About: Leeds General Infirmary

(as the patient),

What I liked


What could be improved

I was an inpatient for a routine hernia repair in October 2009. For a fairly routine procedure and the amount of time it actually took I have never experienced quite so much stress to myself and family. I was admitted to the ward the evening before as apparently I needed to be in the bed overnight else it would have been given to someone else. I was placed on a ward with men who were having operations for cancer and life saving operations and there I was for a hernia repair.

I arrived at the ward with me and wife at 6pm and was told a doctor would be right with us to clerk me in and do all the paperwork (I was told that if I wasnt there by 6pm I would lose my bed). At 10pm we were still sat waiting. I was told to starve from midnight as I was first on the list and operated on early enough for me to go home in the afternoon. The doctor agreeded that my wife was allowed to come back to the ward first thing in the morning for support before my op.

In the morning I saw nobody, no nurses, no doctors, everybody else had their breakfast and I was sat waiting. I eventually found a nurse to ask what was happening and they said they would find out.....I never saw her again! In the meantime my wife had come to the hospital, paid for all day car park, got to the ward and a nurse refused to let her in, after all being agreeded with the doctor and nurse on duty the night before. She was very upset and told to come back at visiting time.

We waited all day to hear something from somebody but nothing, no communication from anybody at all. I had not been told what was going to happen during the operation or how they were going to do the procedure as the doctor before was a junior and didnt know themself. Visiting time came and my wife arrived, I was still sat waiting, had nothing to eat or drink (after being told someone was gone to get me a jug of water). Eventually I was told I would not be operated on that day and would have to wait until tomorrow.

Anything else?

Tomorrow came, now gone over 24 hours without anything to eat or drink. Still nobody came around to tell me what was happening or when I would be operated on. Eventually, now being so stressed and having blood pressure so high the nurse was worried I would be unable to have the operation afterall, I told the nurse I was discharging myself and called my wife to collect me. I was told she needed to get a doctor to come and talk to me before I left, so I waited....and waited. My wife arrived and we waited another 2 hours.

Then just as the doctor came onto the ward someone from theatre came running into the ward with a marker pen saying they needed me right away. They scribbled a few lines on me and took me off to theater! The nurse promised me that my wife would be with me when I woke up.

I woke from the anaesthetic and nobody could tell me where my wife was, nobody had rang her to tell her I was finished in theater as she was told she could not wait on the ward for me.

When I got back to the ward two nurses had to move me from one bed to another (I'm 6 foot 4 and weigh 14 stone) they struggled with me crying in pain to move me, but carried on when I said I couldnt take the pain anymore.

I wasnt allowed home that night either because I had the op too late in the day. I felt a cheat taking up a bed for 3 nights when I didnt really need it for one.

There was no communication between staff at all. I would never go back again. Luckily I was having a routine procedure and not major surgery. My mum was recovering from a heart attack so she really didnt need the stresses of this.

We wrote a letter to the ward I was on but never got a reply.

Story from NHS Choices

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Response from Involvement Facilitator, NHS Leeds

Thank you for taking the time to feedback (via the NHS Choices website) your recent negative experience at the Leeds General Infirmary.

I was sorry to learn of the lack of communication following your admission and during your length of stay and the long delay from being admitted until your operation was carried out, all of which put you and your family under unnecessary stress.

You have quite rightly complained via a letter to the Ward but as you state, you have not yet received a reply. Can I suggest you contact the Patient Advice and Liaison Service on the freephone number 0800 0525270 and they will provide you with an explanation of the complaints procedure and how to get in touch with someone who can help.

We will also pass on your comments to the Patient Relations Manager at the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.

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