"Never again."

About: Southmead Hospital

The morning of my first day in hospital and after seeing the consultant I was visited by a nurse who started the conversation by asking me questions about the length of time I was intending to stay on the ward?

I told the nurse that I was unaware and that I had just arrived the previous night.

The nurse continued to question me, trying to establish what the consultant had told me, why I wasn’t taken to a different ward as I didn’t belong on ward *, If I thought I would be fit enough to go home in a few days, I replied “I hope so” - This made me feel very unwelcome and I felt that I was just another number, body, statistic on the ward for the nurses to take care of.

The nurse did not show any empathy or consider my mental state after a major trauma as I could have lost my life less than 24hrs ago.

Poor communication - Later that day I was advised that I would be moving ward.

When asked why, I was told that the ward I was on was for patients with broken hips and due to me not having such an injury I would have to be taken to another ward – I was told 20 minutes before leaving the ward that someone would come to help me gather my belongings.

I was told to start collecting what I could reach from my bed.

I asked 2 different nurses to help me but they both said they would get someone else to help me, eventually the porters helped me gather my belongings and took me to another ward.

Both the porters were given limited information and asked me If I knew where I was going?

I told them I knew as much as they did. The porters told me that they were told to take me to *?

Not given medication - I was told by the pharmacist that one of the side effects of codeine was being constipated, if this is the case, why was I only prescribed laxatives after 4 days of being hospitalised – 28th March 2016?

Nurses on both wards were made aware that I had been unable to open my bowels since arriving on Thursday 24th March.

Not being able to open my bowels left me with severe stomach pain which could have been avoided knowing the side effects of taking constant pain relief over a period of time and the lack of physical moment would result in constipation.

Sarcastic comments – on 30th March 2016, I was told by a senior member of the physiotherapy team that I had to carry out walking exercises when I had been told to do so.

I advised the member of staff that I felt my body was not ready to do it at that particular moment and that I was the best judge of what I can and cannot do.

The senior physiotherapist then replied “this is not a hotel you know!” While in excruciating pain I had to explain to the healthcare professional that our goal was the same; which was to get me home.

I did try to negotiate a time for their colleague to return to visit me later that day as I really wasn’t ready to start walking and had originally asked them to return at 4pm.

The senior physiotherapist did not understand why I had arranged for a different time.

List goes on.

Story from NHS Choices

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Response from Southmead Hospital

Dear Mr Singh – thank you for taking the time and trouble to post the views of your stay at Southmead. I very much regret that your experience was not a positive one. I sincerely hope that you are now making a good recovery.

I am sorry that you were left feeling very unwelcome on the ward and that you were just another number. It is often the case that nurses engage with patients to discuss their care as this serves to provide a “connection”, to check on a patient’s understanding of their condition and care pathway, and also to check on their responsiveness. I was sad to learn that this process left you feeling the nurses lacked empathy as this would certainly not be the experience we would expect you to have.

I regret that due to the need to manage the demand for emergency admissions you were initially cared for on a ward which later meant that you needed to be transferred to a more suitable ward (once a bed space became available) and that this transfer process was not handled as well as it might have been – please accept my apologies on behalf of the Trust for the distress and uncertainty this caused.

The pharmacist was correct in advising you that one of the possible side effects of codeine is constipation. However, it is also the case that not every patient will suffer this side effect, or that their constipation will require laxatives. As a result it would necessary to understand a patients’ reaction to any pain relief before a laxative was prescribed. However, in your case I do accept laxatives might have been able to be prescribed sooner and I apologise if the staff did not react quickly enough to avoid the discomfort you suffered.

Mobilisation is an important part of any patients’ recovery and I regret that you found the attitude of physiotherapist who attempted to progress the recognised care pathway, which will have been designed to maximise a patients’ recovery and limit possible side effects, to be sarcastic. Sometimes the well-meaning “encouragement” which is necessary to seek the best outcome for patients can be misconstrued. However, clearly the patient is the best judge of how they are made to feel and I apologise that the physiotherapist’s approach was unwelcome.

Thank you again for posting your comments about you experience, I apologise that we did not meet your expectations.

Kind regards - Steve Sykes

Advice and Complaint Team

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