"Dirty, neglectful, uncaring - shocking"

About: Frimley Park Hospital (Frimley)

What I liked

After 3 days in A&E, F9 was bright, light, clean and airy. The staff seemed to work more as a team, and the whole atmosphere on the ward was more relaxed, and peaceful - a much better environment to recover from illness in.

What could be improved

I am completing this on before of a relative who was the patient.

Relative spent 3 days in A&E just after christmas, and experienced some of the worse conditions I have seen in a UK hospital for years - it was instuitutional neglect.

The worse thing was a nurse who came down from MAU to insert a central line - at the end of the procedure relative fainted, and she just walked out saying she should have "finished her shift an hour ago", and left an unconscious patient to be dealt with by an already distressed partner.

As a nurse myself, I find it appalling that there are nurses working at FPH who would walk out on an unconscious patient, because she was late finishing. Moralling and ethically this is disgusting behaviour.

If it was not for family bringing in bottles of water, relative would only have had a drink with breakfast and lunch (never offered at supper).

Relative was stuck in a side bay of A&E (called the observation ward, but subject to all the noise, hustle and bustle of A&E) with no locker, so personal belongings were left in a bag at the side of the bed.

No bulb in the light over the bed, so relative could not read., despite us asking repeatedly for a bulb. Bedding was not changed for the duration of the stay, despite us repeatedly asking for bedding so we could do it.

Use urine bottles were left stacked up, until we we emptied them. Used urine bottles left on the over the bed table that relative had to eat meals from, until we arrived to empty them.

No TV/ no radio/ no way of reading in the dark corner/ no natural light = all add up to sensory deprivation and institutional neglect.

A Cleaner who flicked a cloth over the sink, and but never cleaned it with anything other than water, and never ran a mop between/ under/ behind the beds.

Being stuck in A&E relative was sleep deprived for 3 days, and slept almost solidly for 26 hours when eventually discharged.

Anything else?

Unfortunately, my relative is too scared they will be labelled a "difficult patient" if they contact PALS to complain about the neglect, as they continue to require ongoing treatment.

A&E is a busy department, but the bay was too short-staff to provide the basics of care - clean bedding, water, sensory stimulation, sleep. One member of staff had to "special" an elderly patient with dementia, who at one point was also being supervised by security. How can the needs of patients be met with only one member of staff free to provide care?

More staff are needed on the observation 'ward' if care is to be of any quality, and if you are calling a bit of A&E 'a ward', it should be staffed as such.

However - lack of staff is a poor excuse for poor care, and a dirty environment. Basics such as a locker would have made it easier to clean the floor around the bed, not that any of the cleaning staff attempted to do that.

Medication was often several hours late. Several other patients in the bay ended up on IV fluids for dehydration (we know this because relatives talk to each other) - of course patients will be dehydrated if they are only given 2 drinks a day.

I have volunteered in a 3rd world hospital where patients received more 'care' than I witnessed during those horrendous 3 days, whilst waiting for a bed on the ward.

Management at FPH should take a step back and actually look at what is going on behind the scenes. I appreciate that a lot of the commments on this site are positive, and I am glad for those patients, but I would not wish others to experience what we had to.

I wish my relative would complain about the behaviour of the nurse - but he is scared to. Neglect of this magnitude is frightening, and next time that nurse walks out on an unconscious patient, it may be a heart attack not a faint.

Good luck to all patients - I believe it is luck as to whether you experience neglect at FPH or not, but I hope that I never have to experience anything like this again

Story from NHS Choices

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