"Nurse, catering and cleanliness at East Surrey"

About: East Surrey Hospital / Accident and emergency East Surrey Hospital / Neurology

(as the patient),

I was admitted to East Surrey Hospital via A&E due to sudden onset of seizures and spent 12 long days in various wards waiting for tests and numerous doctors to decide what to do. Unfortunately for me, and everyone else unlucky enough to be stuck in hospital over Easter, we had to sit and wait for four days while the hospital ground to a halt over the Bank Holidays. I didn't even see a doctor of any kind for four days despite having up to 8 seizures in one day. It seemed to me that the backlog caused by the long weekend once normal service was resumed meant waiting, waiting and more waiting for tests and patients who could have been discharged within a couple of days being kept in for over a week taking up valuable beds. The staff were always saying that they were desperate for beds and this seemed like such a waste of resources.

I appreciate staff need, and are entitled to, a break at times like Easter and that the cost of paying them to work on Bank Holidays must be sky high but surely that doesn't compare to the cost of keeping people in beds for days longer than actually necessary?

Overall, I found the quality of the care I received to be of a good standard and I cannot praise the Nurses and HCA's enough for the work they do in such challenging conditions. I did notice that there was an unusually (in my opinion) high number of agency nurses employed on the wards I was on, especially Bletchingley, and this meant a lack of continuity of care. The nurses themselves even admitted that they didn't know where supplies were kept or the routines of that particular ward.

The ward and surrounding areas were all very clean and tidy and the domestic staff worked quickly to clear up any mess they came across.

The one big area where East Surrey lets itself down is the quality of the food. I found it very poor and is an issue that really needs addressing. I was so disgusted with several of my meals that I took photos of them and sent them to the Trust management but I have not had any response and probably never will. The cooked meals were served lukewarm, the presentation was poor and the meals were just not good quality. Is a sausage roll and baked beans really a healthy choice for an evening meal? Is a pre-packaged cheese sandwich made on dry bread really a nutritious meal for an ill person? The menu works on a one week rotation, great if you are only in for a couple of days but otherwise boring and repetitive. When you see the catering at other hospitals and the menu and choices available I think it makes the catering at East Surrey look horrendous.

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Response from Ian Mackenzie, Director of Information and Facilities, Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust We are preparing to make a change

picture of Ian Mackenzie

Dear StickyRaver

Thank you for your comments about East Surrey Hospital and as the Director responsible for food - amongst other things - I'm sorry that you had such a poor experience with the food you were served.

You mention that you took photographs and sent them to Trust management but I haven't seen them and I would be very happy to discuss this with you if you wish to contact me directly.

If you e-mail me on ian.mackenzie@sash.nhs.uk I will call you as soon as I can.



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Update posted by StickyRaver (the patient)

Just wanted to add an update.

I did email the pictures to Ian Mackenzie as he requested and received two further responses by email. I wasn't expecting to get any reply so the fact that he bothered to reply at all was really pleasing.

Thanks for detailed replies and good luck with the catering initiatives!

Response from Ian Mackenzie, Director of Information and Facilities, Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust

picture of Ian Mackenzie

Dear StickyRaver

Many thanks for the reply.

We really want to improve the experience patients have at East Surrey Hospital so all comments are really valuable in helping us do this.

Best wishes


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