"Great surgical and clinical team let down by ward..."

About: University College Hospital

I have undergone surgery at UCLH 3 times. Once was an outpatient and the other two times I stayed on a ward to recover. I cannot fault the surgical staff, consultants etc. However the ward (level 6) was dreadful. Too noisy, ear plugs are provided and understandably so. Discussions with staff are not confidential, other patients caring out bodily functions exposed for all to see and the food is absolutely diabolical. The toilets are not cleaned regularly, on numerous occasions I walked out of a toilet to find another because of the mess that was left behind by a previous user. The nursing staff are hugely variable, some are fantastic and incredibly committed regardless of the the hours they work, others are disinterested and not emphatic , included one who arrived late, missed the handover, forgot to administer my antibiotics and seems generally lost. The wards are open with curtains for privacy (as most hospitals) but the curtains were left open most of the time with views that left nothing to the imagination. Conversations cannot be private because of the close proximity of the beds. The noise at night is unbearable, staff talking, attending other patients, patients being sick from the anesthetic and patients snoring very loudly. It is not an environment conducive with a restful recovery. The food is dreadful, provided by a contractor (Interserve) who are also responsible for cleaning (see comment above about the toilets). I do not expect fine dining but the menu appears to consist of solid home cooked style meals but they are in fact sloppy horrible muck, that often was inedible. The fish and chips in particular was appalling. The breakfast toast was more like singed floppy bread than toast. After being there for 3 days I couldn't face the meals anymore and got my wife to bring up food from outside. I appreciate that some of these issues are fundamental design faults with the layout of the wards and most likely a result of funding issues but I felt like I has in a Victorian hospital not one that was built less than 10 years ago. Surely we have moved on since then. In relation to the food, this needs to be address, many people will just put up with it but it is really poor. I admire the majority of the staff but a few let the facility down. Again I understand it is a difficult job and the dedication and commitment of most of the nurses is admirable. In fact it was obvious with those that carried authority that they knew what they were doing and were in control. However, there are a few that are just making up the numbers who really should not be there or have any responsibility for the care of the patients. In a number of instances the care assistants performed better and were more empathetic than the nursing staff. I was reluctant to write this review because ultimately I have recovered from the procedures and undoubtedly the work I had done saved my life but I really feel that a 21st century hospital should be better than this.

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Response from University College Hospital

Thank you for taking the time to feed back to us. We're so pleased you were happy with the clinical care you received from the Urology team at UCLH, however we are very sorry to hear about your recent experiences of the ward environment and some of the nursing care during your admission. We would be grateful if you could contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) via pals@uclh.nhs.uk or by calling 020 3447 3042 so that we can look into this.

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