"The attitude, skill and knowledge of..."
About: Royal Lancaster Infirmary Royal Lancaster Infirmary Lancaster LA1 4RP
What I liked
The attitude, skill and knowledge of some nursing staff and doctors were good. However during my father's several admissions in early - mid 2010, we found that there was little consistency.
What could be improved
Attitude of some nursing staff towards my father (a very polite man) and his family (just myself and my mother, also decent, quiet and well behaved people) was often dismissive, and sometimes rude and hostile. I found it difficult to get eye contact from nursing staff at the nursing station when I (rarely) approached them for information, and could be left standing there whilst they chatted amongst themselves for minutes. When staff were doing my father's observations I witnessed him being completely ignored when he tried to ask them, again very gently and politely, questions about his care. On one occasion two members of staff were so busy talking about another member of staff who they were finding fault with, that I found it difficult to believe they were able to take accurate observations. When the fact that my father was attempting to say something was drawn to one nurse's attention the nurse practically shouted in his face, using his first name, making both my father, and my mother who was by his bedside, jump back surprised and shocked. On several occasions when either my mother or I asked very respectfully for a word with a member of nursing staff, for example to ask when my father might be seen by a doctor, etc., the response was either "What's up?" or "what's wrong?" resulting in us feeling as if we were bothering them. I would have thought all hospital staff should be well aware that both patients and their families are likely to be highly anxious during a hospital admission, particularly when patients are elderly and the admission is an emergency one. Staff could be trained to say something like "If there's something you're wondering about let's see if I can help" for example.
My father's medical problem was eventually sorted out but it took several admissions. We felt that he was discharged without proper investigations on two occasions resulting in him becoming more ill and distressed and having to be readmitted. His experience whilst in Lancaster, in terms of his personal dignity, was not good, and we would certainly be unhappy at the prospect of having to return. I am sure the picture varies from ward to ward and there are some good staff, and some individual nurses appeared caring.