"Very good treatment on Surgical Assessment Unit..."

About: Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

I was unfortunate enough to become unwell last week and, following attendance at a walk in centre, was advised to go to SAU at NSECH with a suspected blockage in my bowel.

I attended with some trepidation as I have heard some negative feedback about NSECH but my opinion has been completely changed by my experience which was exceptional.

I did have quite a long wait to be seen by a doctor on my first attendance but was told at around 21:00 that I needed to have a CT scan and was asked to return the following morning at 09:00, although was warned that I may not be seen immediately.

I returned at 09:00 the next morning and was astonished when, after a five minute wait in a crowded waiting room, I was taken to a private room and told that this was my room for the day.

I was warned again by a nurse that the unit was extremely busy and that the nurse could not guarantee I would not have a considerable wait but the nurse apologised for this and said I would be seen as soon as possible.

To my amazement, before the cannula could be fitted to my arm, a porter was waiting at the door to take my for my scan.

I had the scan and arrived back in my room shortly after 10:00 and was told there that the results should be available within an hour or so.

The results were back as I had been told but I was sadly informed that I should stay in hospital for a couple of days, which I did not want to do.

Staff worked together and discussed any alternatives and came up with a plan which meant that I could have oral rather than IV medication and take this at home - I was so happy that this could, and had, been arranged.

Throughout the two days, I could not fault anything about my care and treatment and can say that every member of staff I came into contact with, introduced themselves and were courteous and professional and put me as much at ease as it was possible to do (I don’t like hospitals).

Sadly, I do not recollect any of their names with the exception of one nurse, who fitted my cannula and did blood tests and the nurse did everything in their power to make conversation and put me at ease, even when I became emotional.

Sadly, in the nurse exuberance to keep the conversation going, the nurse did inadvertently tell my daughter all of the finishing places of drivers in the practice race of the F1, the results of which she had gone to lengths to avoid as she was going home that afternoon to watch it on catch up with friends - I can’t, however, hold the nurse responsible for that and will remember this fondly when looking back on my experience (not so sure that my daughter will!!!)

Overall, a very positive experience which will make me far less worried about coming to the hospital if I need to at any time in the future.

I hope that this feedback can be passed to the Modern Matron and Operational Service Manager in the hope that all staff - surgical, medical, ward staff and porters - can get the praise that they deserve.

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Response from Sophie Dixon, Patient Experience, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Dear Kath,

Sorry to hear about your recent visit to our hospital- its lovely to read that your experience was an exceptional one, thank you for sharing this with us.

I am sorry about your initial delay for treatment but I am pleased that staff were open and honest with you regarding any possible delays, we understand how important it is that our patients are kept informed and have an understanding of what to expect while they’re with us.

I am delighted to read that your treatment with us ran smoothly and that you received a timely well-co-ordinated service the next morning.

Our staff will be chuffed to hear how much you appreciated the way they responded to your views regarding your stay in hospital and found an alternative plan that suited you.

I will certainly make sure all staff who looked after you including the Modern Matron and Operational Service Manager are given the opportunity to read your review, I know how much it’ll mean to them.

We understand how nerve-wracking it can be for some patients when having a cannula fitted or bloods taken, I’m glad the nurses did everything in their power to make conversation and put you at ease during such an emotional time for you.

Huge apologies for the premature notification of the formula 1 finishing places, I hope your daughter still enjoyed the race despite being aware of the outcome.

I wish you all the best and please know we’re here if you need anything in the future.

Kind regards,


Annie Laverty - Director of Patient Experience

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