"My odyssey in search of good care."

About: North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust Southport & Formby District General Hospital / Cardiology

(as the patient),

I was admitted by ambulance to A&E at Southport Hospital in March, due to a cardio problem and a serious infection. The A&E staff were truly excellent. I can't criticise them in any way. However, I was moved to a ward but was not told where I was going, what was happening or why. I got no information and trying to get any was like drawing blood from a stone! I was not allowed to see test results or the results of my echo; it was not "hospital policy".

I was allocated to a cardiologist, who I found to be insensitive and dictatorial in his attitude. Are the healing arts and bedside manner obsolete? I asked the senior nurse on my ward if I could speak to PALS, she phoned the PALS number but just got a recorded message about dental care! Useless! Someone from risk management and complaints appeared who later spoke to the consultant. It seemed as though the hospital just wanted to pacify an "awkward patient", not actually help me with this situation. Once spoken to, the consultant became more patronising. I asked for a second opinion but was told that to do that I must discharge myself (against medical advice). I was still on a course of antibiotics and still had no definite, accurate diagnosis - so I stayed.

The food, hygiene and nursing staff were all very good; it was the doctors, principally the consultant and his team who caused concern and anxiety. When I left I was told I needed to come back for an outpatient appointment within six weeks, but was not offered one until 3 months later! I was only seen sooner because I rang and harassed the consultant's secretary to get the appointment staff to speed things up - it was supposed to be "urgent"!

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