"Staff are terrific"

About: The Queen Elizabeth Hospital (King's Lynn)

A long term Heart Failure case, I was admitted on an emergency basis following a collapse owing to a Fast Atrial Fibrillation. The upside to the process was the fantastic Paramedic team and rapidity of their response; the rapid triage process and the caring staff in the MAU and Tilney Wards. Truly, staff are the essential life blood of any good organisation. The downside to NHS response? Norfolk and Norwich closed for lack of beds and King's Lynn on black alert for the same reason. I collapsed at 3pm, was triaged at 5pm, but did not get an MAU bed immediately and was not moved to the Cardiology Ward for many hours. I saw my first Medic at 11:30pm, a very clever and skilled Junior Medic and brilliant communicator. At times, I felt that I was blocking a bed in Tilney Ward because of my recovery and the inability of the system to (eg) move me home with a portable heart monitor.This is a resourcing failure, not a failure of any of the caring and hard-pressed staff. Staff cannot speed through even well defined systems if they are stretched. The staff

I met included many people who would be called "immigrants" and also EU nationals from Portugal and Spain. An MAU Sister was almost running throughout their shift and was cheerful and caring dealing with dementia patients as well as the A&E intake with little other support. One dementia patient required one-on-one watching to avoid accidental self-injury. Though people did not wear badges, I discerned that people of many countries, many races and religions were probably represented among staff with obvious Muslim staff among them. In protesting about incoming numbers of immigrants we must be very careful to concentrate on the effect on facilities and resources not on ethnic and cultural diversity issues. The NHS gets excellent support from people of all cultures and creeds who deserve respect and have every right to be here. Without them the NHS would collapse and me with it.

I am very grateful to the Tilney Ward and MAU teams and Drs and their teams... but also to many other staff providing essential logistics and meals. People are great, systems are sometimes inefficient and not "just in time". But whenever I met the people, the orocess speeded, clarified and became more impressive. There must be more respect for patient needs and for the bed numbers needed in Norfolk. Concentrating billions on the "Northern Power House" and High Speed Trains is all very well, shiny and PR heavy, but the "East Anglian Bread Basket" should not continue to be neglected when it comes to resources for housing, roads, health and hospital beds. The marks for our politicians? Let us just say "must try harder" and reserve the harsh words for one of "the other places". Sorry about the review of politics as well as care....

Story from NHS Choices

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Response from The Queen Elizabeth Hospital

Thank you for taking the time to post such a detailed and thought-provoking comment on NHS Choices. I am glad that we provided you with the care you required despite the obvious pressures that were in the system at the time. The NHS is fundamentally reliant on people to deliver a high quality service and it is good to hear that you received good care and communication from those you encountered at this hospital. Our staff are our most valuable asset and I will gladly pass on your comments to all those areas which cared for you and I sure they will be pleased to receive your positive feedback. If you will allow me I will leave the wider audience to consider your more specific comments on the issues of resources, staffing and NHS priorities. I hope that you have fully recovered from your episode of ill health.

Claire Roberts

Associate Director of Patient Experience

Tel: 01553 613459 or email claire.roberts@qehkl.nhs.uk

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