"I felt in good hands throughout."

About: Northwick Park Hospital

What I liked

I was transferred to Northwick Park from Heartlands Hospital Birmingham after a car crash, and I’m very glad that I was. I was in Heartlands for a week, during which time I never saw the same consultant twice. No one spoke to me directly to tell me what was going on, the only way I had any idea what was happening was from what I could catch and understand from what the consultants where saying to the students they brought round with them. I got to Northwick Park on a Friday night so was made comfortable over the weekend until I saw the consultant, Monday morning, he was excellent, he explained exactly what was happening, where we were up to in terms of swelling and bleeding etc. and what needed to happen before they could operate. He filled me with confidence from the outset. His surgery day at Northwick Park was on Tuesday so I was incredibly lucky to be able to go to surgery the day after first seeing him. Unfortunately they were not able to do the full surgery at that time, but they were able to relocate and pin the bones to make things more comfortable and allow the swelling to start to reduce to enable completing the open fixation later. I was back on the ward that afternoon and my wife was telephoned to let her know how it had gone, I was out and she could come visit (and I think my parents might even have been called too). I was discharged the following evening. When I was able to have my surgery I was admitted on the Monday and went for surgery on Tuesday. The Consultant and his SHO came to see me Monday night, even though I’d seen him that morning in fracture clinic. And I saw his SHO again Tuesday morning before going down to OR. I was actually quite nervous so it meant a lot to see them, I really felt in safe hands. Throughout the ward nurses and orthopaedic doctors, were amazing; informative, friendly and supportive.

What could be improved

I went back to visit fracture clinic a few times for evaluation until the swelling had gone down sufficiently to operate. And have obviously been there many times since for follow up appointments. This was probably the worst part of the whole process. My experience was not terrible but sometimes waits are very long, 3 or 4 hours, and communication is nonexistent.

There are a number of clinics that run out of the same sort of area in the hospital, and patients generally need to pass these clinics to get to the reception to check in and be told where they are supposed to be going. So most patients stop to ask the nurses running the clinics where they need to go, this is obviously pretty annoying for the nurses, they spend their whole time repeatedly telling people to go to the reception. Consequently, I think, they don’t seem to want to say anything else to patients and generally try to ignore them as best as possible. But if no Drs are in yet, or some are away and so clinic is running slowly or whatever just tell people, it’s a lot easier to wait for an hour if you know you are going to wait for an hour rather than are expecting to be seen any minute.

Story from NHS Choices

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Response from Northwick Park Hospital

We were pleased to learn that your orthopaedic care was so good, and we hope that you are making a good recovery from your injuries. We will ensure that your kind comments are passed on to the orthopaedic department. Thank you for your feedback in relation to your clinic appointments. This will be passed on to the manager for the outpatient department for information and action.

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