"We need our ambulance service and our Grantham Hospital."

About: East Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust Grantham & District Hospital / Accident and emergency Grantham & District Hospital / Neurology Harmoni / NHS 111

(as the patient),

My experience in Grantham Hospital which I found truly amazing... This is my story.

One Sunday in mid January 2013 I got out of bed at 7am. Sunday is the only day of the week I get up first to take my Alendronic Acid tablet. I set the breakfast table and potter about listening to the radio until 30 minutes have passed by, call my husband for breakfast. After breakfast we went into the lounge with a cup of tea as we often do, we sat talking drinking our tea. I remember saying to my husband, "I don't feel very well, I'll go and lay on the bed for a while. " From then on I don't remember anything that happened. The next paragraph is what I have been told happened.

My friend phoned. My Husband came to me and told me my friend was on the phone and asked if I wanted to speak to her. My Husband thought then things were deteriorating because I didn't make sense to him so he said to me I think we ought to have the Dr. I replied "No, we can't bother the doctor on a Sunday." He came to look at me 10 minutes later and realised I was very poorly. He dialled 111, then phoned our 2 daughters. Since I have had time to get my head around the events that followed and happened to realise I had a lot going for me. My husband is 75 years old in April. I was 72 years old in October. Having all our faculties, living a very ordinary happy life with a wonderful family and very good friends. The Paramedics arrived at our home within 5 minutes of my Husband dialling 111. Our eldest daughter and her husband arrived at our home before the ambulance arrived, followed up by my youngest daughter and her husband in their car. My eldest daughter is 52 years old while my youngest is 51 years old. They only live 8 and 14 miles respectively away from Grantham. The Paramedics and Ambulance men did knot know me or know anything about me and needed to ask questions. I could have had lots wrong with me. My eldest daughter replied on one occasion "My mother is 20 years older than me, she does all her own housework and loads of other things, she amazes me! " All she and my husband wanted was to get me to Grantham hospital to make me better as they knew it was of a serious nature but they did not know what it was or what it could be.

My eldest daughter went with me in the ambulance, she overheard that the ambulance was to take me to Lincoln Hospital. The ambulance man answered "if we take her to Lincoln, we will lose her. " (Why is it that "they", the powers that be, suggest everyone should go to Lincoln or other hospitals when we have a perfectly excellent hospital at Grantham? ). We have a population of 34,480 residents (quoted from the 2011 censors, 7 wards), this number does not include the surrounding villages. Surely this alone speaks volumes? We need our ambulance service and our Grantham Hospital.

My husband followed with my son in law in his car. Followed up by my youngest daughter and her husband in their car. My husband by this time was beside himself. My daughters stayed with him in the waiting room at Accident and Emergency. My sons in law were with me trying to keep me under control, apparently I was trying to get off the bed. The Doctors were busy saving my life.

I was admitted onto the Emergency Assessment Unit. The next day I had a Lumbar Puncture signed permission by my husband and from the on the fight continued to save my life. My diagnosis was Bacterial Meningitis. The same or similar strain to what the little children have an so difficult to diagnose and so unusual in my age group. My husband read on the internet one person in 250,000 in my age bracket. What a tangled web I wove for all the consultants, Doctors, Microbiologists to untangle. My life was in their hands. My brain was in such a turmoil I too had to unravel my brain and did so with the help of my husband and family.

My husband visited me every day in the visiting times, afternoon and every evening and helped me to remember things. Everything came back to me gradually. At first I spent lots of time sleeping and thinking. I felt as if a miracle had happened when the buzzing and noises stopped ringing in my head and ears. When I took my first shower on my own without help it took me one hour to shower and dress. Reading was a problem too, at first when I read an article in a magazine I could not remember what I had read. The next day I would read the same article, after a few days I said to myself, "hurray! I remember all of this." Each day was more precious getting back to normal. I had blood tests, MRI scans, CT scans, X rays etc.

I was moved to ward 6 in late January and this is where my amazing experience began, watching and listening and learning how everyone working at Grantham Hospital plays their part. They are so professional and dedicated each in their chosen positions. What I am about to write applies to EAU Doctors, Sisters, Senior Nurses, Care Nurses, Cleaning Ladiest and Gents, food Ladies, everyone that I came into contact with. I was in a side room for 12 days on EAU and only saw what went on within my room.

There are 28 beds on Ward 6 as a bed became empty it was soon occupied with another patient. The Consultants and Doctors were busy all the time while on duty diagnosing and making important decisions, the best way forward for each individual patient for medicines etc, passing on their knowledge to the junior nurses wanting to follow in their footsteps. How fantastic they are. What amazed me most was the Sisters and Senior Nurses would be busy giving medicines to patients (such a responsible job) and would have to leave and close their medicine cabinet to give assistance to a patient calling for help.

In my opinion there are not enough nurses on duty, especially at certain times of day and night. At one time, 18 patients were on IV antibiotics. My husband noticed that I was not given mine on occasions on time. I said to him "please don't say anything because they can't possibly get to us all on time, there isn't enough staff on duty". One night there was only 2 Senior Nurses and one Care Nurse on duty to serve 28 patients. I don't know if this is the norm for every night shift? If this is so then more staff are needed to be on duty.

The food ladies and gents do an excellent job and are very helpful towards the patients and their requests. Likewise are the cleaning ladies and gents. The food and menus are excellent, beautifully presented, something for everyone. I was also surprised how some patients behaved, manners in some were appalling. The staff were able to cope having been trained to do so I guess. Thank goodness these patients were in the minority.

If I have missed any department to give the staff the praise they deserve, please forgive me.

I returned home in mid February 2013. Grantham Hospital and the people employed are truly amazing. I couldn't have had any better treatment anywhere in the world. Thank you to everyone concerned.

I would like to add this to my story. All our Out Patient Clinics are full with appointments. My husband and I can say this with all honesty as we are recepients of the Out Patients Clinics. My husband is under Consultant Dr. Houghton with his heart condition Aortic Stenosis, Consultant Mr. Darulwala for prostate cancer of which his treatment has just started, and also last year with bladder cancer. He had a cataract operation last September, Consultant Mr. Tekriwal. In late February 2013 he had an appointment with the Ear Nose and Throat department regarding an ear infection. I have been under Dr. Matsiko as an outpatient which started in 2005. My last referral to see Dr. Matsiko was December 2011. We both have had excellent treatment with prompt appointment after our GP has referred us.

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Response from Jennie Negus, Deputy Director of Patient Services, United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust

picture of Jennie Negus

Wow - what a story......I can only begin to imagine how terrifying it must have been for you and your family when you first fell ill and I am delighted everything went so well. I passed your story to ward 6 and their matron replied to me as follows:

"I am delighted this lady received such excellent care and her perception and attention to detail is incredible especially considering how poorly she was – her understanding of the staffing pressures (x18 patients on IVs) and her summary of staffing levels so apt, so insightful and so accurate. I am constantly amazed by my staff on ward 6 and their commitment to patient care and as the Matron I am proud of all that they achieve."

Thank you again for taking the time to tell us your story.

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