"Nursing care excellent. Communication poor."

About: Royal Blackburn Hospital

I have found myself admitted to ward C14 for a second time in as many months. The nursing care on this ward is second to none and I had no concerns about being back on the ward in terms of being cared for by the nurses. However, I have very strong concerns about the communication between departments and in particular doctors. This is appalling and needs addressing urgently. Amongst the egos of these doctors is the poor patient who really would like to experience some consistency, not to be told that procedures will happen on Thursday and then both happen on the same day (Tuesday). Clearly the doctors do not speak with the consultant when he is not present during ward round. I understand that junior doctors hours need to be protected but there are too many doctors saying different things and this is unhelpful to the patient who did not choose to be in there and merely wants to feel well again! Also visiting times are not closely monitored on this ward and this results in more then three visitors round a bed (9 on one occasion). Visitors come in before designated visiting hours and stay late without permission. This is inconsiderate on other poorly patients and needs addressing by management. Visitors also sit on the beds (until staff tell them otherwise). Another concerning fact is that I observed visitors (several) using the patients toilet. I did advise that a notice should be put on the door but this was not actioned. This is a cross infection risk and is again inconsiderate of the needs of the actual patients.

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Response from Royal Blackburn Hospital

Thank you for taking the time to provide us with feedback about your recent experience in the Trust. I am pleased that you felt the nursing care was second to none, but obviously concerned that you felt communication was lacking within the medical teams. The points that you raise have been the focus of discussion at our weekly Share to Care Meeting, which includes all grades of staff, both medical and nursing, and the contributing factors discussed in detail including lesson to be learnt. I would also like to raise your concerns directly with the Clinical Director for general surgery with a view to escalating to the Trust Education Lead to address the points raised regarding consistency with the junior doctors. Regarding your concerns re visiting the hospital policy states three visitors to a bed; however we make exceptions when there are poorly patients who need their loved ones present as much as possible, however the ward manager / co-ordinator will continue to monitor visiting times to ensure the policy is adhered to and will encourage staff to challenge visitors who do not adhere to the policy. I also appreciate the infection risk when visitors use the patient’s toilets; and sitting on beds, we are in the process of contacting the Infection Prevention Team re the possibility of displaying laminated signs to rectify this problem; we also encourage staff to challenge this unacceptable practice. We would like to investigate your particular case further, and would be appreciative if you could contact us directly to discuss further. Thank you once again for taking the time to raise these issues to our attention. It is only with feedback, both positive and negative, that we can continue to strive to improve the level of service we deliver. Pete Sagar Business Manager for General Surgery Hilary Wallbank Matron for Surgery

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