"A & E and orthopaedics: an experience to remember..."
About: East Surrey Hospital East Surrey Hospital Redhill RH1 5RH
I have recently been discharged after knee surgery. I was admitted via A & E to Leigh ward initially and then transferred to Brook ward. There were some positives in this experience: my treatment in A & E was efficient. Individually, staff - nurses, doctors and porters, and volunteers -in all areas, were friendly, kind and often efficient. Overall however, my experience was, sadly, a negative one for the following reasons: * my operation was cancelled 4 times, each time after a period of 'nil by mouth'. Whilst I understand and appreciate that emergencies, especially for the young and the very old, must take priority, it is both physically and emotionally draining to prepare yourself for surgery and then to have it cancelled repeatedly. *night times on Leigh ward were a nightmare. Whilst I do not expect a stay in hospital to be 'like a hotel', I think it is reasonable to expect that, in order to heal, a patient should be able to have some sleep. Even NHS-issued earplugs could not ensure that I or other patients slept. Our 6 bed ward had 3 dementia patients who either talked or shouted all night. I could only pity the poor souls who found themselves so disorientated and alone. Night staff sometimes talked loudly amongst themselves. Lights were left switched on. I could hear buzzers sounding and not being answered. This was not surprising, given that only 2 staff seemed to be on duty. * the ward had unacceptable levels of cleanliness. I pointed out a toilet that was filthy with diarrhoea. The physio with me apologised, but I had to use it anyway as no-one was available to clean it. The ward floor was never fully cleaned; only the middle section was mopped. Then, salvation! I was transferred to Brook ward, It seems I was better able to look after myself in a single room than someone who had just been admitted and needed more nursing and observation which could best be given on an open ward. Poor soul! In Redwood, the positive difference in hygiene, food and facilities was clear: this is a private /amenity ward. We already have a two tier NHS it seems. I was, however, incredibly grateful to be there. On one of the days I was promised surgery, a night nurse suggested breakfast at 5am. and duly brought it. To summarise. Either the ESH is grossly underfunded and/or its budget is mismanaged. It cannot meet everyday demand. Most staff (from all around the world) individually try their best to make difficult situations better, but understaffing and/or mismanagement mean that there are regrettable gaps. Elderly patients who can't look after themselves are sometimes fed and sometimes not. They are left in bed. No one person has responsibility; e.g. noone knew if one elderly lady had ever opened her bowels whilst she had been in hospital. She was only got out of bed on the one day that the geriatrician insisted. I felt unsafe even though I can speak for myself e.g.I was 'written up' for drugs contraindicated with my regular medication.