"13 admission in as many months"

About: Wexham Park Hospital

(as the patient),

I have know this hospital all my life and seen many changers. Since New Years Eve 2014 I have been admitted 13 times. In this time I have seen many improvements in and around the hospital. This includes from ward organisations through to decorating throughout Wexham Park Hospital. I have experienced a change in staff attitudes and friendliness from all departments. The care from entering the ambulance to discharge on the ward has always been excellent, even if at times the wait to go from A&E to a ward was a long time, There are two or three things I do feel quite strongly about in my experience.

1....Yes the entrance to various places has been updated and looks very nice, personally I would have preferred to have had the money spent on more staff e. g. more nursing staff / Health care assistants on the wards. It should be remembered that some cases e. g. elderly need more time than the younger. The need for staff to help transport the elderly to the toilet or fetch commodes as required. To in some cases help the elderly to eat meals.

2..... The temperature of each area of the hospital. Some illnesses make you feel hot or cold so it is important to have facilities for these variation's. It is nice to keep the wards hot but why can there not be fans for those who are to hot, yes there are a couple here and there but not enough.

3..... The menu for the meals is far better than it use to be, however why is there very little traditional English foods. Also the variety is lovely if you are in for a week but spending as much time as I have a two week rotation of the meals would make it less monotonous.

With regard to the meals I did find that if I placed comments on the menu order sheet where possible the requests were noted and implemented. An example was asking for meat salads, eg ham, beef etc.

4...... The thing that is frustrating to myself and many other patients I have witnessed going home is the problem with the pharmacy. Why could the money spent on updating the entrance have not been used to expand the pharmacy department. I have in every discharge been sat until gone 9pm waiting for my medication to arrive in order to go home. I fully understand the pressure on this department and all the things they need to cover from wards, clinics, patients discharge and A&E.

Which brings me to the discharge lounge............ What is the point of this. It could be used as another ward. As I am a person who suffers from depression etc I need a place to class as mine as a safety net. Being moved from one department / ward to another is hard enough for my stress without being pushed out of a ward where I know the staff and doctors to somewhere just to wait to go home. If Pharmacy was sorted then a discharge lounge would not be needed, beds would not be blocked and everybody would be happier.

I have on one occasion been told I had to go and was reduced to tears, which is not normal for me, as it happened I did not go but only because staff realised how upset and stressed, increasing my blood pressure the effect had on me. I am not the only one who has voiced this, but many people will not say so.

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Response from Claire Marshall, Head of Patient Involvement, Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust

picture of Claire Marshall

Dear lhb

Thank you for taking the time to leave your feedback on your admissions to Wexham Park Hospital. I'm sorry that it has taken me longer than normal to respond to you. I'm pleased to read that you have been happy with the care you've received over the last 13 months. I'm just sorry that you've needed to be admitted so many times. I'll try and respond to your points in the order you've raised them in your review.

There are strict rules about how we spend our money in the NHS. Unfortunately we aren't able to move capital monies and use them to pay for extra staff. We also have a number of old buildings and we do need to make sure that we refurbish the buildings so they continue to provide a safe environment for both our patients and our staff. We have put in place a recruitment and retention strategy for staff including nurses. We are also looking at different ways to use volunteers to support patients and staff on the wards to improve the experience of our patients.

Temperatures in wards can vary and having the old buildings doesn't help with this. Where possible we have put in air conditioning such as in intensive care unit and the Christiansen Unit as part of new builds. We do have fans available and the staff are able to source additional ones from our Estates Department should they need to.

We have a carefully designed menu which we have put together in consultation with Dietitians, clinical teams and patient groups. We have tried to represent all of the local demographic and believe that we have done well, there are a large number of English dishes including fish and chips, liver and onions, roast chicken and so on. We always try to meet a patient’s needs, but I recognise that we haven't met your needs. If you are admitted again then please do contact the catering office through your ward host. We do not currently rotate the menu, but taking hot and cold options into account there are some 40 choices per day. Further to combat menu fatigue long stay patients (and I would immediately put you in this category) are offered the option of a lunch or supper choice from our restaurant menu each day. I apologise that you have previously been unaware of this.

There is a lot of work going on in the hospital to improve the experience of discharge, including trying to get patients home before lunch. Unfortunately the pharmacy team have to wait for the doctors to complete the prescriptions before they can dispense the medication. This often doesn't happen until the doctors have finished the complete ward round. We have been running a pilot on our Acute Medicine Unit using the pharmacists in a different way, and this has shown positive results in getting the medications back to the ward in the early afternoon. There are other factors that impact on the time of discharge too and we are working through them all to make improvements.

The discharge lounge function is to provide a safe and comfortable environment whilst waiting for medication, transport and other issues. As I have mentioned above the pharmacy team are unable to dispense medications until the discharge prescription has been completed, the lounge is used to free up an acute bed to allow appropriate flow within the hospital to provide acute beds to the acutely unwell patients being admitted through our Emergency Department. I agree that it is not appropriate to move some patients to the discharge lounge and this should be assessed by the nursing staff on an individual basis. I am sorry that this was not your experience.

Thank you once again for raising your concerns

Kind Regards

Claire Marshall

Head of Patient Experience

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