"Overall very good, but a couple of concerns for..."

About: The Royal Victoria Infirmary

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I was recently an inpatient at the RVI for a surgical procedure. Cleanliness and staff attitude were faultless, but I would like to flag-up a couple of issues I suggest nursing managers need to look at. I was reluctant to mention at the time as I did not want the actual people involved to become the sole target, as I believe, from woking in a very similar field myself, that the problems are undoubtedly part of the custom and culture of the clinical practice in those areas and one does not wish to start a witch-hunt, which would not really be productive in addressing the problem. My first concern was that when my pre-theatre bloods were taken, the blood sample bottles had been pre-labelled/written before the person came to me to take the blood. This included a sample for group and save which must be filled in at the bedside once the blood has been taken and never done in advance. The person taking my blood did not appear to understand this. My second concern was that when in recovery, I was given intravenous morphine, but that the syringe was not asked to be checked by another health care professional against my wrist label until after the morpine had been given. I do understand how sometimes these things can happen and have certainly seen similar practice elswhere, but perhaps a 'refresher' to the staff as to what should be the correct processes would be in order?

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Response from The Royal Victoria Infirmary

Thank you for taking the time to post your comments and very positive rating of your recent stay in the Royal Victoria Infirmary. Although you had a very good overall experience, we are very concerned to hear of the issues that you have raised regarding the taking of blood samples and the administration of your morphine in recovery. The Trust has strict policies in place regarding these issues which all staff should adhere to. With regard to blood samples, our usual practice is to take any necessary blood samples at pre-assessment for patients being admitted for surgery. Without details of when and where you stayed, it is very difficult to investigate the issues that you raised regarding the labelling of the blood samples. With regard to the administration of medication, the policy covers the prescribing of medication as well as the checking of the patient’s identification prior to administration. We will use your feedback as an opportunity to reinforce the importance of the policy with staff to ensure patient safety. We are very keen to investigate and understand your concerns. In order to do this, we would be grateful if you would contact Matron Rutherford, Surgical Services or Mr P Anderson, Patients Relations Manager on 0191 233 6161.

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