"I felt like something with a condition on a conveyor belt."

About: Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital (Wonford)

(as the patient),

I was shocked and distressed by my recent experiences in RD&E. For approximately the last 2months it seems that at weekends patients are moved on Saturday after breakfast and then again at 7am on Monday (yes woken up to move) I believe, so wards can be closed to save money.

This was very upsetting for patients who are already feeling vulnerable and need the familiarity of their surroundings and have formed support networks with fellow patients.

It appeared the poor nurses who are already overworked find themselves becoming furniture removers. To add to the distress test requests get delayed in the transfer or the wrong tests done process as paperwork takes time to be transfered or instructions are not clear.

On one occasion bloods which should have been taken in the morning were eventually taken 12.05am and then again at beakfast only to be told at lunch time that the wrong tests had been done so bloods were needed again.

I was also not asked whether I minded students being present during some ward rounds - surely this is just good manners. I felt like I was not a person just something in a specimen jar.

On the EMU (Emergency Medical Unit) ward, I felt they were short staffed but the nurses continued to do their best for their patients. The bathroom I saw was dirty and although this was reported by more than one patient it was not cleaned.

On one of the wards to which I was moved the shower room flooded and water went out into the corridor because although the problem had been reported maintenance had not addressed the issue but the nursing staff were unaware of the problem as they did not normally work on this ward.

The only consolation was that we laughed about it after, but it did make unnessary work for the nurses.

My experience was it took 3 days to organise meals which met dietary needs, part of this was a request for soya milk. Maybe this is something that could be easily rectified.

I felt like I was not a human being but something with a condition on a conveyor belt. I was moved 3 times the first I understood as I was initially admitted to an EMU ward but I was asleep and had to be woken to be moved at 9pm.

In my opinion the nurses were obviously frustrated by the additional work caused by moving so many patients rather than attending to patient needs.

For my psychological wellbeing I discharged myself and arranged to be monitored by my GP. I lost 10lb in 5 days and by the fifth day had become emotionally distressed.

I would like to thank the nurses who were efficient, considerate and very caring but wish those who decide on actions such as the closing wards at weekends would consider the psychological wellbeing of the patients, something I consider an important part of their recovery.

Patients are already feeling vulnerable when in hospital and do not need added emotional stress, losing familiar surroundings etc and feeling they are not a person just a statistic on a converyor belt out of their control.

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