"I received no help with my problems"

About: Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust / Adult mental health

(as the patient),

I was admitted to the Norbury Ward at Stepping Hill Hospital in April. I was admitted due to being unaware of the dangerous effects of suddenly stopping a high dose of diazepam. I also suffer from mental health issues. The difficulties I experienced during my stay in hospital were vast.

I found the kitchen dirty and often lacked in supplies of milk. The toilets I used were filthy and often had cigarette stubs in them and rarely had toilet paper, paper towels and soap. This is no disrespect to the ward cleaner who constantly worked hard but the scale of the job was obviously too large for her alone. I found that some of the staff had very curt attitudes. I found there was complete chaos without the leadership of a particular doctor. It seemed as if the qualified nurses spent a high proportion of their time in their office, which made it difficult for patients to get the chance to discuss their problems with them and engage in therapeutic communication. If “paperwork” is the excuse I would not accept this and consider it a waste of a trained nurse’s salary- processes and systems need urgent review. I found it was virtually impossible to ever get to speak with a qualified nurse and even when they promised to come ASAP they rarely did, destroying confidence in any nurse/patient relationship.

No care plan seemed evident as I was not informed of any plan of treatment or what my role and the nurse’s role would be in this. (I really don’t think that any plan existed but if it did I would like to see a copy). I went into hospital as a voluntary patient as I was very ill not having slept for 3-4 weeks. I had confidence that I would be helped but feel as though I was just contained and given drugs. I feel very disappointed and let down by the ward. I was admitted one year ago and there seems to have been a dramatic deterioration in standards of care. I was upset at the lack of care and attention for other dependent patients too.

I feel that I received no help with my problems except from one staff nurse who took the time to talk with me about my problems and showed a genuinely caring attitude. I saw no evidence that any of the staff had any knowledge of sleep difficulties and their management. For example, a night staff nurse was dangerously unaware that I was on a high dose of diazepam and wanted to dismiss me without it. He seemed to have absolutely no knowledge of the dangers of sudden cessation of diazepam (i.e. fits). During discussions with him I requested to speak to the night nurse manager whom he at first denied existed and later absolutely refused to contact for me. I feel he is an unsafe nurse and acted unprofessionally and I am considering reporting him to the NMC. I did by chance meet the nurse manager in the early hours of the morning and she said that she would instigate some retraining with him. If this has occurred, I would like to be informed of its progress.

I was left lying in my bed for most of the 24hour period with barely any interaction with staff, no guidance on how to improve my situation etc. The bed was left unmade for days at a time as I was too depressed, demoralized and weak to make it. No one even seemed to notice and there were certainly no offers of help.

I was quite fit when I entered the hospital; I was able to swim 70 lengths several times a week and spend 1.5 hours at the local gym and did lots of walking. There is nowhere on the ward to exercise and at times I became very agitated and would recourse to involuntary “pacing” for which I felt like I was being chastised. As previously mentioned I as a voluntary patient and yet on occasions when I requested to leave the ward this was refused. I therefore consider (backed by my MIND advocate) that I was illegally detained on the ward and will be taking further advice on this

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