"Over worked staff and poor communication"

About: Watford General Hospital

While I make no judgement about the staff who, when you can get time with them, were hard working, professional and did their utmost, the standard of care I received in May 2014 was very poor. Having arrived at AAU at around 7pm for assessment, I was told I would need a CT scan. At 1am my wife and I asked what was going on to be told I'd not be seen until the next day, and that I was in for the night. I slept in my clothes. The following day returning from my scan I was informed that I was being transferred from a general ward to the stroke unit by a porter; I was left to extrapolate what that meant for me as I was lead out of the ward. When speaking to the doctor to try and understand why my stroke had happened it emerged that I had been given an incomplete set of diagnostic scans. Having waited a further 3 weeks I then got the full set of scans which were then written up incorrectly, contradicting the diagnosis which I had been told was most likely. I was unable to contact anyone who could explain those scans and I had to wait a further 6 weeks to be given an appointment and thus a conclusive assessment on the cause of my stroke - despite the doctors presumably having this information weeks before. So from assessment to diagnosis of the cause of my stroke I spent approximately 2 months in the dark, despite my doctors having all the diagnostic information they needed after about 3 weeks. I was given nothing in the way of aftercare other than a course of anti-platelets and any physio, visual & cognitive assessments etc to try and understand what's been going on I have had to push for and organise myself. This has caused me considerable anxiety. Getting through to anyone seems next to impossible. Most recently my GP (who has been terrific) referred me back to the neurology department on 20th Jan as I am still struggling with some of the after affects - as I write that is now 1 month ago and I have heard nothing. I have tried to call several times today but the phone just rings, so it does not seem things have improved. While I caveat all this with the fact that the nurses and doctors, when I have seen them, have been excellent; mistakes and lack of comms seem to be the norm and the whole service smacks of underinvestment, understaffing and long waiting times - sadly, if anyone I knew were ill I would recommend they go elsewhere if they could or fork out for private treatment as it seems to me the hospital is operating on a triage basis purely to keep running. I don't think it's the fault of the staff, I think they are being let down by chronic under resourcing.

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