"York District Hospital - mixed experience"

About: York Hospital / Respiratory medicine

(as the patient),

My next of kin was taken into York District Hospital at the end of last year after collapsing with lung failure of unknown origin. From a main ward, he went to High Dependency Unit for a spell (close to death) then back to a main chest ward. In 2 months of visiting him in this hospital, this is what became clear to me personally:

1. When a patient is moved from one ward/HDU to another, the medical and nursing staff so not seem to know much about them. Notes are not read and information not passed on. The white board where the name of the designated nurse should have been was never completed. My friend's name was never shown on the white boards either.

2. Many of the nursing staff were harried and somewhat defensive on the main wards I visited. They never acknowledged me, even though I came in every day. Many never looked up when I came to the desk to ask permission to go into the room. I feel many of them lacked the social skills to talk to people adequately. Some seemed to speak to the patients like they were small children. Some of them should not have been nurses at all in my opinion. In HDU, it was so different - the nursing staff were extremely professional, intelligent, communicative and totally on the ball.

3. Doctors and consultants were far more approachable and communicative than the nursing staff in the main wards I visited. In HDU, all the staff were excellent.

4. Cleanliness and personal care. In HDU - excellent. In the main wards, poor. there didn't seem to be staff checking often enough that the patient was eating and drinking (He couldn't feed himself). Some nurses seemed to expect the visitors to do this. Hygiene was often poor - sandwiches from the day before left out on the patient's table in a ward with 80 degree temperatures. A general feeling of neglect and one wondered if the nurses understood about hygiene. There was definitely a feeling of no-one being in charge on the ward. The uniform policy makes it impossible to tell what a member of staff's job actually is.

The staff at this hospital saved the patient's life so we are very very grateful for all their work. My advice is, as a visitor, be prepared to do some feeding and personal care, and ask questions - don't assume that they always know what they are doing. As a patient, make sure a reliable friend visits you to keep and eye out for you.

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Response from York Hospital

Thank you for your comments and we apologise for not responding at the time of posting. Please be assured that in future York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust will respond to all comments in a timely manner.

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