"Suggested improvements for Royal Devon and Exeter"

About: Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital (Wonford) / General surgery

(as a relative),

This year, unfortunately, my husband has had two long stays in hospital. We can only praise the dedication and care of all the hard working staff on the wards.

Can I suggest one or two areas where there could be some improvement.

1. When a sick, fearful and confused patient is admitted, is it necessary for them to repeat the circumstances leading up to the event 3 or 4 times? First a nurse then at least one other doctor, and then the more senior doctor and very often again, once on the ward and sometimes when there is a change of doctor on the ward.

2. When in the ward, a patient assumes, that the doctors know any previous history, e.g operations.

After an operation, 5 months previously he was taken off a drug because his liver had reacted badly to it. When back in hospital some weeks later, for a heart problem, he was put back on it, again, the liver reacted badly, the drug was stopped but the damage was done. I asked a doctor on duty if they realised my husband had had a very serious operation earlier in the year. The doctor asked “What operation was that?” Is there no communication between departments? Every time there was a change of doctor on the ward, it seemed necessary to repeat the information, and each time they seemed surprised. Do they read previous records?

3. My husbands file is rather large and extensive, I agree, but surely it would be possible to put an index on the front, which would give a brief indication as to previous problems. If previous files were numbered, it would direct the junior doctors to the right file, instead of, at the bedside when the consultant asks questions, the accompanying doctors seem to be frantically thumbing through large amounts of paper work, trying to find the answer.

4. Visitors policy, clearly posted on all doors to wards, of two per bed, should be more rigorously implemented.

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