" Experience of bowel problems at Sheffield Hospitals"

About: Northern General Hospital / Colorectal surgery

(as the patient),

I have had a long-term bowel disease for 10 years now and have had many hospital admissions. My last surgery was at the Northern General and it was a miserable experience. In my opinion the environment was hostile, and I overheard staff complaining about patients and other staff. I felt miserable and upset throughout my admission - not what you want when recovering from surgery. My ward was a dark, run-down building that is not where you want to be, as a patient. As a result I left before I should have, just because I was so miserable there.

And food, yes I know everyone complains, but compared to the Hallamshire Hospital the food that I had was shocking. The dietician explained to me that this is because it is cooked once the day before, then reheated in large ovens the next day. A basic understanding of chemistry can tell anyone that this means almost all of the nutrients are destroyed and makes it tasteless and inedible. Nutrition, for anyone, but particularly for elderly and bowel patients is very important.

By comparison, the Hallamshire has very good food with a decent variety of choice - as it is cooked on the premises, that day. I admit to enjoying it when I have been there.

When I need to have surgery again I will be exercising my patient choice and will not be an inpatient of the Northern General again.

I do not want to make this sound entirely negative as I have met some very, very good doctors and nursing staff and I appreciate they work long hours and suffer from tiredness and moods, just as I do. But when I am the patient, selfish as it may sound, I do not wish to have to think about their moods and tiredness and I don't believe anyone should have to.

I think it is very important to report bad experiences as there are simply staff that should not be working in a caring environment. Just as I believe it is equally important to praise staff for those acts, small as they may be, that have made your experience as a patient a positive one.

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Responses

Response from Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

We are always very concerned when any patient has cause to raise issues about the care they receive or the attitude and behavior of our staff and we are very sorry that your recent experience was poor. Our normal practice in these situations would be to meet with the patient and/or their friends and relatives to get a better understanding of the issues and events. Our experience is that if this is handled sensitively we can respond positively to most concerns. If you would like to take the opportunity to discuss things in more detail the Deputy Chief Nurse would be very pleased to meet with you. This would be helpful to us as the Deputy Chief Nurse is currently undertaking a piece of work to determine how we prioritise our ward upgrade programme (improvements to the ward environments) and your experiences may help in informing this work.