"Felt like a parcel fed through a system"

About: Royal Free Hospital

I was admitted for surgery starting off in day surgery where I moved from room to room to see various people who asked the same questions and wrote the same answers in the same booklet. I was left to sit in a corridor until suddenly there was a rush to get me to theatre. Once in the anaesthetic room I was treated as a human being and not a parcel to be checked off at each stage. I felt as if I mattered. In recovery once I was awake there was a rush to get me to the ward. On the ward I was discussed as if I wasn't present and my personal details made known to the ward and my friends and family - all sense of confidentiality thrown away and ignored. Under the influence still of anaesthetic and strong analgesia a doctor I had never seen before asked me about medication I was taking and even though I had everything with me with dose etc. clearly on the label I found out once home that I had been given double the dose of one medication (number of tablets remaining). Is it safe to go through such an important part of care when the patient (parcel) is under the influence of anaesthesia and strong analgesia? The nursing care was excellent but it ran according to a timetable and check list leaving little time for the human being in the bed. You were a parcel being checked off at stages along a conveyor belt with the aim of discharging you according to the check list and not your ability. It seemed as if the clipboard ruled and you were made to feel very uncomfortable when in the middle of the ward the nurse was told to get 'these two out as we need the beds' and the nurse without questioning turned and told me to pack up and get ready to go home. I had yet to see a doctor, complete the checklist, have my dressing changed or to have post operative checks undertaken. This parcel had to go. I was ready to go and waiting to be collected when the process was stopped by another member of the team. The conveyor belt continues relentlessly whether you are ready to be discharged or not or there is an empty bed for the person undergoing surgery - length of stay and surgery cancellation stats must not be compromised. Efficiency is needed but at what cost? Loss of confidentiality, dignity, kindness, care? Remember we are human beings not parcels on your conveyor belt to be scanned from stage to stage.

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Response from Royal Free Hospital

We're really sorry to hear about your experience, if you could please email your details to rf.communications@nhs.net we can follow up on this with the department involved.

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