"Unfortunately we can't think ..."

About: Pilgrim Hospital

(as a relative),

What I liked

Unfortunately we can't think of anything positive about my dad's recent experience on Ward 6A.

What could be improved

1. Staff/patient communciation. My dad had numerous concerns about his welfare but all the staff (apart from one who was helpful and actually produced results) took note but then DIDN'T COME BACK! In the end my mum had to request an audience with the consultant to get answers to my dad's queries about his suspected stroke. Thankfully this appointment was informative.

2. Staff/patient ratio. Dad said there were only 2 staff to 27 patients which had an obvious impact on attention to detail and patient care.

3. Lack of attention to detail. One night the patient opposite my dad unfortunately died. The staff had neglected to draw the curtains across the main ward window thus rendering the window a mirror in the blackness of the night, so my dad saw everything that happened with the tall-sided trolley that came to take the dead person away to the morgue.

5. Estates Department. Also on the subject of lack of attention to detail was that there was NO LIGHTBULB in the gents toilet so everyone had to use the ladies toilet. Nor was there a working lightbulb in ANY of the bed lamps in my dad's 4-bedded ward. This situation did not change in all the time my dad was an in-patient (5 days). I brought this to the attention of the staff on the nurses station but they had to report it to the Estates Department (this was after I finally actually found a nurse on the nurses station, and also when they actually found the Estates book to report it in! Amazing! Why on earth can't the Estates Department have a system to regularly check such a small but highly important item such as working lightbulbs.

3. CLEANLINESS. Ward 6A was NOT CLEAN. There was a dried urine stain next to my dad's bed that the staff reluctantly cleaned up with a mop and bucket after my brother brought it to their attention at visiting time. Dad said the ward was not CLEANED for 3 days during his stay and was actually CLOSED on the day my dad was discharged due to a stomach bug, which he had by then caught.

Anything else?

Ward cleanliness (or lack of) has the be a main cause for concern. Although visitors are urged to wash their hands/use the antibacterial gel on entry to the ward (which we always did) the ward itself was still DIRTY! My dad went home feeling more poorly than when he went in and has no confidence in the place if he has to ever be readmitted.

Staff uniform. It is just not clear who does what. The nurses uniforms are not easily identifiable. We expected we might find some posters on the ward corridor to explain the differences in role but there was nothing, and of course there was no-one available to ask!

Pilgrim Hospital used to be the flag-ship of the fens and I actually used to be a proud medical secretary working for a team of consultants there a number of years ago, but now, sadly, an awful lot of people are saying they have no confidence in the hospital and would avoid going there at all costs if possible. It is basic things that are bringing this hospital down - namely LACK OF CLEANLINESS, LACK OF ATTENTION TO DETAIL AND LACK OF STAFF.

Story from NHS Choices

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