"Rude and hostile behaviour by overwhelmed ward..."

About: Whipps Cross University Hospital

No courtesy or respect whatsoever in the way I was handled. I was left feeling very anxious and concerned about my elderly mother's safety and the quality of the care she is receiving at the hands of totally disengaged, disgruntled and demotivated NHS staff.

My 75 year old mother was admitted last week at Whipps Cross Hospital with suspected TB and severe respiratory problems. My mother - being an elderly and absent minded person - accidentally left her mobile phone at home so she is not contactable. I am currently working overseas in Asia. I am therefore extremely anxious about the situation and wondering if the situation is serious enough to fly back urgently. When I called simply to check on my mother and seek some quick advice directly from the hospital staff (family friends are thankfully visiting in my absence and keeping me updated regularly) the sister refused to talk to me, refused to give me their own name, told me I had no right to call or to ask them for information, and they slammed the phone down on me in mid-sentence. I am not sure this is what several years of nursing qualifications encourage ward sisters to do in their relationships with the concerned immediate family of very sick elderly people. Both my mother and I are British citizens. I am baffled at this kind of treatment by an employee of the NHS. It is totally unnecessary and the basic communication skills of NHS staff clearly still needs a lot of work. They are not working in a third world country or a war zone. They are working in the United Kingdom; they are well paid and they don't have any right to treat the rest of us with disrespect just because they work for the NHS.

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Response from Whipps Cross University Hospital

We are very sorry to read that the staff member was rude to you when you phoned to obtain an update on your mother. We are very sorry that this has left you feeling anxious and concerned. This is not acceptable and we apologise for this.

Your feedback has been shared with the respiratory team. Should you wish to discuss your concerns and so that we can look into this in more detail, please contact PALS on 020 3594 2040 or by email pals@bartshealth.nhs.uk to provide them with more detailed information.

Kind regards

Barts Health NHS Trust

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