"I will never forget the amazing service..."

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

What I liked

I was admitted to the Gunning Ward in St James Wing for a few weeks. The nursing staff work extremely hard and I have nothing but the utmost respect for them. They are clearly understaffed due to cuts and they manage to make it work, only just. The nurses treated me with respect and dignity and were supportive and encouraging during my stay. Some were so good, it made it difficult for me to come to terms with having to leave!

The physiotherapy and occupational therapy team were excellent - really patient and understanding about my situation and were able to recognise when my body was not able to do something before I was able to admit it to myself. I trusted them implicitly.

I was also seen by a pain team and the dietician and I was impressed by the service they provided and their attentiveness.

I was impressed with the quality of the food for lunch/dinner as well as the range of choices available.

The ward was cleaned regularly, though not all cleaners were equally thorough.

What could be improved

I think that the nursing staff should explain to patients on admission when staff changovers take place. Many times in the early days before I knew what the process was, I became frustrated and upset that no one came when I or the other patients called at staff handover times, and such a simple thing could make a big difference to the way patients feel about their care.

Because of short staffing, I think the nurses are run off their feet and sometimes important things are missed, or not followed through, which could be extremely frustrating at times. Over time I became more patient, but for people on shorter stays they got extremely annoyed.

Breakfasts are inadequate and the alternative is impractical. Sometimes certain items on the lunch/dinner menu ran out far too quickly.

Find a better way for getting prescriptions up from the pharmacy for patients being discharged - patients sometimes waited for hours and hours for the courier to arrive. It could also be explained to the patient up front that they could leave and come back to fetch the prescription later if they wanted to.

Move the patients around a bit more so that younger patients are kept together as it is a difficult environment to be in with some of the patients that are in distress. It is extremely upsetting at times.

Management of patients who do not speak English is tricky - working with the family of those patients to try to find ways to communicate with the patient would help (e.g. diagrams, translating key words etc)

Anything else?

I would be extremely concerned if further staff cuts took place amongst the nurses staff. They work extremely hard, it is difficult to imagine what would happen if there were less of them.

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Responses

Response from St George's Hospital (Tooting)

Thank you very much for taking the time to post about your experience in St George’s Hospital. Your kind comments have been highlighted to the staff on Gunning Ward who are grateful to learn of your appreciation. Your comments and suggestions for improvement will certainly be given consideration. You will be pleased to learn that the hospital has several processes in place for people who cannot speak English including face to face interpreting, telephone interpreting and a hospital communication book which includes symbols. I am sorry that you did not observe these being used when you were a patient. Thank you once again for your comments.

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