"The negative ward experience devalues the..."

About: National Hospital for Neurology & Neurosurgery, Queen Square

What I liked

My dealing with the consultant and with his Clinical Nurse specialists was excellent. At all times I was valued and treated with respect, time was taken to listen to me and respond to questions, and I never felt that I was being a nuisance or time wasting, or rushed in the time given to me.

When in recovery after my surgery, the nurse who looked after me was excellent. Caring, helpful, reassuring. A vastly different experience to the ward experience.

What could be improved

Lady Anne Allerton Ward - what a nightmare experience. I dread the thought that I might have to go back there when I will need further surgery in a few years time. The nurses were under severe pressure due to under-staffing. However, that wasn't the fault of patients, and the consequences of this situation for me was that I felt devalued, not treated as an individual, ignored for the majority of the time. I had barely any contact with nursing staff who couldn't wait for me to leave. The service was unprofessional and uncaring.

When it was time for me to go to the theatre for my surgery, a nurse simply yelled at me from the nurses station to come along. No attempt to ascertain if I was nervous (I was) or to provide any reassurance. Only one lift working and I was asked to walk down from the 4th floor to the theatre. I said that I would rather not, and was treated to a 'cold shoulder' approach, with the nurse not speaking to me from thereon.

I wasn't provided with water despite asking a number of times, so that after my surgery it was some 16 or more hours until a water jug finally arrived.

The ward lights were not turned off until 1am on my first night. The nurses had music playing until then, and there seemed to be little attempt to provide quiet so that patients could try to sleep.

The cleaning staff were perfectly pleasant, but I agree with another comment on this site - rails and other areas were cleaned around me so that dust fell down onto me, even though I'd said I could move out of the way. My bedside locker/table wasn't cleaned whilst I was there.

Anything else?

I waited 16 months for my surgery and was very grateful and relieved to hear that a date had been set. There was a vast mis-macth between the service received from the specialist teams and the ward I was on. Patients were given unequal care and almost penalised for the staff shortages. I felt traumatised throughout my stay and for some days after leaving the hospital. Not the best conditions for people to heal in.

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Response from National Hospital for Neurology & Neurosurgery, Queen Square

I am extremely disappointed to learn of your experience of our service which according to your feedback has fallen short of the high standards we aim to give all our patients all of the time. I have discussed your comments with the ward staff so that they learn from your experience. If you wish to discuss your conceerns in person please contact the PALS office at NHNN who will put you in touch with the matron for this area. These comments will also be discussed at our monthly patient feedback forum which is chaired by a matron.