"Nurses were very friendly. I didn't want..."

About: St George's Hospital (Tooting) (London)

What I liked

Nurses were very friendly. I didn't want my family involved because it would have stressed me out and made the whole thing seem more serious. The nurses acted like nothing was wrong, even when my neck started spurting blood. That calmed me down because they never made a fuss and I hate attention.

There wasn't one nurse on Grey ward who didn't go above and beyond what they are paid to do. I thought they were lovely.

What could be improved

More information is needed in surgical admissions about whether you have a morning or afternoon surgery. This would have been helpful to know as, with hindsight, I could have had something to drink. Instead I went into surgery completely parched because I hadn't drunk anything for 16 hours.

Patients should have more information about what exactly happens to you under general anaesthetic. Apparently a catheter is used and I would like to have known about this before hand. Instead I found out about this afterwards and felt vulnerable and embarrassed. I would have chosen not to have the surgery based on this because the surgery wasn't medically necessary and I already felt forced into it by the surgeon. Ultimately, if you aren't having surgery down there, you should be told if someone is going to interfere with you.

I was told that I would have a post-op appointment arranged for 4 weeks after surgery. I never got a letter and had to chase this up myself two months after the surgery. Having said that, when I did ring, I got the appointment for 5 days later. I never got letters that were sent between the hospital and the GP. This should be standard practice and I feel like it's too much hassle to ask for them now.

Anything else?

I had two elderly women next to me who kept me awake all night. They were attention seeking and selfish. The nurses even told them there was nothing wrong with them but they kept talking to themselves and saying they needed oxygen masks (give me strength!) They should have been placed on a ward with other elderly people. 20-30 year olds tend to have a more stoic attitude as they work and have other things to think about apart from themselves.

When I came up from surgery, the son of one of the woman was staring at me. I just wanted privacy and I think the curtains should be drawn around patients as standard. I don't want some grotty 40 year old, who still lives with his mother, leering at me and making me feel vulnerable. In the end I got the porter's attention and he drew the curtains for me. This wasn't subtle though, but maybe that is a good thing.

The next morning the curtains were drawn back to let the light in, but that meant everyone could see each other and I was right next to these awful old ladies. I had a serious next injury and had to get up and draw them myself. Patients should have privacy all the time. It is not the time to be sociable and make friends. I was perfectly happy to be antisocial and stare at the back of the curtain. I still had blood seeping out of my neck and I doubt that was the pretty picture other patients wanted to look at while they were eating their breakfast either!!

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Responses

Response from St George's Hospital (Tooting)

Thank you very much for taking the time and trouble to post detailed comments about your stay at St George’s Hospital. Thank you for your kind comments about the nurses on Gray Ward which will be passed on.

We are sorry that not all aspects of your experience were positive ones. Your comments about information in surgical admissions and information about general anaesthetics and catheters will be passed on to the relevant areas for consideration. We are sorry that you did not receive copies of letters to your GP. You are correct that this is standard practice and you should have received these.

Your comments about privacy and dignity are very worrying. The trust takes the privacy and dignity of patients extremely seriously and no patient should be made to feel vulnerable in the way you have described.

We would welcome the opportunity to provide you with a personal reply regarding your experience and if you wish (and have not done so already) please contact the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (pals@stgeorges.nhs.uk) or the complaints and improvements department (complaints@stgeorges.nhs.uk).

Thank you once again for your comments and we hope to serve you better in the future.

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