"Friendly and competent staff in ..."

About: William Harvey Hospital

(as a relative),

What I liked

Friendly and competent staff in A&E and Bethesden ward.

What could be improved

Weekend cover - there were apparently 4 doctors covering over 100 patients the weekend my partner was in the William Harvey. The doctor who treated my partner seemed stressed, tired and hadn't had a break or eaten in many hours. She also seemed exasperated by the situation, by the lack of resources, by the lack of general communication and coordination going on. It was pathetic. My partner was clearly at the bottom of the priority list for the nurses, and got very cursory attention despite the fact that she has terminal cancer. It was all so sad.

People are just as ill at weekends as during a weekday: you need to plan your resource allocation more intelligently, and get nurses and doctors in there who have the time and training to work out patients' histories properly, and treat them diligently.

The sister on Cambridge M2 ward was generally unhelpful and unprofessional. Hostile, even. Maybe she was stressed because of lack of resources. My partner got into a kind of argument with her about lack of appropriate care. Afterwards, the sister seemed uncommunicative and unhelpful. Again, distressing, stressful, and saddening.

A&E receptionists - unhelpful. Really unhelpful.

Anything else?

- poor mobile phone reception.

- no wireless internet, not even the sort you could pay for.

- very poor food. Honestly, the single most important thing to someone who feels poorly is good food and good, friendly care. These things are so simple and cheap to provide, and yet they make a truly massive difference to a patient's quality of life in a stressful and difficult time. Offering cheap, nasty, unhealthy food only wastes resources. My partner relied *entirely* on food I brought in. The woman in the same room relied *entirely* on food brought in by her family. I suspect this situation is very common.

- wards with lots of geriatric patients, some of whom appeared to be suffering from dementia. It was all pretty sad and distressing. Call me old-fashioned, but shouldn't geriatric (dementia) patients be on separate wards, with specialist care? Will we be seeing children on the same wards as adults next? Pregnant women?

I hope my comments are taken seriously. There's so much box-ticking going on in hospital ratings, and yet it's ultimately only one part of the picture. It's the little things that make such a difference, and yet it's the little things that are so tough to get right. I really do want hospitals to work properly. Seeing healthcare work well is so utterly inspirational. Seeing it fail miserably is one of the most depressing things I can think of.

Story from NHS Choices

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