"ENT operation during a 'black alert'"

About: Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital

I was admitted via SDAU (Same Day Admissibs Unit) for an operation on my ear. I was seen by a HCA and a Nurse who were both very friendly and professional. I was then seen by an anaesthetist who was really kind. It was my first operation and they did all they could to put my mind at ease. I was worried about the cannula so the anaesthetist personally put numbing cream on my hands so I wouldn't feel it when I saw them later for my anaesthetic. Last up was my consultant and surgeon. Again they were lovely and did all they could to help alleviate my anxiety. Everybody I came into contact with on SDAU was lovely. When in anaesthetic and the 2 people from the team were very kind as I was put under. The next thing I was aware of was being in recovery. I had a lovely nurse. I didn't feel like anything was too much trouble. This nurse made me feel very safe and comfortable.

I was meant to be admitted to Earsham ward but the hospital was on black alert and there was a shortage of beds. Eventually I was admitted to DPU (Day Procedure Unit) which had been opened up to deal with the overspill of patients that night. Upon arrival I was put into a bay and reunited with my husband. Unfortunately we could hear all to well the conversation at the desk between 2 of the staff about flipping a coin to see who had to stay and who would get to go home. I understand their shift had ended about 15 minutes prior to my arrival and that they were waiting for agency staff, but I do not need to hear their unhappiness. There are surely more appropriate places for such a discussion.

That said, the nurse who took on my care was transferred from Dilham ward to DPU for the night and couldn't have been nicer. This nurse, along with 2 agency staff, were fantastic. Dry kind, attentive to my needs and happy. They worked very well together and developed a good rapport very quickly. You wouldn't have known they didn't normally work together - a credit to all 3 of them.

My bag was left on SDAU and it was difficult to get as the ward was shut and there were no staff to collect it for me. It had my personal things in which would have made me more comfortable sooner, but a member of staff managed to get it collected and taken to Dilham ward where my husband was able to get it from. This is something that should not happen, something so small as having your own things makes such a difference.

In the morning my discharge took just over an hour, which I found to be very excessive, especially given the bed shortage I thought it might have been processed quicker.

All in all I cannot fault the N&N. It was only a couple of minor things that happened to me. I am greatful that my operation went ahead as planned and that everybody involved in my care was so kind and competent.

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Response from Janice Bradfield, Senior Communications and Membership Manager, Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Thank you for telling us about your experience at our hospital. We are sorry that you were moved because the hospital was busy and for the late retrieval of your bag. Certainly the discharge process seems to have been very long and we will ensure that all your comments are passed to the team to see where we can improve.

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