"State of the art new building ..."

About: Whiston Hospital

(as a relative),

What I liked

State of the art new building and cleanliness levels. Most individual doctors and nurses were competent and some were very caring.

What could be improved

My 88 year old mother went to a&e by ambulance following a fall down stairs at home resulting in facial lacerations and a broken arm. She was taken to an inappropriate area delaying assessment. She was not attended by staff in terms of keeping her clean and comfortable- as relatives we struggled to do this wirh tissues and swabs. She was not offered pain relief until we asked for it 2 hours after admission. We had to ask staff to clean blood from her head and face and change a bloodstained gown. Staff had clearly not read her notes and we were repeatedly asked for information already given. Although unable to communicate due to her injuries she was fully concious throughout this ordeal and her dignity was severely compromised.

On transfer to the observation ward there was a further catalogue of mistakes and lack of basic care which only improved after the situation was brought to the attention of consultant level staff. My mother was lucky- we were there. I fear for those vulnerable patients who do not have relatives to speak for them. There were potentially life threatening situations which fortunately were averted through the dilligence and care of relatives e.g non administration of prescribed medication, no fluids given for over 24 hours, no monitoring of fluids in and out, vomiting not observed or recorded by staff, no feeding plan to take account of mouth injury . This is only a small selection, if she had been left unattended any of these events may have proved fatal- but as a very elderly lady, would cause of death have been recorded as trauma following a fall? If she had been a 30 year old with similar injuries she would not have been treated this way.

Anything else?

Managers are at the root of these problems, not staff. Communications are terrible at all stages- and reading through other posts, this message is loud and clear. Please invest in efficient, state of the art systems THAT WORK. Why does a staff nurse spend 20 minutes on a fixed phone trying to locate someone? Fit staff with tracking devices- these are common and easy to work. Why are consultation notes hand written? voice recognition software will do the job more efficiently. Use clinical staff time for patient care not form filling and box ticking- my mother's a& e experience was 'excellent' according to the box tickers. Why? because she had been seen by a doctor and moved out of a&e within 4 hours- except that for most of it she was terrified, in pain and covered in blood, but there isn't a box for that.

Story from NHS Choices

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