"The nursing care was exceptional"

About: Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital (Wonford) / General surgery

(as the patient),

I spent a total of 3 weeks on two wards at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital with another 3 weeks in the middle having surgery at another hospital. The nursing care I received on both Exe and Mere was exceptional. I always knew who was looking after me. I felt that my comfort and needs took priority over ward routine and I was rarely kept waiting to have any request dealt with. My medication was delivered on time and I was kept pain free. This really is nursing as it should be and the culture across these wards is brilliant. I can't thank you enough for this. The teamwork is fantastic across everyone, from the matron who happily dealt with my sick bowl to lovely Mandy the cleaner who gave me a hug when she caught me feeling low. Housekeeping are really part of the care team - please don't outsource them whatever you do! I also benefitted from a specialist nurse who plays a brilliant coordinating role and acts as a central source of information. It is very reassuring for the whole family to have this contact and he also spent time talking with one of my friends who was distressed about my illness.

There are improvements that could be made. Discharge and admission procedures in particular are inefficient. I arrived the first time at 6pm but was awoken at 2. 30am by the Dr who carried out the admission procedure and inserted a cannula. The second time I came in at 3pm to be admitted by the Dr waking me at 5am the next day and asking me lots of questions while I was half asleep. Discharges, including my own, were always delayed for many hours waiting for pharmacy with quite elderly people being discharged very late in the day as a result. There is clearly an issue here which the hospital must be aware of. The other issue for me was the difficulty while in a bay of being able to talk to a Dr with any privacy. They did meet my request some of the time but only by using a Drs mess room where there were interruptions.

I do recommend that anyone who like me might need occupational therapy aids on their return home asks to see an OT before leaving hospital. I was so pleased that I did this as the OT was able to prescribe perching stools, a commode and a back rest for the bed that my family could pick up locally and have in place for my return home. This made life so much easier and helped me retain more independence. I don't think the nursing staff would have suggested this themselves but they were happy to facilitate it when I asked.

Please feel reassured if you are to spend time in these wards that the care is second to none.

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Response from Peter Brain, Volunteer, Healthwatch Devon

Dear Hazel R

This comment and the response has been passed to us at Healthwatch.

This experience you describe was reassuring to you despite the circumstances.

The hospital will be encouraged by your comments and will take seriously all the comments you have made.


We are building a picture of the provision of services in Devon and these comments will help us to help the NHS develop and improve its services.

If you wish to discuss any health or social care issues with us in confidence, including receiving advice or information about services please call 0800 520 0640, or email info@healthwatchdevon.co.uk or go on-line to www.healthwatchdevon.co.uk.


Yours sincerely

Peter Brain


Healthwatch Devon is the consumer champion for Health and Social Care in Devon.

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Response from Rebecca McGuffog, Patient Engagement and Experience Officer, Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust

Dear HazelR

Thank you for taking the time to share your experience with us. Our Assistant Director of Nursing for Surgical Services has provided the following comments.

Thank you very much for the praise given in relation to the care you received whilst a patient on Exe and Mere wards; we will ensure those teams are made aware of your very kind words. It always our intention to ensure patients in our wards feel that they are being cared for as individuals with individual needs. Thank you also for pointing out where we fell short of your expectations, particularly around privacy during consultation with medical staff and the delays you encountered in relation to your discharge. As a Trust we do have a number of work streams underway looking at our discharge processes and are making every effort to create a more efficient system. Many thanks once again and may we wish you a pleasant festive season.

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Response from Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital (Wonford)

Thank you for taking the time to provide such positive feedback. I am delighted to hear that you are so happy with the care you received, and we will ensure the teams are made aware of this. Kind comments such as yours are always gratefully received. We have taken note of your comments regarding your admission and discharge and wish to assure you that we have changed the way our Surgical emergency admissions are reviewed to ensure more timely intervention. As a Trust, we have been reviewing how we discharge patients and the delays that occur. Whilst it is often the perception that pharmacy cause this delay, it is quite often the preceding steps which actually cause this. Therefore, your observations will act as helpful information and will assist us in our improvement work. I would like to thank you once again for taking the time to share your experience with us.