"I would rather not be a patient here"

About: Western General Hospital / General Surgery

(as the patient),

I had a 3 day stay in ward 56 following a TURP and to be honest yet again I feel the Western General has been found wanting. The ward was grossly understaffed and if you needed anything done then you had to be prepared to wait.

4 hours to get a drip moved from the pole attached to the bed to a mobile one which effectively restricted movement as the hose was rather short.

Over two hours to have the two needles in my hand looked at as there did not seem to be enough tape holding them in place and one had come completely free and was bleeding while the second was flapping around.

Three quarters of an hour for a stool sample to be removed from the toilet.

Even though the staff were warned that as I was unable to eat solid food I would need by Thursday evening meal and Friday breakfast bottles of Fortisip supplied, I had taken enough in for Wednesday and early Thursday. Friday came and there was no Fortisip.

I do not blame the staff per se as they were very short staffed with more high dependency patients. I understand it is hard when difficult circumstances warrant it. So the nursing staff would invariably forget those of us that had perhaps more minor needs.

The other thing I found particularly difficult is whilst on the ward you never seem to see the same doctor twice. Though I was impressed with the kindness and caring of the young doctors I did see.

My surgeon and anaesthetist were also exemplary. And this coming from a person who has had many difficult times with arrogant consultants in recent years who i feel see you as little more than a number on some government target list rather than an actual person.

The Western General has for me been a hospital I would rather not be an in patient.

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Response from Jeannette Morrison, Head of Patient Experience, NHS Lothian

Dear MrFraggle,

I was sorry to read of your experiences in the Western General Hospital, it sounds as though you had a difficult few days in the ward. I have passed on your feedback to the senior team at the Western General as l am sure they will be disappointed to read of your experiences. I was however pleased to hear your positive feedback regarding your surgeon and anaesthetist.

If you would like to discuss your recent hospital stay in more detail please do not hesitate to contact the Patient Experience Team who would be happy to help you (feedback@nhslothian.scot.nhs.uk or Tel 0131 536 3370)

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Update posted by MrFraggle (the patient)

The Patient Experience Team is a new one on me and exactly how would that help with gross understaffing I saw in the ward?

Next you will be telling me to contact the Patient Advice and Support Service (PASS) which is supposed to be an independent service which provides free, accessible and confidential advice and support to patients and their carers and families about NHS healthcare. But I believe is actually paid for by NHS Lothian and when I mentioned this to a PASS representative she went on the defensive and refused to 'help?' any further.

Or perhaps you might refer me to the Customer a Relations and Feedback team (CRaFT) but has not the latest independent report in it's first sentence almost, declared this department "Unfit for Service" in fact this was also declared some six years ago by the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman yet it seems to me no improvements have been made in this time?