"Ward 42: Lacking the basic care I feel I should have received. "

About: Tameside General Hospital / General medicine

(as the patient),

I was admitted to Ward 42 at the Tameside Hospital.

The treatment I received here was appalling. When I tried to walk, for example to go to the toilet, I was very unsteady on my feet but was refused any assistance. I persevered to get about on the ward by holding on to the walls and bed ends for support. On one occasion I missed the end of my bed and fell, I must have blacked out because I was facing the other way when I came round. I tried to get up, other patients told me to stay where I was until they got help. A Sister did help me up and got me back into bed. If the ward staff had been observant and given help I would not have fallen.

When a doctor did her rounds she seemed to think everything was OK and that there nothing wrong with me, although after the fall my foot was painful. When I received a visitor they noticed I was in pain and arranged for me have an X-ray to check my foot. When the result came back to the ward the doctor said the X-ray was clear, my bloods were fine, nothing wrong with me and walked off. No pain relief was offered, no care was shown or given.

When I did ask for pain killers the nurse said she would get some for me. I waited 20 minutes and asked again. Waited for another 30 minutes at which point I was told I had to wait until she did the medicine round, even then she made sure I was the last patient to be seen, taking her time to give medicines and chat to other patients.

I remained on the ward for a few days, being a Coeliac sufferer and very sensitive to gluten I kept to the same meals – keeping some of the rice to have with sugar for a desert.

One patient also overheard an exchange between me and the nurse who did not think I should be leaning on her – this was when I was in the toilet and had to call for help as I could not put weight on my foot. She also made it clear that there was nothing wrong with me, if I could not put weight on my foot I should hop. The patient overheard this and kept telling other patients that I was attention seeking.

I spoke to the nurses about the way in which this patient was treating me, one of them said she would speak to her. After she had done so she came back to me to tell me that the patient had denied this behaviour. The one creating the problems also told me I was keeping her awake at night – the pain got so bad that I had to have a cry at night – my quiet sobbing was disturbing her. I told her she would have a good night’s sleep that night as I would stay in the day-room overnight. One of the night nurses found me there at 4.00 in the morning and took me back to bed.

I was eventually allowed to use a walking frame to help me get about on the ward. Several times I asked for physiotherapy for my foot. When the physiotherapist came they looked at how I was managing with the walking frame and left it at that.

I did get good treatment from a couple of auxiliaries who helped me with having a couple of baths – they could see that my foot was painful and concerned when it made me wince when they were drying my foot. I told them not to worry, to dry my foot as quickly as possible.

After a few days I was discharged from Ward 42 even though my foot was not treated.

After a couple of weeks at home because of continuing problems with my foot my GP prescribed an anti-inflammatory medication. I had a severe reaction to this and needed to call an ambulance which took me into A&E. I was kept waiting in A&E on a chair, with pain and heavy abdominal pain, from 4. 00 pm to early the following morning when I was sent home. However, the reaction to the anti-inflammatory medication caused bleeding so I had to return to A&E – this time I was in a cubical with a bed. I was not given any padding to absorb the bleeding, I used paper towels. From A&E I was moved to an observation ward. Here I was left in the waiting room with only seats to lie on for ages before being transferred to the Women’s Health Unit.

On the Women’s Health Unit I was told I would not be discharged until I had a bowel movement without blood. Whilst there nobody asked about this or checked.

Whilst on this ward I somehow had food with gluten which upset my digestion and made me sick. The heavy bleeding had weakened me and vomiting was making me weaker. None of the nurses helped – a Polish patient on the ward was the only one who tried to help and gave comfort. When I needed the toilet I asked for a commode as I was feeling so weak – the Sister stopped a nurse from giving me a commode.

When a doctor came to see me I was told I was on the wrong ward, the ward was for gynaecological problems and as I was no longer bleeding I should go home. No one seemed concerned about how I was feeling after the gluten intake or about the bowel motion. The Sister had very little understanding about the effect of gluten and how long it can affect a Coeliac sufferer to recover– she just kept saying the gluten was out of my system and I was fine.

Ward staff prepared to discharge me, one nurse did arrange for me to use a commode during the night but in the morning I was made to use the toilet. Arrangements were made for transport home at 7: 00pm. I was feeling unwell and cold – the Sister thrust a thermometer into my ear, informed me my temperature was 35. 5 – a good temperature and nothing was wrong with me.

To try and make a point about how poorly I felt I got down onto the floor – this generated some action although not to find out why I felt so unwell.

Problems occurred with my transport so I was moved off the ward to Ward 3 to wait for an ambulance to take me home the following morning. The Sister on the ward asked If I wanted to lie on a bed - I crawled onto the bed she offered, I was so weak. After a while I did feel better at which point the Sister asked if I’d like to change into my night clothes so that I would be more comfortable. On this ward I did get the level of treatment I expected – the night sister kept checks on me made sure I was alright.

I am now at home but am housebound. Before I was admitted to hospital I was fit and active, regularly doing voluntary work at a charity shop and going to the leisure centre. I now find it very difficult to walk and although I have had some aids fitted to help, the quality of my life has deteriorated. My GP has offered me physiotherapy but I would need to get to the hospital under my own steam – this adds to the expense.

Overall, my stays in the hospital were very disappointing, lacking the basic care I feel I should have received.

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Response from John Goodenough, Director of Nursing, Tameside Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Thank you for taking the time to provide us with a detailed account of your experience.

I would urge you to contact the Trusts PALS and complaints team on 0161 922 6025 in order that we can fully investigate your concerns.

Kind regards

John Goodenough

Director of Nursing

“Would you like to help the hospital to improve its services further? We are currently looking for patients and carers to become involved in a development called “Patient Stories”. We want to know more about our services from the point of view of those who received them – what was good, bad, what could be improved, what should be changed. Want to know more about what’s involved? Please contact John Goodenough, Director of Nursing at


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