"The NHS at its near-worst"

About: Nuffield Health, Hereford Hospital

Not all the ghastly experience I suffered at this hospital was due to the hospital itself - much of it was down to the NHS itself and its degeneration into its current form. However the hospital itself is antiquated and unfit for purpose in that it is difficult to clean and keep clean. Modern innovations, such as televisions above each bed which are too expensive for patients to use and which are turned on remotely by an outside supplier in the small hours of the morning (yes, really!) and computer-controlled drips which sound an alarm if the patient so much as turns slightly, do nothing to alleviate underlying problems but rather add to the discomfort. Discomfort is key at the Hereford Hospital. The good principles of nursing care (rest and quiet, good drinking water, good food, fresh air, cleanliness) are not so much lacking as apparently actively discarded at this hospital. I was hospitalised in August at one of the hottest periods of the year. The mattresses and pillows are covered with plastic (not even breathable plastic), the wards are airless even with windows open (and one ward I spent time in had no windows at all, and no air-conditioning), the drinking water (doled out once a day) was warm and the only respite was portable fans which simply moved the warm air around - and provided yet another hazard with trailing wires). When I asked, in quiet desperation, for some ice I was told there were no facilities for ice. The noise on the wards is constant, with maddening bleeps from rather basic computers controlling drips etc. and various staff coming constantly up to patients' beds to take temperatures, blood pressure, blood, etc. etc. These are merely statistical measurements and, at best, only result in gross medication and not in any real assessment or care. If you have visitors, their visit is likely to be interrupted by one of these tests, without warning and sometimes even without apology, and your visitor has to go and cool their heels elsewhere while the precious visit time is wasted in yet another test. (I presume this is an NHS-wide problem and not down to this particular hospital or its staff - but I can't be sure.) The food is unspeakably bad, not only in taste but also in nutritional terms. If your diet is fast food and over-processed junk then you will find it a very slight step up nutritionally speaking; if you eat a decent diet then you will be appalled. The smell of the food was so bad that the first couple of times the food trolley came onto the ward I vomited, and so thereafter I had to absent myself from the ward twice a day when the trolley was due to appear. The lockers have little space for personal items and the space is difficult to reach from the bed. Consequently the wards are littered with patient belongings and cluttered. Due to the lack of fresh air, the smell is generally unpleasant. The parking charges are exorbitant, and the hospital shop also has high prices. If you can avoid this hospital, please do.

Story from NHS Choices

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Responses

Response from Hereford County Hospital

On behalf of the Wye Valley NHS Trust thank you for your comments. Please can you contact the Patient Experience Team, 01432 372986, in order that they can discuss your concerns. Patient Experience Team

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