"Very good experience overall"

About: Kingston Hospital

What I liked

Speed of treatment: I was admitted via A&E after my visiting my GP who referred me for an urgent surgical consultation. I was prepared for a long wait, but it was fairly quiet when I arrrived and within 20 minutes of turning up, I had seen the triage nurse, the surgical SHO had been notified of my arrival, I had an iv line in me and blood tests taken. Within 2 hours of arrival I had been examined, diagnosed and admitted for surgery which I underwent the same day.

Nursing staff: The RGNs who looked after my clinical needs during my short stay (just 2 days) were all excellent. I sometimes had to wait longer than I would have liked (particularly for iv fluids after being nil by mouth for 12 hours and dressing changes), but it was always because they were needed by other patients and while uncomfortable for me, at no point did I feel my health was being compromised. Most of the nursing assistants were also very good, though some were more industrious and caring than others.

Doctors: The 2 surgical registrars I met, the SHO who admitted me and was involved in my procedure, the anaesthetists and theatre staff were all excellent and treated me with respect and as if I was an equal who happened to be ill and explained eveything to me carefully.

What could be improved

Non medical staff in A&E - I know they have a tough job, but the A&E receptionists were miserable and unfriendly. Every person I saw come in had a registration form almost thrown at them and then were quizzed vocally in a very open area about their ailment and some patients were looking rather embarassed. I also had an unpleasant encounter with a man who waltzed into my A&E cubicle whilst I was half undressed, just after the decision was made to admit me. He failed to introduce himself (but I assume he was one of the A&E mgrs), but told me that he did not have any proof that I was entitled to NHS treatment and demanded to see a photocopy of my passport. This seemed unreasonable given I had been admitted as an emergency and (like most people) don't happen to carry photocopies of my passport around with me. I am of ethnic descent, but was born in the UK where I have worked and resided all my life and been a (higher rate) taxpayer for well over a decade, I can't see how I would have looked or sounded like an obvious NHS freeloader, other than possibly due to my skin colour. I then had to try and give him alternative evidence of why I thought I qualified, after which, still looking unconvinced, he disappeared without saying anything and didn't return. Not a nice experience when you feeling unwell.

Anything else?

I am lucky enough to have enjoyed generally good health all my life so far, so have not had to use NHS services very much. As the treatment I required on this occasion was deemed to be a surgical emergency, it was actually quicker on the NHS than if I had gone down the private route, which I have also had treatment from in the past. I think the actual care I got at Kingston Hospital was just as good than my experience with private hospitals. Many thanks.

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