"The care and attitude of staff ..."

About: Royal Free Hospital

(as the patient),

What I liked

The care and attitude of staff was exceptional. In ward 5NA an unsung hero is a person in a uniform, a breath of fresh air every morning, remembering exactly what each patient likes for breakfast and making sure that difficulties were met in relation to difficulties with eating.They always organised the table so that you could reach everything necessary and ensured that everybody had what they need to be able to eat independently.

All staff seemed approachable and the few minor difficulties on the ward were addressed quickly, courteously and effectively.

What could be improved

Communication by letter was AWFUL. The first letter arrived after the appointment date. Other letters ommitted the number you had to phone.The letter to pre op screening sent me to the wrong place and I was over an hour finding the correct place and consequently late for the appointment. I learnt that the clinic had moved to the current place about a year ago but the letter hadn't been changed.

I was in hospital early in the new year and whilst the ward ran efficiently, the communications with outside agencies weren't so good, but this I'm sure is as much (or more) to do with outside agencies as the hospital.I had major difficulties getting an outside referral for physio and equipment being delivered to my house necessary after a hip replacement, this in fact delayed my discharge from hospital.

Anything else?

It appeared that patients were all told they would be admitted the night before surgery and had to phone and check that there was a bed.A member of staff in pre op assessmnt said this wouldn't happen. In reality nobody I met did actually come in the day before even though there were spare beds in the ward. It all seemed such a waste of time and effort and as a patient was quite stressful as it naturally made you worry that there might not be a bed on the scheduled surgery day either.It would have been so much easier for everyone justto say at the onset that admission is on the day ofsurgery. Again, people weren't given the correct instructions as to where to go when they arrived.

Personally I was happy to be at home the night before, but did find the shift to becoming a patient very hard. One minute I was reading the paper in my clothes in the day surgery unit and the next, de-robed and in a gown (with too few ties) walking myself to surgery. Waiting for surgery in the room outside the operating theatre for quite a long time without a pre med was absolutely the worst experience imaginable! Far too much information for me in what I could see, hear and smell when i was very nervous already, again this seemed unnecessary stress, which could so easily have been avoided.

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Response from Royal Free Hospital

Thank you for your kind comments about ward 5NA. We will be delighted to forward them to the ward staff.

However, we are sorry that you experienced difficulties with your appointments and the day surgery procedure.

You might like to contact our patient advice and liaison service (PALS) in one of the ways listed below:

Telephone: 020 7472 6446/6447; (020 7472 6445 - 24 hour answer phone)

Fax : 020 7472 6463

Minicom : 020 7472 6593


Opening times: Monday to Friday 9am - 4.30pm, except Wednesdays 10am - 4.30pm

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