"The staff gained my deep respect"

About: Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh at Little France / General Medicine

(as the patient),

This is not intended to be an exhaustive account of my stay in RIE – hopefully the few recollections and comments will suffice to be indicative of my patient-experience over the month [and a day] of my stay. For the purposes of context – I was admitted at the end of June 2014 with a severe pulmonary infection [pneumonia and additional complications], anaemia and jaundice. I was in ITU for about 10 days and then under the care of the haematology team on the General Medicine ward.

Whilst awaiting admission from the assessment unit, I especially remember two of the medical staff – obviously senior – perhaps senior registrars – who approached me on my trolley and simply gave me a few encouraging comments about not having been forgotten. These were very simple and powerful acts of kindness and consideration. The two doctors know to whom I am referring, as I thanked them when I had the opportunity towards the end of my stay.

This sort of kindness and consideration was to characterise the attitude of the great majority of staff – in addition to patience, a willingness to explain and other indications that whilst usually very busy, the staff all had ‘time to me’.

ITU was a challenging experience. I was very short of breath and frequently would panic in consequence. Two nurses, Fran and Jan taught me a breathing technique to regain my breath – I hope that they remember how grateful I was. Another of the ITU staff – I think called Fiona – agreed an arrangement with me, whereby if I expressed a wish to do anything – e. g. to extend my involvement in personal hygiene, would always say that if that is what I want to do, then alright she would help me. Psychologically, this was very encouraging in relation to my small steps of improvement, as well as being of practical use.

Although my stay in the care of the haematology unit on on the General Medicine ward was a bit longer than other patients, it was encouraging to see admissions in the middle of the night of patients looking extremely ill, and seeing them a few days later, ‘patched up’ and being discharged.

As said, the ward staff were very busy, and I am aware of the amount of work that I caused them – some may remember me for the need for heated blood transfusions……. and I hope that I always said thank you – although I may not have always been one of the most cheerful patients – although the staff were. Kindness and patience was always in the context of professionalism [the highest accolade that I can award]. The staff therefore gained my deep respect – I hope that at least the majority of patients and relatives accord it to them.

And the call bell was always within reach…… and answered.

I was particularly aware of the level of team spirit and sense of camaraderie amongst the ward staff, and on a broader basis, the level of courtesy that all staff extended to each other and myself. How the old authoritarian and bureaucratic culture of the NHS has changed – at least in RIE.

My final comments refer to the quality of the food. I was in the hospital for a little more than a month. I am a vegetarian. There was always sufficient choice from the menus and a willingness to obtain something else not on the menu. The food was well prepared, hot, tasty, well presented and in sufficient portions. Again hospitals in the NHS in England are being extensively and comprehensively criticised for the quality of food served – never on a single occasion could such criticism have been directed at the food served to me in RIE.

I recognise that that health service operates under difficult circumstances – I was a diagnostic radiographer and I am still an OU tutor for NHS leadership courses in Scotland – and England. I would hope that all of the staff I am referring to realise that they are doing an effective job in an efficient and caring way – and that their efforts are appreciated. If these comments could be made known to all of the medical, nursing and catering staff referred to, I hope that it would provide some encouragement. I wish also that these comments to be noted by the appropriate senior Trust management staff.

I consider that I was very fortunate to be treated [and continue to be treated] in this hospital by these kind caring and professional staff.

PS I did send these comments initially to the hospital but disappointingly received neither any response [or acknowledgement]. I only yesterday became aware of this web-site.

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Responses

Response from Customer Relations and Feedback Team, NHS Lothian

Dear aw1

Thank you very much for taking the time to provide these very positive comments. I will pass your comments to the relevant staff and departments.

I am sorry that you did not receive a response when you wrote to the hospital; however, if you find yourself in the position that you would again like to feed comments back to any staff within NHS Lothian please write to the Customer Relations and Feedback Team, Waverley Gate, 2 Waterloo Place, Edinburgh, EH1 3EG or craft@nhslothian.scot.nhs.uk. We will acknowledge your letter and ensure that your feedback is forwarded to the relevant people/departments. However, I do hope you have made a full recovery and therefore will not find yourself in this position.

Once again thank you for providing the feedback.

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