"Acute surgery ward stay - May 2013"

About: St James's University Hospital

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During my 3-day stay staff were very friendly and professional and clearly did their best under a crippling workload. However there were some unacceptable and very worrying elements of my care: Firstly, virtually nothing could be done or agreed on without a doctor present, and the scarcity of doctors was appalling. I saw one once a day, but nobody could say when it would be or who it would be. When I did get to see a doctor in the evening of my second day, he promised a blood test the next morning. If this was clear I was told I would be able to go home. It later transpired that this request was not written up formally, and so nobody was instructed to do the blood test. The next day, nobody came to take the sample until I and family members had asked repeatedly. At 4pm, we had to flag down a passing doctor who agreed to take the test. I am very confused as to why a nurse could not have done this. A four hour wait then ensued for the results to be obtained. The blood test was clear and I was allowed home. Had this been done when promised in the morning, this hospital would have had a much needed bed space for the whole of that day, instead of keeping me there. The ratio between doctors and nurses is completely out of balance and the nurses cannot do anything or take virtually any decision at all without their say so. This simply must be addressed to get things moving quicker and more efficiently. Secondly, although I was nil by mouth throughout my three day stay, this was never written on the board at the end of my bed, nor was my name written on the name card above my bed, leading me to be frequently called the wrong name by staff. This may be a small matter, but it is crucial that the NHS strive to be a caring and professional organisation and this type of error is very easy to rectify with common sense and a more professional attitude. Thirdly, I only learned that I could begin eating and drinking again some eight hours after the decision had been made. No doctors around to communicate it; no information passed onto the patient. It is absolutely vital that this lack of communication is improved; eating and drinking is key to patient morale and recovery. It was clear that each individual staff member I saw was roughly aware of my situation, but that no communication between them happened - so my situation had to be explained anew each time someone saw me. This is surely not the best way to run treatment services. I saw numerous other small issues with the care of others which do add to up to large, significant failings; people being made to wait eight hours for their medicine, people being called the wrong name, wheeled to the wrong ward or being given menus when nil by mouth. Overall I was given adequate care but the time it took to come, the uneccsarily long stay and the frightening wait for information was unacceptable.

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Response from Patient Experience Team, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

Dear Anonymous

Thank you for your feedback regarding your stay on an acute surgery ward at St James's Hospital. We apologise for the delay in acknowledging your comments and would like to confirm that your feedback has been passed on to the appropriate Service Manager.

Thank you once again for taking the time to post your comments.

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