"Urogynaecology day surgery. Steel yourself."

About: St Mary's Hospital (London)

I recently attended day surgery at St Mary's Urogynaecology ward, on the 4th floor of the Mary Stanford building.

My husband had day surgery a couple of years ago at St Mary's Paterson building.

He met with his doctor before the surgery and it was explained to him.

In the recovery ward, there were curtains around each bed to give patients privacy. I had expected my experience in Urogynaecology would be similar to my husband's experience.

I arrived at Urogynaecology reception and was directed to the ward. The door to the ward area was locked, so I knocked on the window. A nurse opened the door and told me I should have rung the bell. I apologised and explained that I had not seen it. Their manner was so bullying that I was almost in tears.

On entering the ward, I could see several women who appeared to be recovering from surgery and were either unconscious or semi-conscious. Their beds were lined up, side by side, with no space between them. They were given no privacy.

A nurse asked me in a brusque manner, “Can I help you. Are you alright?”

I said I was not and asked if I could speak to my doctor. I was told my doctor was in surgery for the next two hours and that if I wanted to speak to them I would lose my time slot for surgery.

I said I wanted to speak to my husband, who was luckily still in reception. I assumed I had missed my time slot and spent the 40 minutes or so crying on his shoulder.

I was informed that the doctor would speak with me. I told the doctor the last time I had surgery was when I was 10 and that, because of a bleeding disorder, I had nearly died. I tried to explain that all I had wanted was reassurance. The doctor cut me off and said I did not have to repeat what I had said in the ward, they had been on a computer nearby and had heard me. I asked why I had been informed they were in surgery for two hours, when they had been on the ward.

I told the doctor I was no longer confident about having the surgery. They went on the computer straight away, writing to my doctor. They said I could not have surgery at St Mary's now and I would have to find another hospital. They also said that I came across as very aggressive. My husband said “No, my wife comes across as very frightened”.

I am being investigated for the possibility of cancer. I am sure the registrar I spoke to is a competent doctor. Based on my experience, however, I believe they are not willing to give the time it takes to listen to patients. Surely being able to reassure a patient before surgery is an important part of being a good doctor.

I think Urogynaecology's main concern is their timetable for getting x amount of patients in and out of the ward as quickly as possible. In order to do this, patients are given as little information as possible, they are prepped on arrival at the ward and taken straight into surgery. I believe this is unacceptable.

The one star I have given is for the nurse I spoke to. As I left, they seemed very concerned and I appreciated this. Thank you.

Story from NHS Choices

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Responses

Response from St Mary's Hospital

Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust is very concerned about your posting on NHS Choices.

Please accept the Trust apologies for your bad experience in the day surgery unit at St Mary's hospital which lead to you being very upset and not wanting to have the procedure.

Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) would like the opportunity to discuss your concerns further.

Please call PALS on 0203 313 0088 or email pals@imperial.nhs.uk

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