"Please see the last sentence in 'any..."

About: Maidstone District General Hospital

What I liked

I went to the hospital for a minor procedure under general anaesthetic. It was carried out and I returned home safely - for that I am grateful.

There was the usual uncertainty about when the operation would take place, but that is fully understandable and no cause for criticism in a hospital that has to serve emergency cases.

The staff were friendly and helpful whenever asked for something.

There was a very professional nurse on the second shift.

What could be improved

"Hello this is ____ from plant care.... could you give us a call on 0845.... " That was what I thought the phone message was that I received on the weekend immediately prior to my appointment. I assumed that is was in connection with one of my wife's horticultural projects (actually they had said "planned care" :) ) and forgot about it. Fortunately there was a second message that mentioned "hospital" and gave a geographic number, clues that the message was for me, although my name wasn't mentioned, and informing me that the appointment was cancelled. Well, no worries, that happens at a busy hospital. But the reason that it was cancelled was that they had forgotten to give me a pre-operation assessment and only discovered at the last moment.

I got the letters for the new appointment at "2:52 pm" (apologies were later given for this typo), and pre-op assessment and with them was enclosed a print out of an internal email giving a list of customers who had been given the go ahead for a pre-op assessment.

It is standard practice for the questions about risk factors for the anaesthesia to be put by three different people. The third time, in the anaesthesia room the person asking the questions put the first question and wrote down the answer. Then he asked the first question again. (But afterwards he did his best to engage the patient in conversation to distract me from the impending anaesthesia).

In the recovery room the nurses reminisced about the halcyon days when there was a one to one nurse to patient ratio.

In the ward, one person came to take my blood pressure and said something unintelligible to me in the local dialect while loudly eating or chewing gum. That was the least professional conduct that I saw.

(continued in 'any other comments')

Anything else?

I was telling a nurse about some symptoms when a porter came to collect a patient who had been patiently waiting for a long time. The porter put his arm around the nurse and they started chatting, and continued to do so while collecting the patient, not really including him at all. This was a general phenomenon - that the staff tended to chat among themselves in front of patients, not taking them into account. These were not professional discussions.

When the nurses changed shift, about 70% of the information was provided by myself and my accompanying spouse - the nurse handing over didn't seem to know much.

Anyway, I got discharged, got home safely and had a shower, when I discovered that the ECG tabs were still stuck to my chest. The nurse removing my cannula had asked if I had anything else attached, but I had completely forgotten about them!

There are some issues to be addressed here. Address them if you will.

In conclusion, if you have a choice it is probably better to go somewhere else. Recent experience showed that Southampton General Hospital, also a government hospital, did far better on all counts.

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Responses

Response from Maidstone District General Hospital

We would like to thank you for taking the time to comment on your experiences at the Maidstone Hospital. All comments are passed on directly to the appropriate manager of the department concerned for them to learn from and improve their services. If you require any assistance in the future, please do not hesitate to contact mtwpals@nhs.net or call them on 01622 224960. Kind regards Maidstone & Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust (SG)

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