"Friendly and professional staff, felt like I was..."

About: University College Hospital

What I liked

I stayed in the hospital for two days (one night) and was very happy with the way I was treated. The staff seems to work under quite a lot of pressure but the whole system still seems well-organised most of the time. The doctors who did my surgery and the nurses looking after me were all friendly and professional. Also I want to say a special thank you to the health care assistant in the ward who, outside the normal mealtimes, instead of just bringing me the normal snackbox, actually made me some lovely toast and tea. It was very kind of her, and I agreed with her that some of the food (crisps) in the snackbox was quite unhealthy! (Why are people given crisps in a hospital??) The ward receptionist was also very helpful when I was picking up my sick certificate.

What could be improved

I was not fully happy with the consultant to whom I was referred and who I met a few months before my surgery. He was friendly but didn't seem like he had actually read through my case and was just stating some obvious facts which I had already been told over a year ago. What he told me was quite the opposite of what I had been told by other doctors. It is frustrating that even with specialists (not even to mention GP's) every doctor has a different view of your problem. Of course they often cannot be sure and it is ok if they say "your case could be like this, of it could be like that". However they usually don't explain too much, just make a quick conclusion. At the end I went to the sciencedirect website to find some review papers about my problem, just to find more information.

Anything else?

I was very happy with the way I was treated in the ward. However, I do wonder if the elderly people always get treated as they need (this is a problem everywhere and I don't think the UK is an exception). The point is, I am young, can hear and see well and didn't have big problems with moving around or eating even straight after my surgery. But how about elderly people? Do the staff always speak to them loudly and clearly enough? When food is brought to them, does anyone help them into a comfortable sitting position and bring the food near enough so that they can actually eat? If they don't eat their meals does anyone find out why? (Hence malnutrition of elderly people in hospitals is common, especially since they may already come in malnourished). I am not saying I saw elderly people treated badly in UCH, I just think this is a point worth raising in every hospital, especially after seeing what a large amount of different staff, who often don't work together, treat the patients.

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Response from University College Hospital

Thank you for your comments regarding the contents of the snax boxes. The snax boxes provided by the Trust contractor have recently been reviewed and changed by the dieticians to now contain a variety of rolls with fruit, yoghurt and fruit juice.

I am sorry you were not completely happy with the care you received from your consultant. It is important for clinical staff not to assume anything when they are seeing a patient for the first time so sometimes they may repeat information you have already heard before to ensure that it is covered. I appreciate that this can be a little frustrating as it feels like you are repeating the same ground but clinical staff are required to ensure patients are well informed and cannot assume that these discussion have already taken place. I am sorry if you felt that you were not given enough in-depth information about your condition or procedure. We try to ensure patients are given information leaflets in clinic or directed to websites were they are able to get more information. Outpatient consultations sometimes suffer from time constraints so in some cases clinicans may encourage patients to read further information at their leisure and then return to clinic if they have further question. I am very sorry if you were not provided with the detail of information you would have liked or directed to further. We will discuss your comments at the urology clinical governance meeting which is attended by all consultants and clinical staff within the urology department and will try to learn from the comments you have provided us with. Thank you for taking the time to provide us with feedback on your experiences.

Thank you for your thoughts regarding care for elderly patients in hospital, we are pleased that you did not witness any concerns relating to this during your admission. We agree that these are points to be addressed in hospitals to ensure the needs of all patietns are met. At UCLH we have various strategies in place to ensure that elderly patients are treated with respect, dignity and that all their needs are met. These include the red tray system which alerts all staff to those who require assistance at meal times; protected meal times to ensure that patients are not interrupted during their meals and to ensure that the nursing staff are available on the wards at these times to provide any assistance required and monitoring of food and fluid irequirements and ntake. This involves assessing the nutritional status and needs of all patients on admission and regularlly throughout their stay, monitoring the intake of those who are at risk of malnutrition, proving a supplementary menu to provide more choice and referal to dieticians. Assistance at meal times is a priority for the nursing teams and the provision of this is monitored by the Ward Sisters and Charge Nurses and the Matrons.

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