"Disappointing and let down again"

About: North Middlesex Hospital

Our latest experience demonstrates absolutely no improvement in the Hospital’s treatment of patients or their families despite countless assurances that were given to us at a meeting in May 2013 arranged by CEO’s office. We were still faced with rude nurses refusing to put us through to the care team in charge, reluctant to tell us how our mother was – and that was if they were bothered to answer and not just cut the phone off dead. At no point did the consultant in charge or the doctor assigned to the patient’s case discuss our mother’s condition with us, despite many requests for one of them to do so. We were only met with junior doctors who did not know the case and could not decide whether the patient had a chest infection or pneumonia and on release having told us that she definitely did not have pneumonia, the discharge papers clearly say that she did. All pages of the discharge papers were not given to us, nor were the changes in medication discussed with us. If any consideration was given to my mother’s underlying medical conditions this was neither apparent nor explained at anytime. When we first raised the issue of her swollen hands and legs, the doctor shrugged and said that he didn’t know anything about that – despite it causing considerable concern to the paramedics who first responded to my mother. The very least we would have expected was that fairly soon after her admission a nurse or doctor with detailed knowledge of her case would have explained what they thought was wrong with her and indicate what tests they were undertaking to confirm their initial diagnosis. This did not happen. We would have also expected a more detailed explanation before she was discharged of what had been done, how well she’s responded and what follow up care we should ensure is in place to make her transition back home comfortable. We would expect telephones to be answered, not cut off and for the person who answers the phone to be as polite and helpful as they can be, rather than abrupt, rude and defensive as they tend to be. And to cap it all, her discharge papers state that she was in hospital for just 48 hours and in fact she was there for eight days. So, does my mother have a chest infection or was it pneumonia? Were her extremities just swollen or is it really gout, or even sepsis; a word bandied around with regular monotony. We still don’t really know the answers (not that we didn't try to get them) to these questions and are left feeling that no consideration of her other underlying ailments have been taken fully into account, leaving us concerned for her future.

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Responses

Response from North Middlesex Hospital

Thanks very much for your comments. As the senior consultant managing your mum's care I'd like to reassure you that we all want the best for her and have been working hard to achieve that. One of my colleagues met with you in early January and discussed the issues you have since raised here. If you would like further reassurance on these points, please contact my secretary and we can arrange a meeting. Many thanks Dr Nick Rollitt.

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