"All the nursing staff were helpful ..."

About: University Hospital Of North Durham

(as the patient),

What I liked

All the nursing staff were helpful and full of care for the patients however, there was an underlying sense of despair at the frustrations generally caused by management changes and almost continual change that leaves the nursing staff confused and 'last to be informed'

What could be improved

The system of drug distribution has been changed. previously each ward or group of wards had an attended pharmacist who ensured that drugs were available to patients 'on the ward'

This has been changed; this has led to considerable delays for the patients (that may not be a concern as such) BUT it has lead to the very late discharged of patients such that any incoming patients have been delayed thus delaying operations and - I am sure - leading to disruption of operating lists.

Distribution of meals - this (I assume - according to the paperwork) is in the hands of a private company. What I saw was nurses from ward assistants to ward Sisters having to rush around to distribute meals whilst still attempting to administer to their normal daytime duties.

Shortages of nursing staff leading to complete disruption of working schedules such that the nursing staff of all ranks are having to revise the work schedules 'as they go'. staff are swapping shifts and helping each other out to ensure that the proper level and number of staff is available particularly at weekends and nights.

Anything else?

My opinion is that:

1. We should remove Gov. targets

2. We should place the patient at No 1.

3. Management should accept and embrace the concept that the NHS AND the nursing staff are there to take sick people in and return them to good health. Patient is N0 1

4. Less change and more stability would achieve a result for 3 above.

5. Keep staff informed of what management is thinking about and include them in the discussions and plans.

6. Bring ancillary jobs - cleaning and meal distribution etc. - back under the Matrons control and inspection.

Generally the hospital is brilliant - particularly where staff are allowed to operate without fear of reprisals for making decision in the absence of a 'laid down' instruction that is almost law.

Whilst the situation regarding rank is concerned a decision is normally made by someone senior - so often reasonable decisions are made unnecessarily higher up the chain of command; and so very often those 'high ranking' people are just not available leading to the nursing staff having to grovel and apologise to patients who are getting ever more angry and frustrated

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Response from University Hospital Of North Durham

Thank you for providing feedback from your visit to University Hospital of North Durham in 2010. Unfortunately, at the time you shared your feedback, we were unable to respond. If you would like to discuss your previous comments please contact us. The Trust is grateful for all feedback, positive or negative, as it means we can better understand what is important to our patients. Thank you for leaving your comments on NHS Choices. Patient Experience Team County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust Tel: 0800 7835774