"The Doctors, Ward Sister, Student Nurses..."

About: Watford General Hospital

What I liked

The Doctors, Ward Sister, Student Nurses and vast majority of RGNs were very professional and tried their absolute best to make me feel at ease about my surgery.

Being able to have my mobile on with good phone and internet reception was great because it enabled me to keep in touch with my friends and family, which stopped me being bored or lonely while I was in hospital; my two biggest fears aside from the surgery itself.

What could be improved

A number of little things like ensuring I could get to my buzzer and remote to control the bed, doing my gown up after surgery (I unwittingly exposed myself when I came round because I didn't know it was undone and couldn't do it up myself with a drip in one arm!) and making sure I could easily reach and open everything on my food tray, when it was placed on my table.

In summary, I don't think there was enough appreciation for how difficult it can be to do even simple tasks with a drip in one arm and stitches in your abdomen and I found myself needlessly having to stretch and struggle a number of times within 24 hours of my surgery. Some members of staff looked at you very strangely for making even a small request for help. These seemingly minor details really add up and make a big difference to patients' dignity.

The 'Hospicom' didn't seem to work and was quite expensive (£4 per day?), so I was glad I took my own mobile and MP3 player. The ward information should have explained that the facility isn't free, as “a maximum of £5 change” wouldn't cover more than 1 day's usage.

Anything else?

While the vast majority of nurses were very good, they were obviously overstretched and when another patient's condition deteriorated, all other patients' care seemingly had to be 'dropped' for a few hours. The nurse that eventually discharged me was very rude when I asked for a medical certificate and reprimanded me for not having asked the Dr when I saw him in the morning. All information I had been given said to ask for the certificate upon being discharged, which is what I did, so I was quite upset to receive such an unapologetic and unnecessarily harsh response. I was told I could wait an indefinite period for the Dr to come back from A&E but, having already waited 3 hours to be discharged, I didn't want to wait any longer, so had to attend my GP surgery on my return from hospital (and increase the risk of picking up a secondary infection there).

Story from NHS Choices

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