"NHS at its best"
About: William Harvey Hospital William Harvey Hospital Ashford TN24 0LZ
Posted by Wendy Toms
At a time when all we seem to hear are criticisms of sections of the NHS, let us remember that the NHS, at its best, is superb and we are so lucky to have it. I recently had a total hip replacement at William Harvey Hospital, Ashford, Kent, and cannot speak too highly of the care that I received there. Before the operation, I and other patients having hip operations, were required to attend what the hospital called a Joint School, where we were told clearly and in detail what would happen during our operation (staff even passed round an example of the metal and ceramic prosthesis that would be fitted) and what we must and must not do afterwards. In particular, we were warned not to bend our operated legs at more than 90 degrees ,and never to bend from the waist to pick up things dropped on the floor, for fear of dislocating the artificial hip, until the inner tissues had healed... Staff asked us to measure the height of the seat of our lavatories, favourite armchair and bed from the floor and a technician was sent very soon afterwards to raise the height of my bed and chair so that when I sat on them, my operated leg would be at the required right angle. Another technician installed raised lavatory seats and frames and I was lent a high chair to use in the kitchen.. Later the hospital lent me a trolley, so that I could carry food from my refrigerator and freezer to the microwave at the other end of my 15 ft long kitchen, and a commode on wheels. Because my son was worried about how he could get me safely up my ancient footpaths on crutches after my discharge from hospital, the senior occupational therapist at the hospital kindly came out in person, inspected the paths and ruled that they were much too dangerous for me to use on crutches and that it would also be impossible to wheel me up them in a wheelchair. He told the hospital that I must be brought home by ambulance and be carried into the house by the ambulance crew in a special carrying chair. I was terrified before my operation, never having had major surgery before, but the anaesthetist and his assistant calmed me and the operation took half an hour - exactly what I had been told that it would take. Afterwards, a nurse monitored my heart rate, blood pressure,,lungs and temperature for an hour , with the aid of one of the amazing machines with which hospitals are equipped these days, until I was considered well enough to be wheeled into my ward. Soon afterwards, I was served salmon with dill sauce - my choice from a menu that would have done justice to a four-star restaurant! The care that I received during my week in hospital., from everyone from surgeons to porters, was wonderful and I had physiotherapy to help me to walk. Before I was discharged, I was told by the surgical sister to ring her if I had any worries or queries, which I later did.and she was very helpful. Words cannot express my gratitude to our wonderful NHS..