 hours and the fact the emergency room was completely empty apart from me.

I was later admitted for for extensive surgery after moving through all 3 of the newly created waiting areas, wards, as they are called, to avoid incurring penalties around admission within 4 hours.

This did not bother me as much as I found it entirely ridiculous. Staff spend more time receiving handover, organising the next move and then transferring me than they did actually doing any care or any more than the bare minimal involvement with a patient. I felt especially sorry for the elderly patients I saw who seemed totally confused by constant moving around.

Further, it was the porters who seemed to me to dictate care priorities. I heard several times, nurses putting off attending to patients needs (toilet, pain etc) in order "not to keep porters waiting". The worst incidence of this was on the ward when one patient was being moved to another ward, had asked for some medication for protracted nausea which they had been struggling with all morning. The nurse replied she did not want to keep the porter waiting and she could get it once on the next ward. The patient replied that the move itself would make it worse and explained that the many times she had been admitted it always took forever and sometimes they didn't have the required medication on the ward. The nurse seemed to dismiss this concern and said "I am sure they will, we have kept the porter long enough! " I wonder if this is a genuine fear of reprise from the porter staff, they seemed very nice, and not all hurrying the patients or the staff. I was utterly depressed by the lack of compassion, and care and the dismissive attitude from the nursing staff I came into contact with.

If it were so busy I would understand this, but I heard many hours of unrelated work chat and endured many hours of pain while no one came to see me, or a nursing assistant would, then tell a nurse who would not come, and repeat this many times over.

I was in for four days, I saw a nurse only when the Doctors came around and only to hand me medication.

No one helped me to put on the stockings to prevent clots, no one came to assist me or anyone else in my area out of our of bed or to mobilise, everyone in my room had had extensive surgery. No one encouraged deep breathing and coughing to prevent chest chest infections, apart from one agency nurse.

These are basic but important elements of post surgical care, as indeed is actually caring.

I felt I and other patients I saw were treated as inconveniences, annoying disruptions.

I am a nurse with over 15 years experience and the culture, excuses and poor standards were utterly depressing.

I was discharged with no follow up, despite a pretty big surgery, my wound became infected and I have taken myself to another hospital.

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Response from Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust

Thank you for taking the time to post your comments about your recent experience at the John Radcliffe Hospital.

Unfortunately, patients arriving at the emergency department may be kept waiting for reasons which are not immediately apparent. All patients are clinically prioritised and it may be that our doctors and nurses were attending other patients in other parts of the department, such as resuscitation and majors where we care for people who may need more immediate or life saving treatment.

However, we accept that much of what you describe is not acceptable and we would very much like to know more about your experience and would invite you to contact us.

Our staff work hard on improving the patient experience and we do value feedback such as this because it shows us areas where improvement may be possible.

My name is Sue McNiven. Please call me on 01295 229259 and I will happily call you back. Alternatively, you may prefer to email me at sue.mcniven@ouh.nhs.uk. I look forward to talking with you.

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Response from John Radcliffe Hospital

Thank you for posting your comments about your recent experience at the John Radcliffe Hospital. We are sorry that you were not happy with your treatment as an emergency admission and subsequent stay as an inpatient. We would like to look into this further so that we can identify and resolve any failing that occurred. My name is Sue McNiven and I work with the division in which this service sits. Perhaps you would be kind enough to call me on 01295 229259 (Monday to Thursday) or 01865 221728 (Friday) - I will happily call you back. Alternatively, you may wish to email me at sue.mcniven@ouh.nhs.uk.

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