"For the last few days of my mother's ..."

About: Royal Free Hospital

(as a relative),

What I liked

For the last few days of my mother's life, the care in the oncological ward (nurses and doctors we dealt with) was quite good.

What could be improved

Basic communication between members of staff and departments within the hospital.

My mother had two stays there (first one was for 5 weeks, the 2nd for two and a half).

Here is the account of some of the most notable failings:

Firstly, there was a mix-up between departments treating my mum so that her condition wasn't even examined for nearly a week. Then her scans were repeatedly cancelled (understandable with emergencies), but this was always at the last minute and after my mum in her sick and underweight state (she had cancer) was forced to fast for the best part of a day. The test results for one of the scans were lost between departments, causing more delays. Finally, she was scheduled for a scan one day, and the staff in error gave her food, so that it was cancelled again.

Anything else?

Given my mum's condition and the inevitable end result there was little hope of her stay at the Royal Free Hosiptal being anything other than an awful experience, but what went on there made things worse, and I have to say I am surprised this hospital has a positive reputation as this certainly wasn't my (or my mother's) experience.

Story from NHS Choices

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Response from Royal Free Hospital

We would like to apologise for the difficulties you experienced when your mother was at the Royal Free and have passed your comments onto the relevant wards and departments. You might like to discuss this with 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 Email:pals@royalfree.nhs.uk Opening times: Monday to Friday 9am - 4.30pm, except Wednesdays 10am - 4.30pm.

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