"Doctors are 5-star, 80% of nurses are 2-star"

About: The Whittington Hospital

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I brought my son in to A&E late one evening with a high fever. Normally I would have treated him at home but because he'd recently had a life-threatening condition, the fever was a serious worry. Thankfully, his life-threatening matter was treated at The Royal Bournemouth Hospital where every single aspect of care was faultless from the cleaners to the consultants, every single person was professional, caring and respectful. On the contrary, I had quite a shock when we arrived at the Whittington Hospital. To start, the receptionist was downright rude! Is that necessary? It doesn't take much to be just decent, even just straightforward, never mind polite. We waited in A&E for almost 12 hours for a bed, which was understandable. Most of the nurses in A&E were helpful, skilled and courteous. The doctors were 100% professional and courteous. They looked after him well considering the crammed circumstances. The next morning, on the way to the Critical Care Unit, my impression of the general hygiene of the hallway and common parts was that it is grimy. Over the next couple of days, compared to The Royal Bournemouth Hospital, I could see the cleaners at the Whittington did not have the same level of fastidiousness. It's really a shame. It doesn't take much to up the level of cleanliness, and for some more vulnerable people, this is serious. Enough said. The proof is evident. At the Critical Care Unit, the nurses have a lot to answer for in terms of recording patient details and patient relations, the latter being less serious, obviously. For example, at one point, I had to remind the nurse as to when his last dose of paracetomol was taken because it wasn't recorded. They also failed to give him a dose of his regular prescription, which again could have been dangerous. During his stay, I kept having to ask for my son's temperature to be taken. At one point when his temperature had gone up to 40.5, I again had to ask what the reading was because one particular nurse was not forthcoming at all with such vital information. She simply wrote it down and dismissively told me the number while promptly returning to her perch behind the desk. I'd have thought at the minimum she could have asked how he felt, offered more water, taken his pulse, checked on him, anything, but no. Because of the general lax of the nurses, I would recommend that any sick person drives a bit further to go elsewhere for better care. Having said that, the doctors were completely professional. It was clear that they liked their job. Every one of them very helpfully explained all aspects of my son's condition when I asked for details. For their help, I am grateful. However, now that we're back home, and we had a promise of a follow-up telephone call this morning to report on the results of further tests, it would have been great if they'd actually called me! I am left to assume all was ok.

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Response from The Whittington Hospital

I am so sorry that you and your son had such a poor experience. I was particularly concerned to hear your feedback about the Critical Care Unit (CCU). This is not the sort of feedback we usually receive about this department and I am confident that the matron in charge would be very upset to know what had occurred. I would be grateful if you could contact me to confirm whether your son attended the adult or paediatric CCU as then I can pass on your concerns to the correct department for investigation and learning. My number is 020 7288 5551 should you be willing to contact me. Thank you for taking the time to let us know your experience. Yours sincerely Cassie Williams Head of Patient Experience

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