"Heart ache at Hairmyers"

About: Hairmyres Hospital / General Surgery

(as the patient),

I have been in and out of Hairmyres more than I have had hot dinners, sometimes for weeks sometimes for months. I am only in my thirties but a side affect to a cancer drug left me with a damaged heart so my experience is mainly with three wards in particular. I think the treatment I received and witnessed some others receiving was terrible. What was more heart breaking for me was the way I saw how they treated some of the elderly patients. It is my opinion that they were too scared to complain.

There were many times due to my serious condition where they thought I was going to die and at one point I even had too make a will with my mum, but on the good days I was strong enough to complain when I felt I needed to. I think some nurses didn’t like me for this.

I found some of the nurses rude and I felt like they were not caring towards me. In my opinion the hygiene on some of the wards I stayed on was the worst and late one Friday night around 11.30pm I was so angry because I hadn’t seen the toilets cleaned for 3 days and I was sharing a room with 3 old ladies who had dysentery. I stormed out to the nurses desk and I explained that I would be complaining if they didn’t get a cleaner and well a cleaner was provided within 5 mins and every day after for the time I was there.

Another time I was in a ward and my condition became so serious they moved me to a private room and put me on heavy duty meds. During my 4week stay in the room I believe I was repeatedly harassed by a male patient. I complained that I felt like this patient was harassing me and the nurses just laughed at me and said to me he was harmless. I felt so distressed because much of the time I was on sleeping tablets and I felt frightened of what this guy would do.

On healthier periods I have felt like I had to assist my pensioner room mates to the bathroom, cutting food up and feeding them, with reaching for liquids or filling up their water jugs and even closing the curtains and preparing the ward at night for sleep and once everyone was just dropping off the nurses would come in. I could hear some of them talking about their holidays at the top of the voices which was keeping me awake. I think they had no discretion for their sleeping patient and I find it difficult to sleep in hospital anyway.

When I had to buzz for any help, I felt like I was met with a bad attitude from some of the nurses on the night shift. At one point when I was a patient the circumstances became so distressing that my parents and the doctors were called immediately because I felt like I had had enough. I thought they were going to hurt me with neglect of care and hygiene. I started to take my drips out just wanting to go home and it even got to the stage that I would use my buzzer on behalf of the old ladies who couldn’t reach theirs.

After the incident mentioned above, I was discharged and a couple of weeks later readmitted to a ward of me and three men over 60. I do not think it is right to have the mixed wards. You see the thing is I felt like some of the nurses seemed to forget that I was ill and have a serious condition. I felt like some of them just wanted to get the shift over and done with.

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Response from Rosemary Lyness, Executive Clinical Director, NHS Lanarkshire

picture of Rosemary Lyness

Dear dm3,

Thank you for telling us about your experience, I am sorry to hear that it was a negative one.

NHS Lanarkshire joined Patient Opinion in May 2013 and we have been responding to submissions since then.

I would like to acknowledge your submission which was posted before we became a member. I would be happy to hear from you again through Patient Opinion or you can go to the “Contact Us” section of the NHS Lanarkshire website to see the other ways to get in touch www.nhslanarkshire.org.uk

I hope any subsequent experiences with NHS Lanarkshire have been more positive.

Kind regards

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