"too far from home"

About: Conquest Hospital

I was taken by ambulance from Eastbourne to the conquest due to Eastbourne dgh closing their surgical department, I was admitted and had to stay for 4 weeks as there were complications. being so far from home without much contact with my family made my stay very distressing however the staff, especially the nurses and HCA's, were amazing and very understanding of my sometimes moody outlook. The trust needs to think again about their redistribution of services as the mental anguish caused by being separated from loved ones cannot be good for patients. The new food distribution service which came into effect while I was a patient is ghastly. We started with a set menu which although wasn't fantastic was at least edible and included some fresh produce, it has now been changed to microwaved meals that are vile and have to be prepared by nursing staff and HCA's as if they didn't have enough to do already.

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Response from Conquest Hospital

Thank you for taking the time to provide feedback on your experience at East Sussex Healthcare Trust. We welcome all feedback and would like to assure you that all comments are taken seriously and acted upon as part of our ongoing commitment to improving patient experience. We’re interested to hear your view. May we take this opportunity to clarify that the Surgical Department at Eastbourne DGH has not closed. However, we have centralised emergency general surgery at the Conquest Hospital. The Trust has not taken this decision lightly, or in isolation. We developed a case for changing the service based on clinical evidence and the needs of our local population. We worked to support our local commissioners to undertake a full period of public consultation with our local community. Following this the commissioners made a decision that emergency and high risk general surgery should be centralised on the Conquest site as this would provide the safe and high quality care that we all want for local people. In making their decision the commissioners considered a number of factors including access for patients and relatives and although it was recognised that this could be more difficult it was agreed that the benefits in terms of improved care and increased sustainability that could be delivered by the proposed change balanced out this risk. The Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (HOSC) reviewed this decision and agreed that a proper consultation had taken place and that the decision was in the best interests of local people. The Trust has now implemented this decision and the centralisation of emergency surgery has improved access to senior clinical staff and has already resulted in improved outcomes for patients. We are keeping the impact on patients and their families and carers under review and where possible we will make adjustments to help. However the Trust, our commissioners and the HOSC are assured that these changes will benefit patients. We respect your view that being cared for at a distance away from home (and loved ones) can cause distress and we will continue to promote ways with which we can help ease this such as providing free bedside telephone calls. We are also looking into whether we can facilitate Skype through our touch screen feedback devices. We’re pleased to hear that the ward staff were “amazing and understanding” with you. With regard to your views on the new catering arrangements, we have been overwhelmed by the amount of extremely positive feedback we have received. Patients are enjoying an enhanced variety of menu choices. The food is heated using a unique cooking system called ‘steamplicity’ which steams food to perfection in around 4 minutes on the ward. We have received many compliments about the quality of the food including the increased variety of fresh vegetables. We respect however, that people’s likes and tastes are incredibly subjective so we do not always get it right for everyone. We’re sorry that the food was not to your individual liking on this occasion. Once again, thank you for your valuable feedback.

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