"Always short staffed. Very nice staff. Poor care..."

About: Southampton General Hospital

What I liked

The nurses themselves were friendly and kind. The new TVs were very nice.

Some nurses excellent at giving timely pain relief- often thinking of patients who were in lots of pain before they once again got called into something else.

What could be improved

The standard of day to day care of the patients on D5 was very poor.

The staff were run off their feet with several very sick and needy patients leaving the rest of the ward fending for themselves and trying to help each other as best they could.

Often call bells went on for 20-45 mins.

Very confused patients left without adequate care. Nurses desperately trying to look after several side room patients and the main ward

Patients who are left out of bed, cold and in pain because staff are constantly called away and don't return- sometimes for hours.

One patient was vomiting for 3 days all her medication up. Too ill to explain that she couldn't manage the meds every nurse tried again to get her to take more tablets and she vomitted them all up again, 3 days of this before a member of staff noticed enough to have her drs change the medication to IVs.

Horrendous.

The situation on D5 is better than it was, more regular staffing but there are always agency staff on duty and the food is more regular times so it has improved.

It is a million miles away from "hourly nurse time" however.

Low levels of co-ordinated care, the dr might order a test but its up to you to chase when you are getting it. Nurses and drs not working together and mix ups over things like how much medication a patient has actually consumed is rather important but isnt handed over with clarity. Lack of co-ordinated care between drs teams is the norm and shrugged off with a smile and a "thats the NHS for you!"

Only 1 sats monitor on a respiratory ward is life threatening and again not addressed.

No point in complaining as it gets white washed behind patient:staff ratios but that makes no difference with a very heavy work load on 3 patients who need 2:1 care and leave the rest of the ward with no care. Just 1 pair of hands at times would have made all the odds.

At sometimes the ward was closed due to D and V but there were immuno compromised patients on an open ward...

Anything else?

The Staff are nice.

The nurses are good

But its frantic rushing about

and no co-ordinated care

what happened to named staff for each patient?

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Responses

Response from Southampton General Hospital

I am very sorry to read that this has been your experience whilst on D5. It is very upsetting and disappointing that it was perceived that the standard of day to day care of the patients on D5 was very poor. We would encourage any patient, relative or visitor to the ward to raise any concerns, about their care or care of other patients, with the Ward Sister Team at the earliest opportunity. This would enable actions to be taken immediately to rectify the concerns.

There are several specific comments, related to other patients on the ward at the time, to which I am unable to provide a personal response to on a public website.

The Ward Manager on D5 has successfully monitored and addressed a number of areas, steadily embedding changes in culture and practice in the daily ward routine for the whole nursing team:

• the use of a meal time co-coordinator role to sustain the improvement in nutritional care for patients, with the red tray and red cup system for identifying patients that need help with their intake of diet and fluids.

• the use of the daily nurse in charge ward round to improve the communication and monitoring of the plan of care for each patient.

• new equipment including 3 bedside monitoring systems and 3 saturations monitors have been sourced.

• audits have been undertaken to raise awareness to the ward team of specific issues e.g. length of time that nurse call bells ring for.

• daily handover at the end of each consultant ward round to the nurses caring for each patient with the aim of co-coordinating the plan of care.

Whilst I understand your concern regarding staffing levels, the Trust has completed a robust exercise, using a nationally agreed tool, to ensure that the staffing ratios for the ward is within the guidelines used for ensuring safe staffing. However the use of agency staff, supported by an induction process, to cover any sickness for permanent staff is required. That said your comments have been noted.

During January the ward was closed due to the an outbreak of Norovirus. I would like to reassure you that during this time, with the daily support of the infection prevention team , all infection control policies were strictly followed to ensure the correct isolation of patients within the ward and within the medical unit as a whole.

Thank you for taking the time to give us your feedback

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