"I presented myself at the Countess ..."

About: Countess Of Chester Hospital

(as the patient),

What I liked

I presented myself at the Countess A & E with day-long chest pains on Tuesday November 24th at 11 o’clock at night. Because of the symptoms I was seen within 15 mins and I cannot speak too highly of the efficiency and skill of the staff. From the first contact nurse (who expertly inserted a cannula into my arm, attached leads and did an ECG), to the on-duty doctor who administered pain relief and the senior doctor who diagnosed pericarditis (inflammation and infection of the pericardium which surrounds the heart) as my problem from my description of the symptoms took no more than two hours. I am in total admiration for their skill, speed and courteousness during that stressful time. I was kept informed and included in all the discussions that took place during the evening. The doctor who diagnosed my problem was very formal and straightforward with me but most of all displayed an efficiency and skill that inspired my confidence in the whole team. I could not be more grateful to her and the rest of the team on duty that night. My admiration continued as I was admitted and taken to the Coronary Care Unit about half an hour later. The staff on the ward were just as efficient, caring and skilful. The next day I was given a series of tests – three or four ECG’s, a chest X-ray, and a sonic scan. All the tests confirmed that I had pericarditis but that my heart was basically strong although my blood pressure was abnormally high. During the two days of my stay in the Coronary Care Unit my treatment was exemplary. The two nurses who were my special carers were superb in every way, treating me with deference and respect and even though they were continually on the go and probably had as much to do (including report writing and other paper-work) as any other nurse in the hospital, nothing seemed too much trouble for them. I will always be grateful to Laura and Rachael for their energy and attention.

What could be improved

After two days when my condition had begun to settle, though the pain in my chest if left untended could still be vicious, I was moved to the General Ward next door. This was somewhat of a different kettle of fish. I was quite shocked by the amount of noise in the ward – the Coronary Care Unit was always quiet and peaceful – and I wasn’t able to sleep very well during the first night and we were woken at 6.30 am (8.00am in Coronary Care). However the nurses were just as competent and it was at this time that I was told that I would be discharged later in the day. My stay in hospital did not go totally without a hitch (my discharge documents were sent to the wrong GP for one thing, and being sent home without a full complement of medication for another).

Anything else?

Cleanliness didn’t seem to be open to question. A person was employed to keep the place clean continually and this is what she did……. Disinfecting floors and touchable surfaces at every stage during the day. The way all staff in contact with patients washed their hands at every opportunity convinced me that cleanliness was taken very seriously.

It seems to me that everyone who has to make an enforced stay in hospital feels that their case is unique and the most important thing in the world, and of course to them it is, and when things may go wrong they take the slightest opportunity moan and make negative comments. However although my stay in hospital did not go totally without a hitch (see above), my overall impression was that the ward staff of doctors, nurses, auxiliaries and even trainees and students are doing a very difficult job to the best of their ability and that at this hospital their ability maintains an exceptionally high standard. On one occasion my heart went out to one of my care nurses who went out of her way to spend extra time with a very elderly lady in what seemed to be the early stages of dementia and who was frightened by her hospitalisation. I will always be indebted to them for my treatment during the week of trauma and would have no hesitation in recommending this place to anyone.

Story from NHS Choices

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