"Lack of genuine care within the NHS"

About: Southmead Hospital / General medicine

(as the patient),

As a disabled man I have tried so hard to find somebody within the NHS system who I can actually speak to with the concerns which I have raised regarding both regarding my health care and with my personal wellbeing. Nobody at all wants to know, least of all the hospital which is supposedly providing my treatment as a renal patient in Bristol or their in house PALS service who purports to 'liaise' with other services when such concerns are raised.

For twelve years I have endured some of the most horrendous attacks on myself and my home. As I am sure you will appreciate, the matter is both too complicated and personal to write fully here, but to my mind, when a patient is known to be at such risk, and they also ask for help knowing that they are in a prolonged and dangerous situation, and then that help is then flatly denied to them by the PALS service that is supposedly considerate for their healthcare and wellbeing, how much worse can a hospital actually become?

For my part I do have very serious reservations about continuing any treatment now at Southmead because I have experienced how poorly patient concerns are received and certainly how mis-managed the PALS department actually is when any form of liaising is required.

Even in the past when concerns were previously raised neither my partner or myself ever got the impression that anything other than false platitudes were ever spoken at the meetings we attended, and the overall conclusion that we came to was that the hospital response was not one of how can we improve the overall patient experience using the services which we have at our disposal, but how can we, ourselves, cover up for one another within our own particular departments and for our own failure and lack of care.

Perhaps a staff turnaround from other departments or change of PALS management would be of benefit to all patients in order to raise the standard of treatment which individuals like myself are receiving, and it certainly wouldn't be detrimental to see any such fresh ideas or improvements made in any hospital to avoid staff complacency.

But sadly in my opinion, a more deeply rooted and endemic culture exists, which is the impression given that despite the current guidelines, little appraisal of performance from outside organizations will have any impact at all on improving patient care and not always the excuses of lack of funding or equipment, which really is now putting patient welfare at risk.

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Responses

Response from Steven Sykes, Advice & Complaints Team Manager, North Bristol NHS Trust

Dear Heraldic – I am sorry that you have had cause to raise your concerns about your welfare through a post on this website. We have also explained that we do not operate a PALS service, but an Advice and Complaints Team (ACT). ACT is currently working with the Patients’ Association on improvements to the service and provision of training at senior levels throughout the organisation. We are also planning to implement plans for a lay review of complaints using volunteers from our Patient Experience Group.

That aside, North Bristol NHS Trust (NBT) is of course aware of your concerns and the Renal Team and the Advice and Complaints Team empathise with your fears. We have discussed, your circumstances and Renal staff have taken a number of steps to try and support you. For example, a consultant has written a number of letters on your behalf, but the fact is (as has already been explained to you) that NBT has a duty of care for your medical health and the local authorities, social services, police and other agencies are the correct organisations to support you with any concerns you have in respect of your life outside of the acute hospital setting, particularly in respect of your housing situation and personal safety.

I would again (subsequent to our telephone conversations) advise that should you at any time fear for your personal safety then the police are the correct people to call. Depending on your personal circumstances social services may also be able to assist and I understand they have already been contacted. Your MP may also be able to help you but it would not be appropriate for the NHS to contact them on your behalf.

Beyond this advice, the ability of the NHS, ACT and the clinicians involved in your medical care is limited to the steps we have already taken. I hope the assistance, which can be provided by the agencies appropriate to your circumstances, will resolve your concerns.

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