"NHS was there for me"

About: Princess Alexandra Hospital / Trauma and orthopaedics

The NHS has recently been accused of failing in its duty of care.

There are obviously issues which need to be addressed but I would like to highlight my experiences which show that, despite the odds, the NHS can be incredibly successful.

A week ago (10 September) I fell outside my home and found myself suddenly completely helpless, vulnerable and dependent upon others.

In a great deal of pain and unsure what to do, the following is a timeline of our journey:

- Contacted NHS Direct who gave clear advice on how to proceed - they called an ambulance on our behalf;

- Paramedics arrived and gave comfort and pain relief, taking me to Harlow’s Princess Alexandra’s emergency department, arriving at approximately 10:30am;

- Examination by staff at the hospital and pain relief offered;

- X-ray revealed a broken hip – confirmed almost immediately by doctor who was sympathetic and clear on the way forward, i.e. admittance to hospital with an operation to follow;

- Junior doctor outlined the choices available, carefully outlining the advantages/disadvantages of procedures – they cautioned “nil by mouth” at this stage in the event a vacant slot in the theatre rota might become available;

- At all times I was kept informed of what was happening and when a slot did become available I was prepared for theatre;

- Anaesthetist visited and went through all options, again clearly explaining the advantages and disadvantages in a very caring and supportive way;

- Operation carried out at approximately 4:30pm – at all times I was kept informed of what was happening and given the opportunity to respond;

- After a short time in resuscitation, I was transferred to orthopaedics (Harold Ward) – a specialist unit with its own “gym” for use by the physiotherapists to teach patients to climb stairs etc;

- The kind nursing staff were professional, efficient and were responsive to my every need, including pain relief;

Over the next days, there was a clear process, with visits by consultants, doctors, an excellent team of physiotherapists and occupational therapists (who were vigilant in their efforts to ensure that my return home would be supported appropriately and safely);

When I was discharged on Tuesday 13th September (4pm) I felt safe and knew exactly how to work within the restraints of my crutches (having been well trained by the physiotherapists), and utilising the equipment lent to me by Occupational Health;

The following day, I received a telephone call from a member of the orthopaedic team to find out how I was managing and to let me know a health worker would come to my home to remove my clamps.

Obviously, this can never be considered a highlight in my life but it is certainly one where, when the chips were down, the NHS were there for me (and my husband) which is very reassuring.

I would like to thank everyone involved, from my heart.

Sue Young (69 years)

Story from NHS Choices

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