"Manage the wards, pharmacy and discharging of..."

About: University College Hospital

What I liked

I was an emergency admission in October 2011, without doubt I cannot praise the resuss and ICU staff more highly, they saved my life and for 5 days after worked tirelessly to make sure I was stable and cared for, I had E-coli poisoning with heart complications.

I was humbled by their professionalism and dedication, I wasnt the easiest of patients, however all the staff cared for me with humanity even tho I felt humiliated by some of the processes I had to go through, all staff treated me with diginity.. I cannot thank them more.. It has taken this long for me to write this as the experience was traumatic...

What could be improved

After 5 days in ICU, where I was wrapped in 24 hour care and attention, my health improved considerably, it was decided on the friday to move me to a general ward, with all indications I should be discharged on the Saturday. This I looked forward to.

Unfortunately, the reality of the situation was very different.

I was rushed down to the ward at 7.30pm, (of course this was right I needed to vacate ICU as other very sick patients needed to be there).

However, the ward I was put on was massive, predominantly very sick elderly patients, I was brought to a bed with my belongings in bin liners and told to wait.

I felt completely abandoned, the bed wasnt made with no pillows, all I could do was just sit, I was pretty weak but not ill at this time. No one came near me, one old guy was constantly wailing no one attended him..

I went to the desk and asked to see someone, I wanted to discharge myself it was that bad..A doctor came and told me it wasnt wise etc and to see what would happen on the Saturday, I felt it was too much bother to let me go.

Again, I was left, I sat there for 2 hours, no one came near nor to the wailing man...Eventually at 10.15pm I went to the desk where some attendants were sitting I explained my situation as to being left, and was I not due meds etc. They looked in a book and said "oh yes you need some meds" then got the bed ready.I eventually got in to bed and tried to sleep but it was impossible.

In the morning there appeared to be only 1 staff nurse for the whole ward I felt so sorry for them, yes, some attendants were rushing around to deal with upset elderly folk but it seemed chaos.I just wanted to go home there was no need for me to be there further, I asked about this to be told "oh no youll be here till Tuesday at least", I wasnt given a reason why . I asked to see a doctor a junior came who was amazing, I was told no registrar was there at weekends but was on

Anything else?

call, it appears you rarely get discharged at weekends?? The doctor could see I was distressed and felt I may not have to stay, they called the registrar who came over immediately, checked me over and stated I could go home.

Of course I was delighted, this was lunchtime I was still there at 9pm as pharmacy took that long to sort out some injections i needed, they did not deal with it and i went home but had to come back the Sunday morning to collect them, what a waste of time for me, but more importantly for the hardworking staff nurse who battled with phone and paging systems which appeared not to work but take up inordinate amounts of precious time. I sat down in reception the whole time as the ward was so depressing.

However, I must praise the young doctor and the staff nurse that day they did their best for me also the registrar who was very pragmatic and professional while understanding the patients needs.

What lets this down is the support services, to go from ICU to feeling totally abandoned and a nuisance, to being ignored but if you keep quiet you become part of the system, taking up valuable rescouces is wrong...If a patient can go home they must be let so.

The other major problem in this hospital is the food, it is inedible and cold at all times, I have a big, unfussy appetite but only ate yoghurt and cheese and crackers, even a sandwich was disgusting, animals in kennels get better food, I am sorry but this has to be dealt with. If a contract caterer provides the food most of the money goes on service not the food, the catering staff are very nice people but they work for another agency Calibre, so more money is wasted there, which ultimately affects what is on the plate to the patient, one example one day dinner was brocolli and cheese bake lunch next day was brocolli and cheese soup, this pattern was repeated all week, disgusting..re-hasing leftovers, is this the best the NHS can do?

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Response from University College Hospital

We are very sorry to hear about your poor experience at our hospital.

If you would like to contact our PALS department with details of where this happened we would be glad to look into it further.

PALS Contact Details:

Patient Advice and Liaison Service

University College Hospital,

Ground Floor Atrium,

235 Euston Road,



Telephone: 020 3447 3042

Email: pals@uclh.nhs.uk

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